I grew up in Florida. While students in the mid-West learned about green sky warnings and the West learned about earthquake safety, we spent our school days discussing emergency kits and flood zones. As a kid, I remember sheltering in place with board games, flashlights, and emergency radios.
I am really grateful for this preparedness education because it helped my family through the terrible 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. Because my parents stocked up on bottled water and non-perishable foods in advance, they were able to make it through the extended power outage that followed Hurricane Wilma. And when I couldn’t get a hold of them because cellular towers were down, I knew which neighbor’s landline to call to make sure they were ok.
In 2011, I moved to New York City and thought the worst disaster I would experience would be crowded subways and the occasional snow storm. I was prepared, but surprised, when we experienced both Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy back to back.
So how do we know what natural disasters to prepare for in our community, and when they are most likely to occur?
Over the past few months, I have been working with a great group of colleagues here at FEMA to help you answer those questions. We developed a new visualization that allows you to explore when and where disasters have occurred using historical disaster declaration data. All this information is on interactive maps and charts, that you can filter based on location, year, and hazard.
Here’s a little bit more from the Administrator: