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Author: Jason Lindesmith, Jessica Stapf, Eilis Maynard
What’s the largest team you’ve ever been a part of? Maybe it’s a sports team, a project team at work, or a group you volunteer with.  Whatever your answer, I’m fairly confident that it’s not as complex, as geographically spread out, or as diverse as the local, state, and federal search and rescue units that collectively make up a single National Urban Search and Rescue Response System task force.The nation’s search and rescue capabilities are in a very different place than they were 10 or 15 years ago. Over the years, disasters across the U.S. have...
Posted On: September 2, 2015
Author: Jason Lindesmith
My phone is constantly buzzing and beeping all day long. E-mails, social media, texts, and app notifications bombard my phone and create a cacophony of reminders that tend to all blend together.  But what if one of those texts, e-mails, or social media posts is about an emergency? Wouldn’t it be nice for those emergency updates to “rise to the top” and make you pay attention?That’s a big reason why Wireless Emergency Alerts have a distinct vibration and alert tone – the alerts are designed to make you pay attention because there’s a potential emergency...
Posted On: March 16, 2015
Author: Jason Lindesmith
Winter is here – that time of year when we’re bundling up, trying to stay warm, and getting ready for the holiday season.  It’s also a time to think about fire safety, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t recognize the amazing progress our partners are making to make our communities safer.     Here’s one example.  One of our closest partners, the American Red Cross, has embarked on an innovative effort to focus their fire preparedness campaigns - and they’re using data from FEMA to make it happen. Here’s how it...
Posted On: December 15, 2014
Author: Jason Lindesmith
Is diversity important in emergency management? How do you break into emergency management?  What advice do you have for women looking to move up in emergency management? I sat down with Elizabeth A. Zimmerman, one of FEMA’s most accomplished leaders and head of the Office of Response and Recovery, to talk about her recent induction to the International Network of Women in Emergency Management Hall of Fame and to get her perspective on those big questions.Here’s what she had to say:Question: What role does diversity play in emergency management? Can having a diverse workforce...
Posted On: November 21, 2014
Author: Jason Lindesmith
In the emergency management world, accurate, timely information is vital.  Having that information results in better prepared communities and survivors who can recover more quickly when disaster strikes.  That’s why FEMA’s Tribal Affairs team created a new, quickly accessible information resource to provide tribal emergency managers with important information about FEMA’s disaster assistance programs: a pocket guide for FEMA and Tribal Nations. Embracing and considering the unique needs of all stakeholders is one of FEMA’s top priorities.  This...
Posted On: November 6, 2014
Author: Jason Lindesmith
What makes a great race? To me, the ingredients include awesome scenery, a well-planned route, and a cause that runners can really get behind.  I ran a race that met all three of these conditions in Cannon Beach, Oregon called “Race the Wave”.  In short, the city of Cannon Beach took their town’s risk for earthquakes and tsunamis and made it into a race, and I’m going to lay out why every community along the Pacific coast should be hurrying to plan their own.  The coolest part of “Race the Wave” is that it doesn’t have to be a “race” per se, with runners competing for the best...
Posted On: October 15, 2014
Author: Jason Lindesmith
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few “hackathons” and “data jams”, both inside and outside of the government space.  These events often have a simple premise: bring together tech experts from different disciplines and organizations so they can create cool, useful solutions or products.  The challenge at these gatherings isn’t coming up with great ideas – the tough task is transforming big ideas into tangible to-do lists and, ultimately, a useful product. The approach to FEMA’s first-ever Data Town Hall was refreshing because our OpenFEMA team harked just as much about...
Posted On: April 11, 2014
Author: Jason Lindesmith
Quick trivia question: what’s the most common disaster in the U.S. that impacts the most people year after year?  The answer: Flooding.  This week, we’re focused on flood safety as part of National Flood Awareness Week.  I went back through the video archives and pulled out two stories that demonstrate our key themes for this week.  If you’ve got five minutes, these two videos are worth your time.The first one is from Hurricane Irene in 2011.  It profiles a town in Vermont that dealt with significant flooding and shows many of the ways flooding can disrupt our lives....
Posted On: March 17, 2014