Part of that means each employee doing their own preparation for disasters (think solar chargers for your cell phone, hand-crank weather radios, non-perishable food, and water). We also have plans in place as an agency that we practice and test on the regular. Most of our staff is equipped to work effectively from home or an alternative location – it’s all part of being an emergency manager. That means having systems set up for conference calls, virtual meetings, and tracking our tasks.
On Saturday when the internet began to rumble with rumors about a big storm headed toward the Northeast, we knew those plans would be put to the test. By the time most sports fans were kicking back for some quality Pro Bowl watching on Sunday night, our staff, along with all six New England states, were gearing up for a different kind of game time.
Thanks to that kind of preparation, we’re still in close communication with our state partners, standing by to assist with any needs they may have in responding to and recovering from this storm. During this phase, communication is key, and snowstorms (and other disasters) sometimes do their best to break down our means of getting in touch with each other. We spend lots of time preparing for days like these—and our communications experts are always working hard to get us equipped with things like Wi-Fi hotspots on our cell phones to keep us connected. These tools help us accomplish FEMA’s mission when we need access to each other and our emergency management partners.
Like the rest of our team, I have my work cut out for me today, and while I may be wearing slippers instead of boots, it’s another full workday for me (with a bit of shoveling at the end of it).