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Author: Jessica Stapf
While much of California has been faced with historic drought, the last few weeks have been full of heavy rains and severe storms—a 180 degree turnaround.This week, we’ve been focused on the spillways of the Oroville Dam—about 75 miles north of Sacramento—along with much of the rest of the country.Spillways regulate the flow of water into or out of dams and when they are damaged by erosion, impacted by debris, or hindered in any way, there can be serious consequences—including potentially dangerous flooding.The Oroville Dam’s primary spillway was damaged by...
Posted On: February 16, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ever rushed out of the house without my keys or wallet. I’m also sure that I won’t be the last one.When I’m trying to leave the house for the day, I’m constantly running through a checklist of all the things I need to bring—and sometimes there are very important things that accidentally get left behind. (My keys and my wallet are two very common ones.)But, with the job I have, sometimes I think about what I would have to do if I weren’t packing my backpack just for an 8-hour workday. What if I were...
Posted On: February 16, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
Being a newlywed comes with a lot of responsibilities, one of which being to make Valentine’s Day a perfect experience. A fancy dinner at a favorite restaurant, a movie outing, flowers and chocolates ordered expressly for the occasion, and strategically placed decorations. It must be perfect. Scripted straight from a greeting card.And just as I hoped, it was shaping up to be exactly that.The flowers and their accompanying chocolates were scheduled to be delivered that day. Movie tickets were ready to go. Dinner reservations had been made at our favorite restaurant weeks in advance....
Posted On: February 13, 2017
Author: Adoratia Purdy
Across the United States, there are traditions that hold a timeless place in our culture: fireworks on the 4th of July; Thanksgiving Day turkey (and football); solemn remembrances for 9/11 and Pearl Harbor; and many others. These traditions speak both to what we value most and to the importance of safeguarding the values we share. The same holds true for the 58th Presidential Inauguration, the peaceful transfer of power from one President to another, and the Women’s March on Washington, a peaceful demonstration of 1st Amendment rights that has roots in marches throughout American...
Posted On: January 31, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
I’ve never been shy about saying that I hate winter. I hate it with a fiery passion that could melt all the ice and snow in the Alaskan tundra. I hate everything about it. The cold, the wind, the salt, the ice. All of it.I’ve never liked it. Not even when I was a kid. I grew up in upstate New York, on the eastern side of the state (read as: not Buffalo) so it snows, but not as much in other places. But a snowflake is a snowflake and they’re all terrible if you ask me.When I think of snow, I don’t think of pretty, picturesque scenes. I always think of the leftovers. The...
Posted On: January 13, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
Scrolling casually through my Twitter feed during the last week of December and first week of January is always the same—filled with “year in review” pieces. Prolific publications, government agencies, popular bloggers, even my friends and family members. Everyone has one.Somehow, we all end up waxing nostalgic about the year that was. Maybe it’s because during the holidays most offices are a little emptier, and we end up with a little more time to fill with some reflection. Maybe it’s the eggnog.And here we are, one more year done and over with. I find myself,...
Posted On: January 9, 2017
Author: Roy Wright
Most Americans with homes have homeowners’ insurance. We buy it to protect ourselves in the unlikely event that something big, bad and expensive happens to our house or property. We buy it every year for peace of mind, even though we hope not to experience a loss.Similarly, FEMA is now using reinsurance to protect the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) against large and uncertain costs of extreme flooding events. Reinsurance is an important risk management tool used by insurance companies and public entities to protect themselves from large financial losses. In other words,...
Posted On: January 3, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
Merriam-Webster, widely known to be my dictionary of choice, defines nostalgia as "a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition." Or more simply, "the state of being homesick."1This time of year—the “holiday season”­­—brings about a nearly nauseating degree of nostalgia. For when we were kids, for our hometowns, for traditions our grandparents started or upheld. That kind of nostalgia.This time of year also brings about a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings. You know, those happy,...
Posted On: December 22, 2016
Author: Kaylyn Beck
2016 was both a challenging and rewarding year for us. We responded to fires, floods, and hurricanes, and practiced responding to a massive (hypothetical) west coast earthquake.Our search and rescue teams accomplished countless rescues where they pulled people and pets to safety while our disaster survivor assistance teams went door-to-door, meeting with people in person and hearing fascinating stories along the way.As the year comes to a close, we wanted share some of our favorite photos that highlight key moments in the lifecycle of a disaster, showcase the strength of survivors, and...
Posted On: December 14, 2016
Author: Raymond Sayre
When I first asked the Emergency Management Institute at the National Emergency Training Center to consider hosting an international version of its Integrated Emergency Management Course, for all the border counties of Arizona as well as Sonora, Mexico, I knew it would certainly be a departure from any other version of the class from the recent past.From the start I was guided by some very savvy and experienced people from the Emergency Management Institute. Sabrina Bateman and Douglas Kahn came out to Santa Cruz County, Arizona, and I asked my neighboring emergency management counterparts...
Posted On: December 13, 2016