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Author: Carl Levon Kustin
On Saturday, September 9 I received an email from my daughter, Rachelle, notifying me that a friend of hers had not heard from his mother since Hurricane Irma hit the island of St. Thomas where she lives next to her sister. When I received the email, we knew that St. Thomas received extensive damage with very little communication capability. I also did not know where I would be assigned. I kept the email in my pocket and was prepared to forward it to whoever was assigned the responsibility of conducting welfare checks in her neighborhood.What I did not tell my daughter was that the last time...
Posted On: September 19, 2017
Author: Jacob Vawter
Editor's Note: Updated on September 15In keeping with a tradition of cross-border emergency assistance, on August 28 the Government of Canada offered its assistance to the United States following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.After receiving Canada’s offer to support Harvey relief efforts, FEMA’s International Affairs Division, in consultation with Mass Care experts in the National Response Coordination Center, identified select pediatric supplies including cribs, pillows, and baby formula as being a critical need for many survivors.  Responding to a formal request...
Posted On: September 9, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
Peak hurricane season runs from the middle of August to the middle of October.1 Right now, we’re in the middle of it.Back in May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put out their outlook for this year’s hurricane season and pegged it as being “above average.”2 With the strength of Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma, their prediction could be said to be spot on.Around here, it’s been a truly “all hands on deck” effort. Our support for affected—and potentially affected—areas has not wavered.Harvey caused an immense...
Posted On: September 8, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
In the early days of Twitter, one of the biggest and most rampant uses of the platform was to spread false rumors of celebrity deaths. I’ve seen several of them in my day, fallen for a few, and in the years since, I’ve managed to determine the difference between the real ones and the fake ones.With the rapid pace and sheer volume of information that’s available via social media, pieces of that information can be altered easily. Content can go “viral” at any moment, regardless of whether or not it’s accurate, which is how many people find false celebrity...
Posted On: August 17, 2017
Author: Naomi Winston
I joined the FEMA Region 6 Youth Preparedness Council three years ago, after joining the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Explorers, a program I have been a part of for five years. The program’s main focus is giving young people training in law enforcement as well as first aid and CPR. The main community service project we’re a part of is the Child I.D. Program, which can help parents in the event of an emergency by providing them with access to get fingerprints and identification cards for their children. In emergencies, these cards can help reunite families that may have...
Posted On: July 25, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
“What did you do before you came to FEMA?”My answer to this question isn’t as exciting as many of the ones I’ve heard over the nearly four years I’ve been associated with FEMA in some capacity.I’ve asked that question countless times and I’ve received a vast variety of answers: the film industry, music, other emergency management agencies… The list goes on for what feels like forever. In fact, the nun in the photo above is one of our reservists.As for me, my pre-FEMA time was spent as a humble college student studying French and international...
Posted On: June 29, 2017
Author: Kaylyn Beck
Meet Elizabeth and Ventoux. They’re a highly trained canine/handler Urban Search & Rescue team with Virginia Task Force 1. They’ve been working together for nearly six years with an impressive resume of disasters including Hurricane Sandy and the 2015 Nepal earthquake. My colleague and I were lucky enough to hang out with the duo, learning about the spirited 8-year-old Belgian Malinois and his steadfast handler.We met up with Elizabeth and Ventoux at a Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue training site in Virginia. The site boasts a variety of realistic training scenarios...
Posted On: June 27, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
Whether it’s a captain of a professional sports team, a captain of a ship, or an administrator of a federal agency, strong leadership qualities are important.As we head into hurricane season, with storms already brewing, we are excited to welcome our new administrator back to FEMA.Since the change in administration, we’ve had strong leadership. Region 9 Administrator Bob Fenton stepped in to take the reins as the administration transitioned. His hard work is appreciated, and we thank him for his continued service and dedication to the agency.Now, the individual appointed by the...
Posted On: June 26, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
I’ve always had a knack for remembering random tidbits of information, including memories that many would assume I would’ve long forgotten. The one I’m thinking of this week includes butterflies.In first grade, we studied the development of monarch butterflies—from an egg to the completed, gorgeous and fluttery state. The project culminated in the release of cages of monarchs on the playground. With their wings fluttering above the blacktop where we played hopscotch, the butterflies were never to be seen again. It was sad, but also beautiful, and it’s stuck with...
Posted On: June 21, 2017
Author: Kathy Fields
Earlier this week, we had some severe weather up in the panhandle of Nebraska. A tornado did touch down in the community of Bayard on Monday night, causing damage to several homes and a nursing home. Fortunately, and most importantly, it appears that nobody was injured. In true Cornhusker fashion, neighbors were out the very next day, checking on each other and lending a hand with cleanup.Approximately nine miles west of Bayard is the City of Minatare. As the severe weather approached Monday evening, tornado sirens went off, and it was time for folks to take action.Recently, they City of...
Posted On: June 15, 2017