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Daily Wrap Up: Ongoing Federal Efforts for the Winter Storm

Earlier today FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano briefed President Obama by phone on preparations for the winter storm. [White House Readout]

This morning FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.

Administrator Fugate and the Deputy Director of the National Weather Service held a press conference call to discuss the latest developments with the storm and the ongoing federal efforts to support state and local officials as they prepare for and respond to the storm.

Deputy Administrator Serino and the Deputy Director of the National Weather Service held a conference call with congressional staff from the affected regions on the latest developments with the storm and to discuss the ongoing federal efforts to support state and local officials as they prepare for and respond to the storm.

Key Efforts

  • FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, MO: Denton, TX: Chicago, IL; Atlanta, GA; Philadelphia, PA; New York, NY; and Boston, MA, continues to closely monitor the severe winter weather that is forecasted to impact the Midwest as far south as Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas early this week, and the northeastern United States by Wednesday.
  • We are in close contact and coordination with our state and federal partners, including the National Weather Service.
  • At the request of the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas, FEMA has deployed Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) members to the states, in order to help with coordination, should emergency response assistance be needed.  In addition, FEMA has deployed liaison officers to Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York, at the request of the respective states, to help coordinate if additional support is needed.
  • FEMA has emergency commodities pre-staged across the United States should they be needed to support state and local emergency response operations.  FEMA distribution centers have a current inventory of more than 5 million liters of water, 3 million meals, 500,000 blankets, 110,000 cots and more than 500 power generators.
  • Of the commodities pre-staged across the nation, FEMA is proactively sending supplies to additional strategic locations, in case they become needed:
    • Oklahoma: To date, FEMA has moved roughly 57,000 liters of water, 56,000 meals, 2,400 blankets and 1,200 cots to State Logistics Areas in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and McAlester, Oklahoma.
    • Missouri: FEMA has already moved roughly 61,000 liters of water, 20,000 meals, 1,500 blankets, 700 cots to a State Logistics Area in Kansas City, MO. FEMA has also moved a 54-pack of power generators to a State Logistics Area in Eureka, Missouri. 
    • Kentucky: FEMA is currently transporting roughly 72,000 liters of water, 40,700 meals, 19,000 blankets, and 10,000 cots to a support base at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. FEMA has positioned 23 power generators at the base. 
    • Ohio: FEMA has positioned 20 power generators, provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.  

Overall Timeline of FEMA and Federal Actions

Saturday, January 29

  • FEMA begins coordinating with its regional offices in Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Denton, TX, Kansas City, MO, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City, and state emergency operations centers in Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas to plan staging of commodities and resources. 

Sunday, January 30

  • FEMA deploys liaison officers to state emergency operations centers in Indiana, Kansas and Missouri.
  • FEMA begins to coordinate Incident Support Base locations at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, and the Regional Food Bank in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and the Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Oklahoma.
  • FEMA continues constant contact with the Department of Homeland Security to provide regular updates on the storm’s developments. FEMA has also been in regular touch with Governors and local officials in the Midwest, the Southeast and up the East Coast.

Monday January 31

  • FEMA deploys Incident Management Assessment Team (IMAT) team members to Oklahoma and Arkansas to assist the state with coordination of planning and response operations. FEMA deploys a liaison officer to the state emergency operations center in Oklahoma. 
  • FEMA places on alert Incident Management Assessment Teams in its regional offices in New York City, Kansas City, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Denton to stand-by for deployment, if needed.
  • FEMA activates the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC), a multi-agency center based at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., that provides overall coordination of the federal response by bringing together federal departments and agencies to assist in the preparations for and response to disasters.
  • FEMA deploys liaison officers to emergency operations centers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and regional support personnel to New York.
  • FEMA moves roughly 57,000 liters of water, 56,000 meals, 2,400 blankets, 1,200 cots and a 54-pack of power generators to Incident Support Base (ISB) locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and McAlester, Oklahoma. In addition, FEMA has moved roughly 30,000 liters of water, more than 20,000 meals, 1,500 blankets, 700 cots to an Incident Support Base in Kansas City, MO.
  • FEMA holds a video teleconference with federal partners and regional representatives to assess needs and readiness.

