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Author: Robin Finegan
As many of you are aware, since this winter, we have been working extensively with all of our state partners to prepare for and respond to a very active flood season. As these efforts continue, we’re very closely monitoring the situation in Minot, N.D., where water levels in the Souris River are predicted to reach record highs and bring historic flooding to the community. There have been predictions of flooding on the Souris, but only recently did we learn just how major that flooding was going to be. And, as with any flood or disaster, it is critical that people follow the instruction of...
Posted On: June 22, 2011
Author: Public Affairs
Since January, we have been providing updates on this blog about the revamped recoupment process that we are currently undertaking. We are committed to making sure that all of our stakeholders – especially disaster survivors – have a full understanding of this process and how they might be affected by it.As some of you may remember from our previous blogs, FEMA, along with other federal agencies government-wide, is required by law to identify any potential improper payments of federal disaster aid and to take steps to recover those funds.While each individual case is different, in some...
Posted On: June 22, 2011
Author: Michael Byrne
Last week, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and FEMA hosted the Safer Alabama Summit conference in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The aim of this conference was to get the word out about the important role that safe rooms can play in protecting families and communities, and federal funding that is available to build them. I wanted to share a conversation that was the perfect conclusion to the event.Tuscaloosa, Ala., June 13, 2011 -- Federal Coordinating Officer, Michael Byrne, presents at the Safer Alabama Summit.Following the conference, a woman wanted to know how to apply for a grant to finance...
Posted On: June 22, 2011
Author: Public Affairs
Summer begins today - a time for backyard barbeques, trips to the beach and lots of outdoor fun, but it’s also a time when dangerous thunderstorms become more frequent. As a series of thunderstorms move across the U.S. this week (and since it’s also Lightning Safety Awareness Week), we wanted to share a few tips on how to stay safe if a thunderstorm rolls into your area.According to the National Weather Service, hundreds of people are struck by lightning each year, causing countless debilitating injuries and 55 deaths on average. If you hear thunder - even a distant rumble or a crackling...
Posted On: June 21, 2011
Author: Gwen Camp
A few weeks back, I wrote about Walter Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa, Ala., when he was featured in a New York Times story talking about his thoughts just after the devastating tornado struck his town.  In this video, the Mayor spends a few minutes with us discussing how training contributed to a more coordinated response at the local level by following Incident Command (IC) principles. Here’s one particular quote from the Mayor that shows the value of training: If we wouldn’t have gone through this training, it would have been a disjointed effort…we would have had [the police...
Posted On: June 20, 2011
Author: Public Affairs
We’ve featured many posts on this blog about FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness, our one-of-a-kind facility that offers civilians and other members of the emergency management team specialized training in dealing with and responding to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive weapons. We have heard from the Mayor of Pacific, Washington, who recently completed a training course and gained a better understanding of the challenges his first responders face and about a New York City police officer whose CDP training helped him think quickly and save lives while thwarting the...
Posted On: June 17, 2011
Author: Public Affairs
Every Friday, we do a “What We’re Watching” blog as we look ahead to the weekend. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.Severe Weather OutlookOver the next few days, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is calling for drought conditions to continue for much of the southern U.S., stretching from Arizona to Florida. In many areas, these drought conditions have raised the chances of wildfire outbreaks, so make sure you know how to prevent and stay safe from wildfires. And as wildfires continue in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and...
Posted On: June 17, 2011
Author: Michael Byrne
As a former New York City firefighter, I’m no stranger to trauma. First responders who have witnessed devastation sometimes can’t get the upsetting images out of their mind. Or sometimes they hear cries for help weeks later. One fire response at a social club in the Bronx more than 20 years ago still stays with me. The fire wasn’t huge, and was contained quickly, but when firefighters went up to the second floor, they found several people had died from smoke inhalation. We were just sick – here they had done everything right and still couldn’t save their lives.A lot of us were shaken up after...
Posted On: June 17, 2011
Author: Public Affairs
Today, we are welcoming 16 new members to the National Advisory Council (NAC). The NAC advises Administrator Craig Fugate on all aspects of emergency management. The new members highlight our continued desire to have a council that represents a cross section of all members of the emergency management team.The NAC is comprised of state, tribal and local governments, private sector, and non-governmental partners who advise and provide recommendations to the FEMA Administrator on the National Preparedness System, National Incident Management System, National Response Framework, FEMA grants...
Posted On: June 16, 2011
Author: Public Affairs
As our bloggers frequently mention, recovering after a disaster is a team effort, where the public, private sector, voluntary and faith-based groups, and government agencies work together to address the short and long term needs of individuals and the affected community. There have been countless examples of this team effort in action since this spring’s devastating tornadoes, storms and flooding.We wanted to showcase one of the many dedicated voluntary groups assisting in the recovery efforts in Joplin, Mo. since a deadly tornado struck on May 22. A group of military veterans, named Team...
Posted On: June 15, 2011