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  • Residential Safe Rooms: Background and Research (2003)

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    A residential safe room is a small, specially designed (“hardened”) room, such as a bathroom or closet, or other space within the house that is intended to provide a place of refuge only for the people who live in the house. In areas subject to extreme-wind events, homeowners should consider building a residential safe room. Wind hazards, such as those associated with tornadoes and hurricanes, vary throughout the United States. The decision to build a safe room will be based largely on the magnitude of the wind hazard in a given area and on the level of risk considered acceptable.

  • Safe Rooms Save Lives: State of Oklahoma Safe Room Initiative (2003)

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    On May 3, 1999, more than 70 tornadoes tore through Kansas and Oklahoma in the worst tornado outbreak in a generation. As a result of these tornadoes, in Oklahoma alone over 44 persons died and almost 800 were injured. How could Oklahomans feel safe in future tornadoes? To help answer this question, the State of Oklahoma launched an initiative to promote and support the construction of storm shelters in homes. These shelters, built to FEMA guidelines, are called “safe rooms.” The initiative was the first large-scale effort to build thousands of safe rooms through a rebate program, and its success is a direct result of the involvement and strong support of the Governor of Oklahoma and the participation of partners in industry, business, government, and the private sector. Thousands of safe rooms were built and, although funding for the rebate program has ended, the initiative continues to result in the construction of safe rooms throughout the state.
  • Arkansas’ Shelter Initiative for Residences and Schools (2008)

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    In 1996, the Governor of Arkansas recognized the state’s vulnerability to future severe weather events and declared an annual statewide Severe Weather Awareness Week. As part of this annual week, the National Weather Service (NWS) and Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) scheduled a media campaign, including press releases, public service announcements, and televised appearances. The Severe Weather Awareness Week was expanded to include a Disaster Preparedness Tour, using the theme “Prepare for Tomorrow’s Disaster...Today!”
  • A Safe Haven for Campers: Iowa State Fair Campground Shelter (2004)

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    The Iowa State Fair campground is part of the Iowa State Fair complex, which is located outside Iowa’s capital, Des Moines, an area vulnerable to tornadoes and high-wind events. In June 1998, a storm with winds in excess of 100 miles per hour (mph) caused over $465,000 in damage to the State Fair complex, severely impacting the campground with fallen trees and limbs. Fortunately, no one was hurt during this event, but the potential for disaster and loss of human life was obvious. As a result, the State Fair board made a decision to construct a shelter at the campground. The construction of the campground shelter has demonstrated the importance the State Fair board has placed on the safety of campers at the Iowa State Fair complex.
  • Clara Barton Hospital Shelter: Hoisington, Kansas

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    Following the April 21, 2001, Hoisington, Kansas tornado, Lloyd Arnold, of the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM), and Hospital Administrator Jim Turnbull discussed ways to ensure the safety of the patients and staff in the event of another tornado. They decided to build a shelter at the hospital — the first hospital shelter in the state to meet the design, performance, and construction criteria presented in Design and Construction Guidance for Community Shelters, FEMA publication 361.

  • Hardened First Responder Facility: 911 Communication and Emergency Operations Center (2003)

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    The state-of-the-art hardened first responder facility in Smith County, Texas, serves as a centralized 911 communications dispatch and emergency operations center (EOC) for approximately 30 agencies. Notable features of this 15,000-square-foot facility include a roof and exterior walls hardened to resist tornadic forces, a lobby designed to minimize blast effects, multiple security access levels, and an area specifically planned for press conferences, interviews, and other interaction with members of the media.
  • Hardened First Responder Facility: 911 Communication and Emergency Operations Center (2003)

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    The state-of-the-art hardened first responder facility in Smith County, Texas, serves as a centralized 911 communications dispatch and emergency operations center (EOC) for approximately 30 agencies. Notable features of this 15,000-square-foot facility include a roof and exterior walls hardened to resist tornadic forces, a lobby designed to minimize blast effects, multiple security access levels, and an area specifically planned for press conferences, interviews, and other interaction with members of the media.
  • Protecting School Children from Tornadoes: State of Kansas School Shelter Initiative (2002)

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    As a result of the May 3, 1999 tornado event, damaged counties in Kansas received a Presidential disaster declaration and financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Because the event clearly evidenced that additional protection was needed for Kansas’ school children, work began to find a way to construct tornado shelters in Kansas schools. FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), as well as supplemental appropriations from Congress, provided funding for damage-prevention projects after the tornadoes. The State of Kansas School Shelter Initiative case study showcases several school shelter projects.

