WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Al Roker, NBC Today Show Weatherman, wrote a letter to USA Today about FEMA that appears in today's issue.
FEMA Marks 20th Year
When the goal is the impossible, like announcing a completely accurate weather forecast, great things tend to happen. Weeklong weather forecasts weren't always the norm; and preparing for inclement weather was not the easiest task. But, the times they are a changin' and great things are happening when it comes to weather predictions and natural disasters.
Not too long ago weather forecasting and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were a lot alike: reacting to the immediate future. Now with a myriad of satellites orbiting high above the earth, weathermen can alert people to do more than bundle up as they face a lake-effect chill. We can tell you just how long the chill will last, how high the temperature may soar, and when the winds may die down. We can prepare you for the future - just like FEMA. You see, FEMA has changed the way it deals with Mother Nature. What was once a reactive federal agency is now a proactive, well-oiled operation fueled with gumption, drive and foresight. FEMA's newest initiative, Project Impact: Building Disaster-Resistant Communities is changing the way America deals with disasters.
FEMA, as its mission states, is committed to "reduce loss of life and property and protect our nation's critical infrastructure from all types of hazards through... preparedness, response and recovery." For so long, FEMA has successfully focused on response and recovery; Project Impact puts the focus on disaster-resistance and damage-reduction.
Did you know that inexpensive hurricane clips could actually stop a roof from blowing away? Did you know that if towns prone to hurricanes had multiple generators, public safety communications need not suffer when disaster strikes? Did you know that many communities across the nation, in fact over 100, have already joined the efforts of Project Impact?
These communities are proving each and every day that we can dramatically reduce the devastating effects of natural disasters. By planning ahead we can reduce vulnerabilities to natural disasters. I invite and challenge you to embrace the ideals of Project Impact and to create a partnership that will make your community disaster-resistant. It will benefit your family, businesses and the future of our communities.
NBC Today Weatherman