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FEMA hires 500 New York residents for recovery operation

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Release date: 
February 13, 2013
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NEW YORK – More than 500 residents from New York City’s five boroughs and Long Island have been hired by FEMA in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Within the first weeks of the storm, FEMA deployed nearly 3,800 reservists from all over the country. These reservists came from every walk of life and professional background. For example, in External Affairs, a former TV broadcaster from Tennessee may work alongside a retired Navy public affairs officer from Missouri.

As some of the reservists begin to return home, FEMA’s practice on large-scale disasters is to hire some of its workforce from the local community. These are full-time, temporary positions.

Sometimes there is a misconception that FEMA only hires local people who have been affected by the disaster, but that is not the case. The agency hires people based on experience and qualifications.

Those hired work in a range of departments and positions.

While local hires often have a sense of mission working for the agency, FEMA benefits from their cultural and geographic knowledge. In the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn, where many in the Russian-Jewish population have a limited proficiency in English, FEMA has benefited from hiring several employees from the community.

Another advantage to FEMA is that many local hires go on to have a successful career in emergency management. Some even go all the way to the top. Justo Hernandez started as a housing inspector for the agency in 1989 during Hurricane Hugo and went on to become a Federal Coordinating Officer, which is the top federal executive position in a disaster operation.

To learn more about Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in New York, visit

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

Last Updated: 
February 13, 2013 - 18:03
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