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Author: Jessica Stapf
Late last week, what’s been called “historic” and “1,000 year-level” flooding began in the Southeast United States—with South Carolina getting hit with the brunt of it. As the situation has changed, we've changed right along with it.In the photo below, you can see members of one of our incident management teams collaborating inside the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia, SC. We embed these teams in states’ emergency operation centers during response efforts in order to make coordination with the state and our other...
Posted On: October 5, 2015
Author: Sandra Martin, Tracy Rogers, Mary Kersell
        This is the story of how we learned that faith-based partnerships work for disaster response.We are Mary Kersell, Sandra Martin and Tracy Rogers; public health emergency preparedness planners in Western Massachusetts and we are collaborating with our many partners to improve our region’s ability to prepare for and survive disasters. With funding and guidance from the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council, through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, we’ve been working with the Council to connect the Faith...
Posted On: October 2, 2015
Author: MaryAnn Tierney
The security measures undertaken for the Papal visit were unprecedented, resulting from months of planning, meeting, and coordinating to keep both his Holiness and pilgrims, onlookers, and visitors safe. Only a few previous Popes have visited the United States, and throughout his tour of Washington, D.C., New York, and Philadelphia, Pope Francis has left an indelible impression on all who have seen him. His address to Congress was the first by a Pope, and his actions, compassion, and words have moved many who have seen him. As a National Special Security Event (NSSE), the Pope’s visit...
Posted On: October 1, 2015
Author: Jessica Stapf
Early September in Charleston, West Virginia is balmy, humid, and nearly tropical. When it's 90 degrees and sunny, people head into work with daydreams of vacationing to the beach, diving into pools, or drinking iced tea at home on the porch. Back in reality, it's just a normal day at the office. You take out your computer, check your email, answer your phone, rinse, and repeat.Right now we have a field office in Charleston open to support several disaster declarations that were made to help repair infrastructure in West Virginia. We have staff there supporting the counties, cities,...
Posted On: September 27, 2015
Author: Jessica Stapf
Have you ever thought about putting aside your own plans and spending ten months of your life contributing to something bigger? I thought about it, like many others before me and certainly after. But like much fewer, I actually did it.I was a FEMA Corps member out of their Atlantic Region in Baltimore, Maryland from August 2013 through May 2014. Shortly after graduation, I accepted a job as FEMA’s Digital Storyteller at Headquarters in Washington, DC.For the last few weeks, we’ve been reaching out to some current and former FEMA Corps members to get their thoughts and perspectives...
Posted On: September 24, 2015
Author: David Myers
Many faith-based leaders understand the role their facilities and congregations can play if disaster should strike.  The Archbishop of New Orleans put it plainly as he talked about the city’s recovery in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina:One of his comments encompasses my view on this partnership: “Faith-based groups and government can work together for the common good of a community.”What we’ve learned from faith leaders in New Orleans and across the country are the better we prepare ourselves and our families, the better we are able to pitch-in and help when...
Posted On: September 15, 2015
Author: Jessica Stapf
Volunteers are some of the most important contributors to disaster response and recovery. As the nation looked to remember and commemorate the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, several of our FEMA Corps teams worked with communities across the Gulf Coast to pitch in on the Day of Service, scheduled on the anniversary of Katrina’s landfall.Since 2012, we've been tapping into the spirit, enthusiasm, and helpfulness of AmeriCorps NCCC members to support communities all across the country. FEMA's partnership with AmeriCorps resulted in the FEMA Corps program: since it started...
Posted On: September 4, 2015
Author: Jason Lindesmith, Jessica Stapf, Eilis Maynard
What’s the largest team you’ve ever been a part of? Maybe it’s a sports team, a project team at work, or a group you volunteer with.  Whatever your answer, I’m fairly confident that it’s not as complex, as geographically spread out, or as diverse as the local, state, and federal search and rescue units that collectively make up a single National Urban Search and Rescue Response System task force.The nation’s search and rescue capabilities are in a very different place than they were 10 or 15 years ago. Over the years, disasters across the U.S. have...
Posted On: September 2, 2015
Author: Amanda Osborn
When it comes to creating meaningful and impactful change, youth are some of the most important members in a community. During the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council annual summit, I sat down with Hailey Starr, a Council member from the Muckleshoot reservation in the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to learn more about Hailey’s work as a member of the Council, and what she was doing to improve the level of preparedness on the reservation where she lives.Hailey’s interest in emergency management and preparedness began when she joined Muckleshoot Teen CERT. If you’re not familiar,...
Posted On: August 4, 2015
Author: David Myers
“What can I do to protect my house of worship against emergencies or disasters?”It’s a question that I’ve heard far too often and with increasing concern lately. Fortunately, over the past several years, faith leaders representing various traditions have been partnering with local first responders and emergency managers to increase the safety of their congregants by developing emergency operations plans.The DHS Center of Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, one of 13 federal centers associated with the White House Office of Faith-based & Neighborhood...
Posted On: July 28, 2015
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