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Author: Jessica Stapf
Summertime has always been my favorite. When I was a bright-eyed kid still growing up in Upstate New York, summer meant so many great things. It meant spending my Saturday nights at the local racetrack. It meant cookouts and barbecues. It meant the coming of field hockey season and camping trips. And, best of all, it meant my birthday—my favorite day of the year—was coming. There were so many things to love about summertime up north.If you’ve never been (that’s a real shame to be perfectly honest), it looks almost like a Norman Rockwell painting. Serene, full of hope...
Posted On: June 27, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Right now there’s a lot going on and it would seem that right now we’re even busier than normal. We’ve got our fingers on the pulse of several different things:First, we’re working to help firefighters out west battle several fires by issuing them fire management assistance grants. What are these grants? Great question. These grants do a multitude of things:So far this year we’ve issued 14 of these grants to states, helping to combat what has already been and may continue to be a very active wildfire season.Second, we’re keeping our eye on the oppressive...
Posted On: June 20, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Note: We are live-blogging a drill (internally called #CascadiaRising) taking place across all levels of government. This post will be updated during the week with activities that are taking place in response to the drill.6:53PM Eastern Daylight Time, June 10, 2016:I lived and worked in Grays Harbor for about a decade, working for print newspapers. Today, I’m the digital media coordinator for the Washington Emergency Management Division, responsible for overseeing our social media team responding to the notional threats presented to us during Cascadia Rising.I took a break today to see...
Posted On: June 7, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
The name Topanga may be familiar to some who grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s thanks to a famous television show. For others, it may be familiar for a less nostalgic and much more personal way.This weekend, a fire ignited near a stretch of Old Topanga Canyon Road in Calabasas, California. Winding roads, steep hills, and vast expanses of trees mark the area, making it a perfect place for a fire to ignite. It sparked after a truck struck a utility pole, knocking it down like a fresh-cut pine tree. A transformer on the pole fell and started the blaze.1, 2As the flames stretched and scorched...
Posted On: June 6, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
It only takes one ticket to win the lottery. It only takes one second to tell a friend you made it home safe. It only takes one storm to change a community forever.We’ve seen it time and time again; instances of just one storm making a mark on a community. We know many of those storms and communities by name.Hurricane season is long. On the Atlantic side, it runs from June 1 through the end of November. Some seasons are more active than others; with multiple storms making landfall in one season. Some seasons don’t have any storms make landfall. Some, well, they only have one. And...
Posted On: June 1, 2016
Author: Craig Fugate
Editor's Note: This post first appeared on the White House Blog. Today we released the 2016 National Preparedness Report, an important guidepost in our work to build a stronger, more resilient America. The findings of this year’s report are significant. This vital information is analyzed to gauge the progress that community partners—including all levels of government, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, communities, and individuals—are making to prepare for a wide array of threats and hazards.  We should be prepared for all hazards, from...
Posted On: May 31, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Merriam-Webster in its infinite wisdom tells me that a reservoir is "a place where something is kept in store—as an artificial lake where water is collected and kept…" The term's origin? French—and its first appearance in the common lexicon was way back in 1690.1 For places like the Marshall Islands, this term is an incredibly valuable one.The Marshall Islands are a small group of atolls (islands formed by coral reefs) out in the Pacific—totaling just 181 square kilometers—or about 70 square miles.2 To bring it a little closer to home, it's...
Posted On: May 26, 2016
Author: Helen Lowman
2015 was the second of two back-to-back years of record heat and 2016 looks to be no different.1  But even if you live in an area that hasn’t experienced a heat wave in the past, take the time now to educate yourself about how to protect your family if it does happen.Here are some things to make sure you’re ready.Know the alerts and warnings. The National Weather Service issues heat advisories and excessive heat warnings when unusual periods of hot weather are expected.Heat Outlooks: The potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days.Excessive Heat Watches...
Posted On: May 25, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Scorched trees now line the roads where children played and parents drove to work. Ash and soot blanket everything—like dust settles on unmoved furniture. The sunrise is hazy with smoke that fills the air with a sweet scent, yet the ground is littered with bitter remnants.Communities across the Fort McMurray area in Alberta, Canada have faced tragically beautiful scenes like these since fires sparked at the beginning of May. Conditions continue to remain tough—with the Fort McMurray-area wildfires taking up 522,892 hectares (nearly 1.3 million acres for those of us who prefer...
Posted On: May 23, 2016
Author: Helen Lowman
Unlike most natural disasters, hurricanes rarely take us by surprise. There’s a season (June 1 – November 30) when forecasters can see hurricanes developing off the coast, hundreds of miles away, and  can track them as they move closer to land. However, when they hit, high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and even tornadoes are all part of the hurricane package that can really pack a punch. That’s why if you live in an area where hurricanes are a threat, now is the time to prepare. Watch this short animation about hurricane...
Posted On: May 19, 2016