  • Protecting School Children from Tornadoes: State of Kansas School Shelter Initiative

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    As a result of the May 3, 1999 tornado event, damaged counties in Kansas received a Presidential disaster declaration and financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Because the event clearly evidenced that additional protection was needed for Kansas’ school children, work began to find a way to construct tornado shelters in Kansas schools. FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), as well as supplemental appropriations from Congress, provided funding for damage-prevention projects after the tornadoes. The State of Kansas School Shelter Initiative case study showcases several school shelter projects.
  • Community Wind Shelters: Background and Research

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    In areas subject to extreme-wind events, building owners, school and hospital administrators, neighborhood associations, and other individuals and organizations with responsibilities for public safety should consider building a community shelter. As outlined in this publication, wind hazards, such as those associated with tornadoes and hurricanes, vary throughout the United States. The decision to build a wind shelter will be based largely on the magnitude of the wind hazard in a given area and on the level of risk considered acceptable.
  • Community Wind Shelters: Background and Research (2002)

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    In areas subject to extreme-wind events, building owners, school and hospital administrators, neighborhood associations, and other individuals and organizations with responsibilities for public safety should consider building a community shelter. As outlined in this publication, wind hazards, such as those associated with tornadoes and hurricanes, vary throughout the United States. The decision to build a wind shelter will be based largely on the magnitude of the wind hazard in a given area and on the level of risk considered acceptable.

  • Proceedings of the United States - Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium

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    The first United States – Japan Earthquake Policy Symposium was held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C. September 16-18, 1996. It was attended by nearly 100 high level officials and technical specialists from both nations, and initiated a new era of policy collaboration between the United States and Japan. Discussions focused on critical policy decisions and supporting research to reduce earthquake losses. Speakers emphasized that cooperation should include all areas of policy, from mitigation to emergency response, and that it should be based on a broad range of cooperative exchanges, including partnerships in the private sector. Part I contains the Joint Statement of Conclusions and Recommendations, Part II contains the summary of policy issues, and recommendations proposed for bilateral policy, and Part III contains the written text of speeches and remarks given during the symposium.
  • FEMA 177, Estimating Losses From Future Earthquakes: (Panel Report and Technical Background)

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    An earthquake loss estimate is a description or forecast of the effects of future or hypothetical earthquakes. Generally loss encompasses casualties, direct repair costs, damage in communications, transportation, and other lifeline systems, and the impact on the economic well being of the region. This report focuses on loss estimates of the type funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which are generally intended for local and state government use in disaster response planning or in the aid of the formulation of strategies for earthquake hazard reduction.
  • Estimating Losses From Future Earthquakes: Panel Report (A Non-Technical Summary)

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    An earthquake loss estimate is a description or forecast of the effects of future or hypothetical earthquakes. Generally loss encompasses casualties, direct repair costs, damage in communications, transportation, and other lifeline systems, and the impact on the economic well being of the region. This report focuses on loss estimates of the type funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which are generally intended for local and state government use in disaster response planning or in the aid of the formulation of strategies for earthquake hazard reduction.
  • Developing and Promoting Mitigation Best Practices and Case Studies: Communication Strategy Toolkit

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    Documenting and promoting mitigation efforts, both during and after disaster recovery operations, have long been undertaken by many federal, state, local and private-sector entities. These efforts have proven to be valuable because they often have increased public awareness and compelled citizens and communities to take action. The purpose of this Communication Strategy is to increase public understanding of the value and use of mitigation measures as a sound investment for individuals, businesses and communities nationwide. Additionally, this publication seeks to use Mitigation Best Practices and Case Studies as a means to communicate mitigation ideas, expertise and resources that can be utilized on an individual, business or community level to lessen the impact of disasters, and show that mitigation is both effective and affordable.
  • Telling the Tale of Disaster Resistance: A Guide to Capturing and Communicating the Story

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    This guidebook provides some of the “best practices” of those who have promoted disaster-resistance efforts throughout the country. This publication provides a step-by-step guide on how to document disaster-resistance efforts, offers guidance for developing story leads, researching and documenting projects, and creating and promoting a finished product. If you’ve never told a disaster-resistance story, we hope you’ll use this guide as a starting point. If you’re already promoting disaster-resistance efforts, we hope this book will add to what you already know... and can pass on to others.
  • This is FEMA

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    Every year, disasters put millions of Americans in danger and destroy billions of dollars worth of property. But every year, all year, FEMA is on the job — helping communities reduce their risk, helping emergency officials prepare for any hazard or helping people get back on their feet after their lives are disrupted by a disaster. FEMA’s mission is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all potential disasters and to manage the federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident — whether natural or man-made.
  • FEMA L-235, Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting (2009)

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    This brochure presents a brief overview of the information in FEMA P-312, Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting using photographs and illustrations.
  • Building Partnerships to Reduce Hazard Risks: Tips for Community Officials, Colleges and Universities

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    This brochure illustrates how partnerships between institutions of higher learning and State and local governments can benefit students, constituents and the public by pooling resources and information.
  • Developing a Hazardous Materials Exercise Program

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    This handbook was prepared as guidance by the National Response Team to provide State and local governments with practical advice for developing a comprehensive hazardous materials exercise program.

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