PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is taking steps now to be ready for hurricanes to come. The agency’s response to the 2004 hurricane season was the largest mobilization in FEMA history, exceeding the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and 2001 multiple terrorist attacks.
As part of this advance effort, FEMA is storing disaster supplies in areas where they can be retrieved quickly in an emergency. The Pre-Positioned Disaster Supplies (PPDS) Program was developed to pre-position life-saving/life sustaining disaster equipment and supplies as close to a potential disaster site as possible. PPDS positions supplies in containers on the ground in various states so they are ready to be mobilized and put to use wherever and whenever disaster strikes. Two of the 40-foot PPDS units are in place in Reisterstown, Md. and Sandston, Va.
These pre-positioned supplies are packed in 40-foot containers housing supplies for 500 and 20-foot units that hold enough supplies for 250 people. Items range from electrical cords to work lights and generators to cots, pillows and blankets, and Porta A Pottys. The units will be used not only in states that prepare for hurricanes, but those that are often affected by earthquakes, tornadoes and other anticipated disasters.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.