Tuesday February 1

  • FEMA deploys liaison officers to state emergency operations centers in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma and Rhode Island. 
  • FEMA deploys members of Incident Management Assessment Teams (IMATs) to Pennsylvania and Indiana and places an IMAT on standby to be deployed to Kentucky, as needed, to assist states with coordination of planning and response operations.
  • FEMA places the National Incident Management Assessment Team-East (IMAT-East) and two Pacific Coast-based IMATs on alert to potentially provide additional planning and response coordination and operations support to Midwestern and East Coast states.
  • FEMA is deploying 20 power generators, provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to arrive at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
  • In addition, FEMA is deploying approximately 31,000 liters of water to arrive at Kansas City, Missouri. FEMA is deploying a pack of 54 generators for staging at an Incident Support Base in Eureka, MO.
  • FEMA is deploying approximately 72,000 liters of water, roughly 20,000 meals, 10,000 blankets, and 10,000 cots to arrive at an Incident Support Base at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. FEMA is also positioning 23 power generators at the base.
  • FEMA holds a video teleconference with federal partners and regional representatives to assess needs and readiness.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano brief President Obama by phone on preparations for the winter storm.
  • Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate brief members of Congress from the affected states on the preparations for the storm.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is maintaining readiness of its 13 on-call Disaster Medicals Assistance Teams (DMATs) which are part of the National Disaster Medical System, a federally coordinated system that augments the Nation's emergency medical response capability.  HHS is also maintaining its on-call Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) and Applied Public Health Teams (APHT) comprised of trained USPHS Commissioned Corps Officer Responders who can provide resources and assistance to State, Tribal and local health authorities throughout the nation.
  • HHS Critical Infrastructure is contacting private partners regarding potential need to re-supply hospitals and any potential shortages caused by power or transportation disruptions.
  • More than 1,170 National Guard members in six states (AR, MO, IL, IA, OK, and TX) have been mobilized by their governors and are preparing to assist their states in winter storm recovery efforts.  More than 600 Missouri National Guard members are already clearing roads, removing debris, and providing transportation and power generation. National Guardsmen and women in several others states also are expected to be mobilized due to anticipated severe winter weather.
  • At the request of FEMA, the U.S. Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, has provided several facilities to use as Incident Support Bases, which are supply and equipment staging locations. These facilities include the McAlester Ammunition Depot in OK; the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in OH; and Fort Campbell in KY.

Wednesday February 2

  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano briefed President Obama by phone on preparations for the winter storm.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives and to assess their needs and readiness.
  • Administrator Fugate and the Deputy Director of the National Weather Service held a press conference call to discuss the latest developments with the storm and the ongoing federal efforts to support state and local officials as they prepare for and respond to the storm.
  • Deputy Administrator Serino and the Deputy Director of the National Weather Service held a conference call with congressional staff from the affected regions on the latest developments with the storm and to discuss the ongoing federal efforts to support state and local officials as they prepare for and respond to the storm.
  • FEMA has moved an additional 31,000 liters of water to Kansas City, Missouri.
  • The American Red Cross is supporting sheltering operations in as many as nine states. 
  • HHS Critical Infrastructure has deployed 5 personnel and teams remain on call for deployment.

Winter Storm Update: Scattered Power Outages, Shelters Open

Senior officials from FEMA joined via telephone by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, brief President Obama via teleconference on the winter storm that is affecting a large portion of the country.


Washington, DC, February 1, 2011 -- Senior officials from FEMA, including Administrator Craig Fugate (center, back to camera), Deputy Administrator Rich Serino (left) and Chief of Staff Jason McNamara (right), joined via telephone by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, brief President Obama via teleconference on the winter storm that is affecting a large portion of the country.

The winter storm affecting millions across the U.S. is currently moving north and east, and is expected to impact Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and the New England states today.  Through our regional offices in Kansas City, MO, Denton, TX, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, we continue to closely monitor the severe winter weather and stand ready to provide assistance if requested.

Here's the latest:

For those in the affected areas
Be sure to track your local forecast with the National Weather Service, the official source for severe weather warnings/watches/advisories. Shelters and warming centers have been established in several states in the impacted area.  See this interactive map from the American Red Cross to see the list of open shelters.

