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FEMA Podcast

The FEMA Podcast is an audio series available to anyone interested in learning more about the agency, hearing about innovation in the field of emergency management, and listening to stories about communities and individuals recovering after disasters.

The FEMA Podcast is available on Apple iTunes and Google Play to stream or download. Approximately 20 to 30 minutes in length, the podcast will be updated with a new episode semi-weekly. Occasionally, we will post episodes more often. Also included in the weekly podcast is a link to the transcript. Listeners will have the ability to subscribe to new episodes, which will then automatically update on a listener's device.

We encourage emergency management professionals and the general public to listen in and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where you can join the conversation every time a new episode is posted. To submit ideas for a FEMA podcast topic, send us an email at FEMA-podcast@fema.dhs.gov.

Episode 79: Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC)

In September, FEMA announced an application period for $660 million is hazard mitigation grant funding for states, local communities, tribes and territories to be used on projects that will reduce future disaster losses and strengthen the nation’s ability to build a culture of preparedness. On this episode we speak to two individuals leading the team within FEMA to offer the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Grant and discuss what the future holds for communities committed to reducing future disaster recovery costs.

Episode 78: ShakeOut 2020

Earthquakes can happen anywhere and at any time. And because an earthquake is considered a no notice incident—one that occurs unexpectedly or with minimal warning—it is even more important that everyone be prepared for what to do when one occurs. This year’s International ShakeOut Day will be held on October 15 when everyone is encouraged to practice the Drop, Cover, and Hold On response to an earthquake. On this episode, we discuss earthquake preparedness and what to expect during this year’s Shakeout.

Episode 77: FEMA and the SBA – Supporting Disaster Survivors

Perhaps FEMA’s closest partner in providing federal disaster recovery assistance is the U.S. Small Business Administration, the SBA. When a federal disaster is declared, the SBA is authorized to offer low interest loans to businesses of all sizes and to individual homeowners, renters, and private nonprofit organizations that have sustained damage in a disaster. On this episode, we sit down with the SBA to learn more about their programs, some misconceptions about disaster assistance and how the SBA and FEMA are working together every day to help Americans recover from disasters around the country.

Episode 76: Team Preparedness with a Disaster Resilient University

On this episode, we visit the University of Oregon campus to talk to members of a network that is dedicated to improving disaster preparedness in higher education. Featured speakers include Andre Le Duc, Chief Resilience Officer and Associate Vice President of Safety and Risk Services at University of Oregon, Amy Rasmussen, Emergency Manager and Business Continuity Manager at Pacific University, and Steve Charvat, Emergency Management Director at University of Washington.

Episode 75: 2020 National Preparedness Month - Flood Insurance

September is National Preparedness Month. While 2020 may feel different for many Americans, one thing remains the same – disasters can and will happen. In this episode, we sit down with Paul Huang from the National Flood Insurance Program to discuss how purchasing flood insurance is one easy way homeowners and renters can prepare for future disasters.

Episode 74: Agency Update - Hurricane Laura

Hurricane Laura made landfall last week in Louisiana and areas of Eastern Texas as a powerful category 4 storm. Causing widespread damage and destructions throughout the area. We check in with David Bibo, Associated Administrator for Response and Recovery about what disaster survivors can expect from FEMA as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic and how the agency has been planning for storms just like Hurricane Laura since March.

Episode 73: Women in Emergency Management - Riding the Tides of Change

Back in early March, FEMA joined the nation in celebrating Women’s History Month. To commemorate the month, and to honor the contributions of the many women serving in Emergency Management, FEMA hosted a panel discussion on “Women in Emergency Management: Riding the Tides of Change.” On this episode, which airs on Women’s Equality Day, we go back to that conversation and hear from the four incredible women that participated in that panel about their candid thoughts on the early days of FEMA and emergency management and how women have and will shape the evolution of disaster response, recovery and preparedness.

Featured on this episode are Kay Goss, former Associate Administrator in Charge of National Preparedness, Training and Exercises; Ms. Libby Turner, Federal Coordinating Officer; Ms. Jane Cage, Chairman of the Joplin Citizens Advisory Recovery Team; and Chauncia Willis, CEO of the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management.

