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Author: Helen Lowman
I couldn’t believe it. The other day I was at my friend’s book club meeting in Seattle and people starting talking about disaster preparedness. Hearing the discussion actually filled me with joy.Why? Because my job as Director of FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division is all about encouraging people to prepare for disasters. It’s a conversation too few Americans are having, so when I listened to my friends sharing their disaster preparedness strategies during our book club time, it made me smile.We’ve made tremendous progress but, still, more than...
Posted On: April 25, 2016
Author: Helen Lowman
Spring is a great time here in Washington, DC.  The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, and it’s when I start packing away my winter clothes and preparing for warmer weather. However, with these temperature changes comes a threat many people aren’t prepared for: tornadoes.  They’re violent and fast-moving, and can arrive with little warning when one is about to strike.  That’s why it’s absolutely critical to be informed and know where to go for safety. Here are some things you can do right now to prepare.Sign up for local text alerts and...
Posted On: April 18, 2016
Author: Helen Lowman
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere. It doesn’t matter where you live – on the coast, in a rural area or in a metropolitan city – we’re all at risk of being affected by a flood. What makes flooding dangerous is that it can happen quickly and often with very little warning – and the effects can be devastating if you’re not prepared. Here are a few important things all of us can do right now to be ready for a possible flood.Sign up for local weather alerts and warnings. Probably the most important thing is...
Posted On: April 12, 2016
Author: Shayne Adamski
There are a ton of things competing for our attention in real life and online, and each one of us has different ways to stay organized and on-track with to do lists. For some, it’s a new sheet of paper every day or a bullet journal. For others, it’s tons of sticky notes strategically placed around the desk. And for the digitally inclined, it’s the latest organizer app.Your to do list may look something like this:Go grocery shoppingPay the billsCall momTake the dog to the vetCheck smoke alarmsWait, what? Check smoke alarms?That last item may not be on your to do list, but it...
Posted On: April 6, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
The floodwaters glistened in the long-awaited sunshine. The sleepy town couldn’t remember the last time it saw sunlight, thanks to the storms that lingered for days—far overstaying their welcome. It’s always been said that after drought comes the flood, but that hadn’t been the case until that fateful summer. Storm after storm ravaged the area, leaving nothing but destruction in their wake. This type of destruction was left behind in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi back in 2005. Hurricanes swept away nearly everything in areas of the Gulf Coast: homes, businesses,...
Posted On: March 25, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
After stressful and traumatic events, people can seek relief in a variety of ways--talking with friends and loved ones, seeking counseling from professionals, or even through petting and cuddling with animals. You may have heard the term “therapy dog” or “comfort dog” and thought they were the same thing. For people who work in this field, there’s actually a distinction between the two.Therapy dogs operate in non-emergency environments: think of a college library packed with stressed students during finals – an environment that is definitely tense, but...
Posted On: March 22, 2016
Author: Brittany Trotter
What do you envision when you think about emergency management? Some images that probably come to mind are natural disasters, families losing their homes, and first responders like police officers and firefighters. Now think about the people who work in emergency management. Do the people you envision look like the communities they serve and include people from diverse backgrounds? How many women do you see?As a woman, I’ve often thought about emergency management as a field traditionally dominated by men. Today, that is still the case, but while we still have a long way to go, we...
Posted On: March 18, 2016
Author: Rafael Lemaitre
Conventional lines of communication can be impacted after a disaster. This we know. Phone lines can go down, cell service can be overrun with calls, texts, and emails and it can be difficult for survivors as well as first responders to get in touch. This isn’t a far-fetched scenario or intellectual exercise. It’s a reality we’ve seen happen over and over during disasters small and large. Enter Amateur Radio—or what those involved in the hobby refer to as "ham radio."Amateur radio enthusiasts—or “hams” as they’re often called...
Posted On: March 7, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Editor’s Note: Spoiler Alert! This post mentions plot points of some of the most popular movies this awards season. Our lawyers would prefer we didn’t name the films because of a little thing called copyright law, but it won’t take long to figure them out. “Lights, Camera, Action:” Famous words in showbiz. They’ll be saying them right before they begin broadcasting a super prestigious awards show that’s coming up.It’s peak awards season and this is the award everyone talks about—before movies come out, when they come out, after they...
Posted On: February 26, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
When disasters impact communities across the country, the people affected by them can lose anything and often lose everything. It's a trying time for many of them; who may not even have a home to go back to or a place to call their own.There can be multiple solutions to this problem. Some survivors can go stay with friends or family members. Some survivors are eligible to receive rental assistance. Some survivors are placed into manufactured housing units—when there’s no other place for them to go.I can hear the questions now."But, wait. Aren't you talking about those...
Posted On: February 16, 2016