Phoenix, AZ -- When Arizona's Centennial Wash overflowed its banks in the early morning hours of Oct. 22, many Arizona residents were not prepared. Some parts of the town of Wenden became a muddy river that destroyed over 40 homes and damaged many more. As the community began rebuilding, residents asked what they could do to prevent such tragedy from reoccurring. "There are several ways in which to reduce the effects of future flooding, but the first step is to get the appropriate information to the community," said Brad Davis of FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Division. "Our community relations teams working with Arizona's Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) have truly been great in helping to keep the community informed."
FEMA's Community Relations Coordinator Rita Ramos, says that a vigorous working relationship with ADEM has helped inform residents of measures they can take to prevent future damage. That the partnership with the State of Arizona has helped immensely in delivering disaster recovery and mitigation messages to residents.
"The relationship is mutually beneficial since we have been able to train the Arizona Division of Emergency Management community relations personnel in the array of federal disaster assistance programs, while we gain from their expertise and knowledge of the community, especially from the state's bilingual community relations personal," said Ms. Ramos.
"This works well for us because there are times when Arizona communities are affected by smaller disasters that do not merit federal declarations," according to Diane Fernandez of Arizona Division of Emergency Management. "Now we have more tools to inform victims and residents of ways to prevent further loss and damage."