Episode 72: Partnership Month 2020

For the past 5 years, in July, volunteers from around the country travel to FEMA Headquarters in Washington D.C. to celebrate Partnership Day. This year, like many celebrations and gatherings around the country, Partnership Day is a virtual – and longer – a month-long celebration. On this episode we speak with Greg Forrester, President and CEO at National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. Geoff Plague from Feeding America, and Chris Smith from FEMA Individual Assistance Program about how collaborative work in disaster response and recovery is making a difference in the lives of disaster survivors ever day.

Episode 71: FEMA.gov Gets A Redesign

FEMA’s website (FEMA.gov) went through a major redesign. This is a critical step towards making our programs more accessible. On this week's podcast, we join FEMA's Office of External Affairs to talk about how the redesign will support FEMA's partners and disaster survivors.

Episode 70: FEMA and the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

July 26, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)- The civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities by federally funded entities. To mark the 30th anniversary of the legislation, we sat down with the director of FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration, Linda Mastandrea, to hear about how emergency management has worked to serve people with disabilities over the last 30 years and how we're looking ahead in the COVID environment to ensure we're best serving all disaster survivors.

Episode 69: 40th Anniversary of Mt. St. Helens Eruption

It was 40 years ago today that Mount St. Helens in Washington State erupted. Ash and steam poured out and avalanches of snow and ice thundered down the mountain's sides for two months, and then on May 18, 1980 the volcano blew its top. Fifty-seven people were killed, many others injured, and many buildings were destroyed. The huge blast of rock, ash and hot gases devastated an area about 230 square miles. Similar to our experiences of quarantining at home during the coronavirus pandemic, residents in many states also were confined to their homes. If they ventured outside, they would wear masks to protect themselves from the ash. This went on for several weeks. In this episode, FEMA speaks with current and former FEMA staff who experienced the eruption and subsequent ash that blew east into Spokane and Montana where our speakers lived. Chris Jonientz-Trisler, Volcanologist and retired-FEMA Division Director; Jay LaPlante, Region 10 Tribal Liaison; and Elaine Ike, former FEMA Community Relations Specialist, share their unique experiences.

Episode 68: FEMA Corps-The AmeriCorps Teams Supporting Disaster Recovery

On today’s episode, we celebrate AmeriCorps Week by highlighting one of our very own FEMA Corps teams. We sit down to discuss what the FEMA Corps program is all about and we talk about their important role in helping communities recovering from disasters.

Episode 67: Insights From A Mitigation Veteran

On this episode we talk with Mark Carey, who recently retired after 20 years of service with FEMA. Since 2007 he served as the FEMA Region 10 Mitigation Division Director where he was responsible for the region’s hazard mitigation financial grant program, National Flood Insurance Program, Endangered Species Act compliance, Risk Analysis and Risk Reduction programs. Mark talks with us about the principles of hazard mitigation and how support for mitigation has evolved over time. He also shares his own experience and insight as a disaster survivor.

Episode 66: FEMA's Urban Search And Rescue Teams

On this episode we have the unique opportunity to talk with Evan Schumann, who is a program manager for Ohio Task Force One, one of the 28 teams in the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue system, about how these teams support disaster response operations in their home communities as well as around the nation.

Episode 65: Upgrading The Nation's Public Alert And Warning System

On this episode we talk with Antwane Johnson, director of FEMA's integrated public alert and warning program about this incredible capability and how these upgrades serve an important role in our nation's public safety and national security communications infrastructure.

Episode 64: Storing And Moving Commodities In Support Of Survivors Around The Country

On this episode, we take a tour of the FEMA Distribution Center located in Frederick, Maryland and dive into all aspects of the on-hand commodity mission, which stands always at the ready for when disaster survivors and communities need us most.

Episode 63: Compassion, Fairness, Integrity, Respect: FEMA's Pub 1

On this episode we sat down with FEMA’s Administrator, Pete Gaynor to talk about how Pub 1 and these core values form the foundation of who we are, what we believe, and who we want to be.