Scattered power outages have also been reported throughout the Midwest, and we are working with the impacted states to make sure they have the support they need as they work to restore power.  Make sure you’re prepared for a potential blackout with these tips.

When natural disasters, such as winter storms, hit local first responders and good Samaritans are the heroes as they handle the immediate response.  We stand ready to support them if assistance is requested.

For those in the storm's projected path
We encourage everyone still in the storm’s path to listen to the advice of their local officials and to stay inside, stay off the roads, and stay warm.  If you aren’t prepared for severe winter weather or potential power outages, visit Ready.gov today.

For those with an internet-capable cell phone, bookmark our mobile site for emergency and preparedness information on the go.

- Rachel

Video: Winter Storm Update from Administrator Fugate

After doing some television interviews this morning talking about the team effort that is going into the response to this winter storm, Administrator Fugate recorded this quick message:



For other video clips, see Administrator Fugate's interviews on PBS News Hour, Good Morning America, and The Early Show.

Daily Wrap Up: Ongoing Federal Efforts for the Winter Storm

Earlier today FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano briefed President Obama by phone on preparations for the winter storm. [White House readout]

Also earlier today, Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate briefed members of Congress from the affected states on the preparations.

This morning FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.

Key Efforts:

  •  FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, MO: Denton, TX: Chicago, IL; Atlanta, GA; Philadelphia, PA; New York, NY; and Boston, MA, continues to closely monitor the severe winter weather that is forecasted to impact the Midwest as far south as Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas early this week, and the northeastern United States by Wednesday.
  • FEMA is also monitoring a separate, slightly weaker storm that is expected to bring as much as 10 inches of snow to parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New England through this evening.
  • We are in close contact and coordination with our state and federal partners, including the National Weather Service.
  • At the request of the states of Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, FEMA has deployed Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) members to the states, in order to help with coordination, should emergency response assistance be needed.  In addition, FEMA has deployed liaison officers to Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York, at the request of the respective states, to help coordinate if additional support is needed.
  • FEMA has emergency commodities pre-staged across the United States should they be needed to support state and local emergency response operations.  FEMA distribution centers have a current inventory of more than 5 million liters of water, 3 million meals, 500,000 blankets, 110,000 cots and more than 500 power generators.
  • Of the commodities pre-staged across the nation, FEMA is proactively sending supplies to additional strategic locations, in case they become needed: 

    • Oklahoma: To date, FEMA has moved roughly 57,000 liters of water, 56,000 meals, 2,400 blankets, 1,200 cots and one 54-pack of power generators to Incident Support Base (ISB) locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and McAlester, Oklahoma.
    • Missouri:  FEMA has already moved roughly 30,000 liters of water, 20,000 meals, 1,500 blankets, 700 cots to an Incident Support Base in Kansas City, MO. FEMA has also moved a 54-pack of power generators to an Incident Support Base in Eureka, Missouri. FEMA is currently transporting 31,000 additional liters of water to Kansas City.
    • Kentucky: Today, FEMA is currently transporting roughly 72,000 liters of water, 20,000 meals, 10,000 blankets, and 10,000 cots to an Incident Support Base at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. FEMA is also positioning 23 power generators at the base.
    • Ohio: Today, FEMA is positioning 20 power generators, provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Overall timeline of FEMA and Federal actions:

Saturday, January 29

  • FEMA begins coordinating with its regional offices in Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Denton, TX, Kansas City, MO, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City, and state emergency operations centers in Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas to plan staging of commodities and resources. 

Sunday, January 30

  • FEMA deploys liaison officers to state emergency operations centers in Indiana, Kansas and Missouri.
  • FEMA begins to coordinate Incident Support Base locations at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, and the Regional Food Bank in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and the Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Oklahoma.
  • FEMA continues constant contact with the Department of Homeland Security to provide regular updates on the storm’s developments. FEMA has also been in regular touch with Governors and local officials in the Midwest, the Southeast and up the East Coast.

