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Author: Katie Appenrodt
If you’re a business owner or resident in Lewis & Clark County, Montana, chances are you have been on the receiving end of one of Paul Spengler’s disaster preparedness messaging and outreach efforts.After 35 years in his role as the Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator for the county, Spengler has become a county mainstay and a successful advocate for disaster preparedness, which is quite the feat considering the fact that he had little to no emergency management experience before applying for the position in 1979 (unless you count being a stay-at-home father for his two sons for 8...
Posted On: August 28, 2014
Author: Wayne P. Sallade
The 13th of this month marks the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Charley’s unwelcome visit to my community. Yet in many ways, it seems as though it was only yesterday. The Category 4 storm, with sustained winds of 150 mph and gusts to 190, carved a destructive path through the heart of Charlotte County, Florida late in that afternoon and set us on a course of recovery that continues to this day.Not long after this $3.2 billion hit to our county, including the loss of 11,000 residential units, we began referring to Charley as, “Urban Renewal by Disaster,” and the changes in both appearance and...
Posted On: August 11, 2014
Author: Craig Fugate
Editor's note: This was originally posted on the Corporation for National & Community Service blog on August 5, 2014.Emergency management requires flexibility. You plan for the worst, but also have to make sure your team is ready to tackle unforeseen challenges and unique situations. This is what makes AmeriCorps such an asset to our nation. There’s inherent flexibility in the AmeriCorps program to do community service programs above and beyond what government can do. I have seen this play out again and again in communities across the country.While I was Director of the Florida Division...
Posted On: August 5, 2014
Author: Christina Randall
In City of Colorado Springs, the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)- areas where human development is close to natural terrain and flammable vegetation, covers more than 28,800 acres and includes a quarter of our population.  Two years ago this week, the Waldo Canyon Wildfire, the most costly fire in Colorado history, hit neighborhoods across Colorado Springs and destroyed 347 homes. The effects were devastating to our community and we are still rebuilding two years later.  However, the losses avoided in some areas such as the Cedar Heights neighborhood, are a testament to the fact...
Posted On: June 27, 2014
Author: Veronica Hinke, Patricia Hayden
The Sounds of Recovery: We’re ListeningWe’re listening, and all around, we hear the sounds of recovery. Like the sounds of silence, the sounds of recovery can be as profound as the devastation surrounding it. We’re listening, and by the sounds we are hearing, we see hope – all around.  Here are three signs of some of the recovery work happening in Washington:The SR 530 Slide song created by local residents served as one source of healing for all survivors.Out of the devastation, they created music. One of the many inspiring examples of people turning from loss toward recovery is on...
Posted On: June 6, 2014
Author: Roy Wright
One year ago, on May 20, 2013, Moore, Oklahoma experienced a deadly tornado that devastated the area. Less than one year from the event new homes became safer.On April 17, 2014, Moore, Oklahoma, became the first in the nation to establish building code requirements to make residential buildings able to withstand the forces of an EF2 tornado. Building Code Amendments stand out as a great example of managing risk and improving building safety.The code amendment, including requirements for roof sheathing, hurricane straps and stud spacing, is designed so that the homes can withstand winds up to...
Posted On: May 29, 2014
Author: Mark Landry
On Monday, May 19, I had the great honor and pleasure to be among local, state and federal officials at the opening of the National Mobile Disaster Hospital in Louisville, Miss. It will be used to temporarily replace the Winston Medical Center which was heavily damaged during the April 28 tornado outbreak.This is the first time the National Mobile Disaster Hospital will be used as a fully operational hospital.  Leading up to this milestone, local, state and federal partners have faced extraordinarily complex and challenging issues and through the collaborative teamwork of all...
Posted On: May 23, 2014
Author: Brittany Trotter
We’ve had an active winter and spring as we head into the summer months. We have photographers deployed to several states capturing the impacts of severe weather, along with response and recovery efforts underway for events ranging from the SR 530 mudslide in Washington to severe storms and tornadoes that swept through several states in the South.Since I working closely with our field photographers, I see some incredible images come across my desk. I wanted to share some of these photos that show some of the great work being done on the ground. We remain committed to helping disaster...
Posted On: May 22, 2014
Author: Dan Watson
At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.Federal Assistance Available for Residents Impacted by Last Week’s Severe StormsFollowing severe weather across the South and Southeast that resulted in tornadoes and flooding, President Obama declared major disasters in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida, making assistance available to residents in designated counties who were affected by the storms. This week, President Obama...
Posted On: May 9, 2014
Author: Jason Lindesmith
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few “hackathons” and “data jams”, both inside and outside of the government space.  These events often have a simple premise: bring together tech experts from different disciplines and organizations so they can create cool, useful solutions or products.  The challenge at these gatherings isn’t coming up with great ideas – the tough task is transforming big ideas into tangible to-do lists and, ultimately, a useful product. The approach to FEMA’s first-ever Data Town Hall was refreshing because our OpenFEMA team harked just as much about...
Posted On: April 11, 2014

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