Episode 62: Always Ready - FEMA’s Incident Management Assistance Teams

On this episode we sit down with National IMAT lead, Tito Hernandez and Regional IMAT lead, Keith Denning, to dive into the unique nature of these Incident Management Assistance Teams from both the National and Regional perspective.

Episode 61: Trotwood Strong - A Story Of Recovery From The Ohio Memorial Day Tornadoes

On this episode we sit down with Trotwood Mayor, Mary McDonald, as well as Trotwood City Manager Quincy Pope and look back to how this community came together in the immediate aftermath to respond to and recovery from these extensive storms.

Episode 60: The FEMA Podcast - Favorite Episodes. Future Episodes. A Discussion With Our Hosts

On this episode, Minh Phan sits down with Mark Peterson, a familiar voice on the FEMA Podcast and FEMA Region V’s External Affairs Director. We’re going to take a step back and talk about the FEMA Podcast, what we’ve done so far, what we’re working on now, and where we hope to go.

Episode 59: The Gift Of Preparedness

During the holiday season, where we often offer gifts of appreciation to friends and family, we take the non-traditional approach of learning what preparedness-oriented items would make great gifts for friends or family members.

Episode 58: Helping Children Cope With Disasters

On the episode we talk with Lauralee Koziol, FEMA’s National Advisor for Children in Disasters and explore the ways FEMA is helping children prepare for and be ready to recover after natural disasters.

Episode 57: Furthering FEMA's Commitment To People With Disabilities And Older Adults

On this episode of the FEMA podcast we catch up with Linda Mastandrea, director of FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Chris Smith from FEMA’s Office of Response & Recovery and hear how the Agency has shifted its approach to serving the disability community since the 2017 disaster season, why that shift was undertaken, and how things have changed since.

Episode 56: Live From Silicon Valley And The FEMA Region Nine Disaster Innovation Forum

On this episode we catch up with leaders from Private Sector partners in Disasters to understand how we can all work together to leverage leading-edge technology and innovation to help support disaster survivors.

Just a quick programming note before we get started. Today's episode includes a lot of interviews from FEMA’s Private Sector partners and nonprofits organizations talking about innovation solutions, specifically in the area of disaster response. FEMA does not endorse any nongovernmental organizations, entities or services.

Episode 55: Critical Infrastructure Security And Resilience Month

November is Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, and on today’s episode of the FEMA podcast, we’ll sit down with Brian Harrell, Assistant Director at the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, to learn more about the vital role of critical infrastructure in keeping our communities safe and how each of us can contribute to the security and resilience of our nation’s most essential services and functions.

Episode 54: Tribal Mitigation - Improving Resiliency In Oregon

On this episode, we talk to attendees at the Northwest Tribal Public Health Emergency Preparedness Training and Conference in Portland, Oregon, about readying Tribal nations for catastrophic disasters through FEMA mitigation grant programs.

Episode 53: Veterans At FEMA

On today’s episode of the FEMA podcast, we’ll talk to FEMA veterans from each of the five branches of the military and learn more about their experience, the resources our Agency offers to support their success, and the unique but complementary transition that exists from active duty to a career in emergency management.

Episode 52: National Community Planning Month

October is National Community Planning Month - a nationally-recognized, American Planning Association (APA) led initiative that focuses on the importance of community planning and its impacts. National Community Planning Month ties into FEMA’s Strategic Plan. Efforts like this also highlight the work supporting the National Mitigation Investment Strategy by capturing the ongoing partnerships between planning and mitigation.

Agency Update: The 4th Edition Of The National Response Framework Public Release

As part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s effort to build a national culture of preparedness, we’re releasing the 4th edition of the National Response Framework (NRF). An important update that incorporate lessons learned from the unprecedented recent hurricane and wildfire seasons as well a stakeholder input from a diverse cross-section of government and non-governmental partners.

Episode 51: Hurricane Dorian - A Walking Tour Of The National Response Coordination Center

The National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) is the central hub of activities for the federal response to disasters and emergencies. Here we bring in representatives from across the federal government to coordinate the overall federal response and recovery. On this episode, we got a special walking tour of the NRCC from Josh Dozor, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for FEMA’s Response Directorate, just as we stood up in response to the potential effects of Tropical Storm and later Hurricane Dorian.