Monday, January 31

  • FEMA deploys Incident Management Assessment Team (IMAT) team members to Oklahoma and Arkansas to assist the state with coordination of planning and response operations. FEMA deploys a liaison officer to the state emergency operations center in Oklahoma.
  • FEMA places on alert Incident Management Assessment Teams in its regional offices in New York City, Kansas City, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Denton to stand-by for deployment, if needed.
  • FEMA activates the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC), a multi-agency center based at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., that provides overall coordination of the federal response by bringing together federal departments and agencies to assist in the preparations for and response to disasters.
  • FEMA deploys liaison officers to emergency operations centers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and regional support personnel to New York.
  • FEMA moves roughly 57,000 liters of water, 56,000 meals, 2,400 blankets, 1,200 cots and a 54-pack of power generators to Incident Support Base (ISB) locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and McAlester, Oklahoma. In addition, FEMA has moved roughly 30,000 liters of water, more than 20,000 meals, 1,500 blankets, 700 cots to an Incident Support Base in Kansas City, MO.
  • FEMA holds a video teleconference with federal partners and regional representatives to assess needs and readiness. 

Tuesday February 1

  • FEMA deploys liaison officers to state emergency operations centers in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma and Rhode Island.
  • FEMA deploys members of Incident Management Assessment Teams (IMATs) to Pennsylvania and Indiana and places an IMAT on standby to be deployed to Kentucky, as needed, to assist states with coordination of planning and response operations.
  • FEMA places the National Incident Management Assessment Team-East (IMAT-East) and two Pacific Coast-based IMATs on alert to potentially provide additional planning and response coordination and operations support to Midwestern and East Coast states.
  • FEMA is deploying 20 power generators, provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to arrive at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
  • In addition, FEMA is deploying approximately 31,000 liters of water to arrive at Kansas City, Missouri. FEMA is deploying a pack of 54 generators for staging at an Incident Support Base in Eureka, MO.
  • FEMA is deploying approximately 72,000 liters of water, roughly 20,000 meals, 10,000 blankets, and 10,000 cots to arrive at an Incident Support Base at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. FEMA is also positioning 23 power generators at the base.
  • FEMA holds a video teleconference with federal partners and regional representatives to assess needs and readiness.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano brief President Obama by phone on preparations for the winter storm.
  • Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate brief members of Congress from the affected states on the preparations for the storm.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is maintaining readiness of its 13 on-call Disaster Medicals Assistance Teams (DMATs) which are part of the National Disaster Medical System, a federally coordinated system that augments the Nation's emergency medical response capability.  HHS is also maintaining its on-call Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) and Applied Public Health Teams (APHT) comprised of trained USPHS Commissioned Corps Officer Responders who can provide resources and assistance to State, Tribal and local health authorities throughout the nation.
  • HHS Critical Infrastructure is contacting private partners regarding potential need to re-supply hospitals and any potential shortages caused by power or transportation disruptions.
  • More than 1,170 National Guard members in six states (AR, MO, IL, IA, OK, and TX) have been mobilized by their governors and are preparing to assist their states in winter storm recovery efforts.  More than 600 Missouri National Guard members are already clearing roads, removing debris, and providing transportation and power generation. National Guardsmen and women in several others states also are expected to be mobilized due to anticipated severe winter weather.
  • At the request of FEMA, the U.S. Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, has provided several facilities to use as Incident Support Bases, which are supply and equipment staging locations. These facilities include the McAlester Ammunition Depot in OK; the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in OH; and Fort Campbell in KY.

Know Your 4Ws: Winter Weather Watches and Warnings

Author: 

When it comes to weather, the National Weather Service is the official source of severe watches and warnings.  For the current winter storm making its way across the country, the National Weather Service has already issued winter storm watches, warnings or advisories in over 30 states, and blizzard warnings have been issued for eight states, including Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Indiana.

But what do all the watches and warnings mean?  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Winter Weather Advisory means cold, ice and snow are expected.
  • Winter Storm Watch means severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible in the next day or two.
  • Winter Storm Warning means severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon. 
  • Blizzard Warning is issued for winter storms when the following conditions are expected to last for at least three hours: winds of at least 35 miles per hour with considerable snowfall that reduces visibility to ¼ of a mile or less. 

