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Author: Yvette Blackman
Folks along Peeples Street in northern Richland County, South Carolina are accustomed to relentless rain. Crane Creek overflows its banks at times, spilling into low-lying rural areas and causing flooding that creeps up to windowsills. Yards fill with a soupy mess of mud and muck. But the people who live on this street on the edge of the Denny Terrace neighborhood are a hardy lot. Chores move indoors until the rains stop. Folks clean up. Life goes on. When it began raining in early fall, Denny Terrace residents weren’t alarmed. But South Carolina was pounded by weeks of punishing rain...
Posted On: January 11, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
We published 62 posts on our blog this year. We wrote about all sorts of topics ranging from partnerships with other organizations, stories from our field offices, the phenomenon known as El Niño, and several others. Through the magic of analytics, we found our ten most-read articles from 2015.1. The “Big One” in the Pacific Northwest: Taking conversation to actionKen Murphy, FEMA’s Region 10 Administrator, took some time to sit down and pen an article in response to The New Yorker’s most popular article of the year. There’s been a lot of concern and attention...
Posted On: January 7, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
When disasters like extreme flooding, wildfires, and building collapses happen, search and rescue teams are in the air, in the water, and on the ground within hours to respond. They are there working to find and rescue anyone trapped—be it by the elements or by debris.  Our 28 nationally trained and certified Urban Search and Rescue teams are made up of specialists in communications, hazardous materials, logistics, medical, planning, rescue, technical, and water operations.Each task force has up to 210 members on staff at any given time—this ensures that when they’re...
Posted On: January 4, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
The way I see it, the world is kind of like driving in Mario Kart. Some disasters we can see coming with the help of weather forecasts—like hurricanes. They are like Mario Kart bananas—they’re bad, but we have time to prepare for them. Other disasters, like earthquakes, we can’t predict. They are more like blue shells, which are designed to take out whoever is leading the race when they’re least expecting it.This year's hurricane season smashed records in both oceans; the Atlantic for being below-average, the Pacific for being above-average.1In the Pacific...
Posted On: December 18, 2015
Author: Esther Herrera
This year, several wildfires raged through northern California burning everything in their paths: houses, cars, farm equipment, even telephone poles. One day, my team visited a family who survived the wildfire. The fire moved so quickly that this family, like many others, was forced to flee the flames with only the clothes on their backs.They were fortunately able to evacuate safely. But once the fire was contained and they were allowed to return, the family discovered that they had lost everything. Their house had burned to the ground. Clothing, furniture, appliances: all gone.When our team...
Posted On: December 7, 2015
Author: David Mace
When Nicolas Cage jumped off the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid in the movie “National Treasure,” no one could have imagined this towering World War II warship would have to fight one more battle — against the forces of Hurricane Sandy.However, this National Historic Landmark had an ally on board. FEMA threw the Intrepid a lifeline in the form of $13 million in funding for cleaning, rebuilding and strengthening the vessel against future disasters.The ship, moored in New York’s Hudson River, is now home to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. During...
Posted On: December 3, 2015
Author: Tony Russell
We all know the importance of training in preparing individuals for their careers - emergency management professionals are no different. It’s critical to ensure our emergency management professionals and their counterparts are adequately trained to respond to disasters; however small or large those disasters may be. Even more important is sharing the same foundation and training so that when a large-scale disaster hits, we are all working from a common framework and are ready to serve disaster survivors as best we can.FEMA provides training for emergency responders across the nation...
Posted On: November 30, 2015
Author: Jessica Stapf
All disasters are local. They begin and end locally. This statement echoed throughout a day full of collaboration and networking known as Partnership Day.At the end of October, representatives from many of the voluntary agencies and non-profit organizations we work with came together for the first event of this kind in Washington, DC. The event was designed to build, solidify, and highlight many of the connections that make disaster response and recovery successful.Beth Zimmerman kicked off the day with opening remarks. She is FEMA’s Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery and...
Posted On: November 23, 2015
Author: Jessica Stapf
During this year’s intense wildfire season, over 9.7 million acres of land have been charred by fires.1 To put this into perspective, the 2014 season burned 3.2 million acres—about one-third of this year’s total burn.1 These fires have caused millions of dollars of damage across the nation, and many of the biggest impacts have been felt in California.By reducing a major hurdle, the price tag, fire management assistance grants can allow fire managers to focus on stopping the fire quickly with all the resources they can get--which in the end may save much more: loss of lives...
Posted On: November 19, 2015
Author: Jessica Stapf
“We play all the songs from the '80s, '90s, and today!” Radio stations across the country have been using this line for years. If you’ve ever listened to any of them, you’ve probably noticed a little bit of change in popular music over the years.Like the music we listen to, El Niño and the technology that’s used to predict and study it have changed too. In case you missed it, El Niño is the warming of the Pacific Ocean’s waters that can cause irregular weather patterns. Our friends at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have...
Posted On: November 17, 2015