Episode 50: Youth As A Part Of Whole Community Preparedness

In this episode, FEMA speaks with emergency managers and a member of FEMA’s National Youth Preparedness Council who are working to make preparedness a part of Pacific Northwest schools and communities. Hsin Ya (Jessie) Huang, a student at South Eugene High School; Scott Zaffram, Federal Preparedness Coordinator at Region 10; and Bryce A. McKenna, Emergency Management Director at Oregon Department of Education - Office of Student Services share their perspectives on youth preparedness.

Episode 49: Making Cents From Disasters: The Millennial Money Mindset

When disasters occur, an emergency savings fund can be one of the primary resources to handle natural disasters and jumpstart recovery. This can include temporarily evacuating to a hotel, paying for a generator, or beginning to pay for damaged or lost items. This applies to all citizens and residents, particularly young adults who increasingly become more aware of the perils natural disasters can bring. In this episode, we talk with the Operation HOPE’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Anita Ward, to learn the key steps Millennials, specifically, can take to become financially prepared for any emergency crisis or storm.

Episode 48: Preparing For Better Outcomes With FEMA And Fannie Mae

In honor of national preparedness month, we sat down with Alex Amparo, assistant administrator for FEMA’s national preparedness directorate, along with Mike Hernandez, Vice President for housing access and disaster response and rebuild at Fannie Mae. We discussed the importance of preparing for better financial outcomes after disasters.

Episode 47: More Than Magnitude: How The National Earthquake Information Center Works

Large earthquakes in populated areas make the news, but many people don’t realize that earthquakes actually happen every day, all over the world. The National Earthquake Information Center in Golden not only monitors these earthquakes, they initiate an earthquake response protocol designed to give first responders and recovery staff critical information in the hours and days following a major earthquake. Paul Earle, the Director of 24/7 Operations, explains the mission of the NEIC.

Episode 46: 'Prepared, Not Scared': Teaching Children What To Do In An Emergency

Each week, a National Preparedness Month weekly theme will focus on a different aspect of preparedness, including the importance of making an emergency plan, saving early for unexpected costs of disasters, getting involved in community preparedness efforts and teaching young people to prepare. On today's episode, we'll focus on youth preparedness during a roundtable discussion with a few members of the FEMA team. We'll learn more about the important roles children can play in creating a systematic shift in the culture of preparedness.

Episode 45: FEMA's CBRN Office

In this episode, we recognize an organization within FEMA with a unique mission to plan for the dangerous man-made events that we hope the world may never face. Join us as we talk to experts from FEMA’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) office. We’ll gain a better understanding of their work through an in-depth scenario-based discussion focused around how FEMA and other federal agencies would deal with an improvised nuclear device detonation.

Episode 44: A National Strategy For Mitigation Investment

Recently, the mitigation framework leadership group, the mid flag released the National Mitigation Investment Strategy, which is intended to be a single national strategy for advancing mitigation investment to reduce risks posed by natural hazards and ultimately increased the nation's resilience to those hazards. On today's episode, we sat down with the co-chairs of the group to talk about this strategy and how it's transformative for the way that we seek to prevent future loss from disasters.

Episode 43: Live From The 8th Annual Building Resilience Through Private-Public Partnership Conference In Washington D.C.

On this episode we sit down with leaders from Private Sector partners in Disasters, to examine best practices among all sectors coming out of recent disasters, and the opportunity for the private sector’s continued support to build a culture of resilience.

Episode 42: Inside NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center

On this episode, we sit down with Shawn Dahl, a forecaster at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. Shawn sheds some light on space weather, describing what it is and how it can affect people on earth. He also provides insight on how the agency forecasts space weather and communicates with partners, like FEMA, to ensure that critical space weather information can be used to plan day-to-day operations.

Episode 41: Disaster Partner Spotlight: The NVOAD

On this episode, we’ll talk to the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) President Greg Forrester and FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Coordination Branch Chief Liz Gibson about how the NVOAD fosters a more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster and their coordination with FEMA to help people before, during and after disasters.