And always remember to follow the instructions of state and local officials, and listen to local radio, your NOAA Weather Radio, or TV stations for updated emergency information.

- Brad

Severe Winter Storm Update

A large winter storm moving across the southern plains, the Midwest, and into the Northeast, will affect millions of Americans today and tonight.  The National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches, warning or advisories in over 30 states, and blizzard warnings have been issued for eight states, including Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Indiana.

Here's the latest:

What we’re doing
Through our regional offices in Kansas City (Missouri), Denton (Texas), Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, we’re closely coordinating with other members of the emergency management team in all areas that could be impacted.  FEMA liaison officers have been deployed to several state emergency operations centers at the request of state officials in the affected area, to coordinate if additional support is needed. 

We’ve also prepositioned generators, meals, water, and other supplies in strategic areas to assist state and local emergency response efforts if our help is requested.

What you can do

  • Follow the guidance of local officials. If driving conditions are hazardous where you live, stay off the roads.  As always, use common sense. 
  • Prepare for power outages.  Winter storms, especially those with ice storms, often bring power outages to the affected areas.  Our preparedness website, Ready.gov has tips on how to prepare for a potential power outage.
  • Check on your neighbor.  The elderly, children, people with disabilities, may be the most vulnerable during and after a severe winter storm.  After your basic needs are in order, check on your neighbor.
  • Be informed. Track your local forecast through the National Weather Service website, or on your smartphone.  Visit Ready.gov to get prepared for winter weather, or find preparedness on the go at our mobile site.

See Administrator Fugate's interview with ABC News for some of his winter weather preparedness tips.

- Rachel

A Week of Team Building

Author: 


Motivating residents of Dallas County, Texas
This week I had the opportunity to work with our state, tribal and local partners and reinforce the need for cooperation. I began the week by participating in a joint press conference with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia, Dallas County Director of Health and Human Services, Zachary S. Thompson, Texas Department of Emergency Management Director Nim Kidd and other local officials. We reminded residents of Dallas County and the surrounding counties of disaster preparation, creating a plan, having a disaster kit ready and available for use and accessing available resources when needed.

Interagency and intergovernmental planning
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Region VI hosted a Regional Interagency Steering Committee (RISC) meeting. RISC meetings are venues for strengthening partnerships, coordinating interagency and intergovernmental planning, exchange ideas, identifying potential problems before a disaster strikes and focusing on what should be our emergency management priorities in the coming year. I was very pleased that emergency managers for all five states and tribal emergency managers in Region VI were able to attend this one.  I hosted an executive session with the state and tribal emergency managers; I find this type of collective partnership invaluable as we respond to disasters.

The RISC meeting allowed not only FEMA employees, but state, federal and tribal partners to receive updates, share best practices and reinforce the need for cooperation before a disaster or major event. 

Recognizing volunteers
Tuesday evening I was honored to deliver the address for the American Red Cross, Dallas Area Chapter President’s Volunteer Service Awards and pinning ceremony. It was held to recognize over 250 volunteers, adults who have contributed more than 100 hours or youth who have contributed more than 50 hours in the past 12 months. Each of the award recipients  received a pin, certificate, personalized press release and a letter from President Obama recognizing their commitment. It was a great privilege to participate in this awards ceremony especially since American Red Cross is a valuable partner agencies that FEMA works with.

I mention some of the partner specific activities I have participated in this week because it reinforces the team concept. FEMA supports and responds to local and state disasters and is part of the emergency management team. Our ability to prepare fore, respond to, and recover from disasters is strongly influenced by the strength of our relationships with our partners. I’m proud that FEMA is part of the team that includes county and parish officials, tribal officials, state emergency managers, various stakeholders across a myriad of disciplines, and individuals citizens. 

- Tony

Posted on Mon, 01/31/2011 - 17:01

A New Week - And A Multi-State, Multi-Day Winter Storm

It’s the start of a new week – and we're closely monitoring a major winter storm that is expected to hit many states, in many regions throughout the week. As of now, forecasters expect the storm to bring heavy snow and ice to the Midwest and as far south as Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas early this week, and to the Northeast later in the week.

