As a nation, we need to be prepared and ready to respond to the devastating threat of hurricanes. Hurricane Program Manager Brandon Bolinski is one of the FEMA employees who works every day to make sure we are.
Earlier this month, Bolinski received the 2022 Distinguished Service Award at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Florida. He received the award for the work he does to provide hurricane preparedness, hurricane planning and operational response and decision training making for federal, state and local partners.
“I was honored to receive the award,” said Bolinski. “I really enjoy what I do, and it’s rewarding to been nominated by my peers.”
After receiving a degree in meteorology, Bolinski started his career in emergency management for the state of Florida before joining the National Weather Service. Bolinski came to FEMA in 2005 just before Hurricane Dennis made landfall in in the Florida Panhandle. Now he leads the FEMA Hurricane Liaison Team at the National Hurricane Center.
“The work we do within the National Hurricane Program is truly a team effort. I work with so many partners who are doing great, innovative things every day,” said Bolinski.
Bolinski is a trusted advisor and has built a reputation for being a cool-headed expert. A respected leader in meteorology and emergency management, he cherishes the relationships he’s fostered over the years with his FEMA and National Weather Service colleagues.
“It's amazing to see the success of this partnership between the Hurricane Center, FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Weather Service,” said Bolinski. “I think you have to attribute it to our great synergy. FEMA can't do it alone. They can't do alone. But together, we can really make a difference in people’s lives and protecting communities across the nation.”
Bolinski is enthusiastic about the training he conducts with the Hurricane Center to provide hurricane preparedness, hurricane planning and operational response and decision training making for federal, state and local partners.
“Outside hurricane operations, the team provides training and Hurricane Evacuation Studies. We support the HURREVAC tool, which helps with decision making during a hurricane,” said Bolinski.
Bolinski explained one reason the tool is so important “Data from the NHC forecast is extremely detailed, with great information, but it’s dynamic and changes every six hours. The HURREVAC tool helps bring forecast information together with evacuation studies so emergency managers can make effective decisions,” he said.
The team trains state and local emergency managers involved with evacuation planning how to use the tool.
“We train state and local emergency managers who deal with evacuation planning and support during Hurricanes. It's so fun to take people through that journey of understanding hurricanes, their hazards, what it means to their communities and how to deal with it,” said Bolinski. “They can go back and understand when they're planning for hurricanes what they need to do to make better decisions.”
The training is beneficial two-way learning experience. “Trainers and trainees spend a week learning about different facets that go into making these decisions that ultimately saves lives,” said Bolinski.
In addition to having exceptional technical expertise and a wealth of experience and knowledge, Bolinski cares deeply about his team and is selfless in his dedication to public service.
“The most rewarding part of my job is being able to see our hard work come to fruition,” said Bolinski. “The hardest things the program does are probably the most rewarding. The Hurricane Liaison Team works extremely long, stressful hours in a small office and there can be a lot going on at once. But you know you're helping people and supporting some really important decisions. It’s just incredible to be a part of so many great conversations and experiences.”
For more information on how to become part of FEMA’s team of experts, visit FEMA.gov/careers.