Episode 40: PrepTalks - Amanda Ripley "The Unthinkable: Lessons from Survivors"

Today we're sharing a previously released PrepTalk with Amanda Ripley, who's a journalist and senior fellow at the Emerson Collective. She combines the inspiring stories of disaster survivors with research into how the brain works when confronted with unusual events to provide advice on how emergency managers can help indivduals become more decisive in an emergency.

Episode 39: Designing An Exercise For The Most Catastrophic Events

In this episode, we discuss the process of designing massive national level exercise with FEMA's National Exercise Division. Jeff Blizzard and Ted Robinson from the National Exercise Division at FEMA Headquarters join us to discuss what goes into a large scale national exercise and how FEMA participates.

Episode 38: Advancing Wildfire Resilience With The Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network

Since 2013, the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network has connected and supported people and communities who are striving to live more safely with wildfire. The Network has served as a catalyst for spreading best practices and innovations in fire adaptation concepts nationwide. At their annual workshop in Ashland, Oregon we interviewed Michelle Medley-Daniel with the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, Ali Lerch and Chris Chambers with Ashland Fire & Rescue, and Hilary Lundgren with the Washington Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network to learn about the successes, tools, and growth of the network from eight to twenty-four communities.

Episode 37: FEMA And The Law Enforcement Community

On this episode we caught up with Roberto Hylton, the Director of the Office of Law Enforcement Engagement and Integration for FEMA, and talked with him about his team's mission to integrate emergency management and the law enforcement community and how those efforts will help strengthen our nation, reduce risks, and improve our country's capabilities to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate potential disasters.

Episode 36: Resiliency: A Conversation With Dr. Dan Kaniewski

On this episode, Dr. Dan Kaniewski, FEMA's Deputy Administrator of Resilience, joins us to talk about how FEMA's new strategic and structural focus on Resiliency will make America safer, stronger and better prepared for future disasters.

Episode 35: More Efficient Disaster Response Through Pre-Disaster Contracts

On this episode, we talked to Dennis Jones, emergency management director for Chatham County, Georgia. He shares his experience leading his county through Hurricane Matthew and the lessons learned that led to more efficient contracting in the aftermath of disasters and emergencies.

Episode 34: Making “Cents” Out Of Disaster Financial Preparedness

In this episode we talk with Rebecca Wiggins, Executive Director of the Association for Financial Counceling & Planning Education (AFCPE), to better understand FEMA's partnership with her organization and how it will benefit the nation when it comes to being financially ready for the unexpected.

Agency Update: FEMA Turns 40 Years Old

Today, FEMA turns 40 and we're throwing it back, highlighting a history of milestone events, landmark legislation and the rarely told story of how the Agency got to where it is today. In the 40 years since its creation a lot has changed, but there's been one constant through it all - the Agency's commitment to protecting and serving the American people. FEMA undoubtedly has a rich history to share on this special FEMA Podcast episode.

Episode 33: Teaching Students How To Prepare For Emergencies And Disasters - STEP

FEMA created the Student Tools for Emergency Preparedness or STEP program, a curriculum for fourth and fifth grade students, to teach students how to prepare for emergencies and disasters and train them to become leaders in family preparedness. On this episode, we dive a bit deeper into how the program works and discuss how these efforts are helping move the needle of overall disaster preparedness in one FEMA region.

Episode 32: State, Local, Tribal And Territorial Toolkit Lifelines

A community lifeline enables the continuous operation of business and government functions and is critical to human health and safety or economic security. The lifelines concept reframes incident information to provide decision makers with impact statements and root causes and is intended to maximize the effectiveness of federally supported, state managed and locally executed response. FEMA recently released the community lifelines implementation toolkit, which provides our partners with the information and resources to understand lifelines, coordinate with entities using lifelines, and serve as basic guidance for how to implement the lifelines construct during incident response. On this episode, we talked to Jeremy Greenburg from FEMA's Response Directorate about the lifelines concept and how the toolkit will be used to support all units of government in disaster responses.

Last updated October 20, 2020