Through our regional offices in Kansas City (Missouri), Denton (Texas), Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston, we are in constant contact with our state and local partners in all of the areas that could be impacted, as well as the National Weather Service. There have not been any requests for federal assistance yet, but we stand ready to assist state and local emergency response efforts if needed.

The storm's first impact, in the Midwest, could include heavy snow, destructive ice, tornadoes and bitter cold, and according to meteorologists "When everything is said and done, the storm may very well impact a third of the population of the United States; approximately 100 million people." Read more about the storm's path and expected conditions.

A storm of this size and scope needs to be taken seriously. It's important to follow the instructions of state and local officials, and listen to local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information. We urge all residents in areas that could be affected to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and their local news to monitor for updates and directions provided by their local officials.

And as anyone in the South, the Northeast, or other parts of the country that have already been hit with severe storms this winter can tell you, being prepared can make a world of difference when dealing with heavy snow, power outages, or icy roads. If you haven’t already, visit www.ready.gov for simple tips to help you get ready for the coming storm. And don’t forget to check on your neighbors, especially if they’re elderly or very young.

If you are a Twitter user, FEMA's Twitter accounts (including Administrator Fugate) are a great place to get updates on the developing storm, in addition to this blog.

- Rachel

What We're Watching: 1/28/11

East coast snow cleanup
The big story of the week was the winter storm that affected much of the east coast. Our regional offices in New York, Philadelphia and Boston are in close coordination with our state and local partners, but this won’t be the last winter storm of the season.  Forecasters are calling for more severe weather next week, so make sure you’re prepared with these tips from Ready.gov (see the National Weather Service forecast map).

Heavy, wet snow blankets cars in a residential neighborhood. Upwards of 8 inches of snow fell across the Washington, DC area. FEMA/Aaron Skolnik

Germantown, MD, January 26, 2011 -- Heavy, wet snow blankets cars in a residential neighborhood. Upwards of 8 inches of snow fell across the Washington, DC area.

Challenge deadline tomorrow
As we mentioned earlier in the week, our preparedness challenge ends tomorrow. Check out the more than 150 submissions and submit your own before the deadline!

All submissions will be judged based on originality, level of community engagement, and ease of implementation. FEMA leadership will review the submissions and feature the best idea on fema.gov.

Shout out to the Recovery Diva
Many thanks to a fellow emergency management blog, Recovery Diva, for featuring one of our job openings for a Disaster Recovery Reservist. We’re always looking for talented and dedicated folks to join our team who are looking to make a big impact on disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Visit fema.gov/careers for more information on joining the FEMA team.

Strengthening the team in Texas
We also wanted to highlight a news article about strengthening the emergency management team in Dallas County, Texas. Officials from all levels of government - local, state, and federal – got together earlier this week to discuss new ways they can collaborate to ensure the public is better prepared before a disaster strikes.

See the story on the Dallas Morning News website.

Seeing Fire Grants in Action: A Visit to Phoenix


Elizabeth Harman greets members of Phoenix Fire Department recruit class 11-1 during a break from live fire training on January 19, 2011. The class of 28 firefighters is funded by a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant.
Phoenix, AZ, January 19, 2011 -- Elizabeth Harman greets members of Phoenix Fire Department recruit class 11-1 during a break from live fire training on January 19, 2011. The class of 28 firefighters is funded by a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant.

Last week, I visited Phoenix, Arizona to speak at the Labor Management Initiative Conference co-sponsored by the International Association of Fire Fighters and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. This conference encourages cooperation between labor and management to improve the level of service provided to the public. I was there to share the many types of grants that are available to fire departments and local governments through federal grant programs.

While visiting, I also spent time at the Phoenix Fire Department’s training facility to talk with the current firefighter recruit class. It was their first day of live fire training, and they were all pretty excited. These 28 young men and women are now able to provide critical services to their community because of funding through our Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program. Since 2008 budget constraints have prevented Phoenix from hiring firefighters, but the assistance made available through the SAFER Grants, has enabled the city to begin to train a new class of recruits.

It is encouraging to see the level of energy and appreciation in these young firefighters and to see the SAFER grant program at work. How have federal grant programs, like SAFER, made an impact on the emergency response capacity in your town? Leave a comment and let us know.

- Elizabeth

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