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Author: Sandra Knight
A little over a year ago, hundreds of tornadoes touched down in the Southeastern and Midwestern portions of the United States between April 25 and April 28, 2011.  On May 22, only a few weeks later, a powerful 0.75-mile-wide tornado cut a 6-mile path through Joplin, MO.  These tornado events resulted in the tragic loss of life, destruction of thousands of homes and billions of dollars in building and infrastructure damage.  FEMA’s Building Science Branch responded by deploying a Mitigation Assessment Team of specialists to assess building damage across a five-state area...
Posted On: August 1, 2012
Author: Sandra Knight
On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania failed, killing 2,200 people and leaving thousands homeless. The Johnstown disaster was the worst dam failure before and since 1889 in the United States in terms of lives lost and injuries.This year, FEMA’s National Dam Safety Program recognized today, May 31, 2012 as National Dam Safety Awareness Day, in commemoration of the devastation of 1889 and as a call to action. FEMA, along with various Federal, State and local stakeholders, attended the event this morning at the Lake Needwood Dam in Rockville, Maryland.The National Dam...
Posted On: May 31, 2012
Author: Sandra Knight
Flooding is the nation’s number one natural disaster, and it can occur inland, along the coast, and across every region of the country. Even though you may think your community has little or no risk of flooding, the reality is that anywhere it rains, it can flood. In fact, roughly 25 percent of all flood insurance claims are filed in low-to-moderate flood-risk areas. It is important to keep in mind that the risk of flooding isn’t based only on your community’s history, but on a variety of factors like rainfall, topography, river-flow and tidal-surge data, and changes resulting from new...
Posted On: March 14, 2012
Author: Sandra Knight
As part of our ongoing efforts to reform and strengthen the National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA has been working with members of Congress and other stakeholders to revise our process for mapping the flood risk of communities and families living behind levees. Our goal is to improve the way we map that risk – so families have more precise information when making decisions about how to protect their homes and properties.In recent months, we have explored multiple approaches by seeking extensive input from stakeholders, including independent technical experts and the public.Based on this...
Posted On: December 15, 2011
Author: Sandra Knight
The devastation caused by the recent tornadoes and thunderstorms has highlighted how critical building safety is to overall public safety, property protection, and to our economic lifeblood.  Fittingly, President Obama has proclaimed May as National Building Safety Month in order to heighten awareness of the key role that the development and construction of safe residential and commercial building standards plays in the fight against catastrophic damage caused by disasters.So in light of National Building Safety month, I wanted to share FEMA’s efforts in this area, along with some...
Posted On: May 25, 2011
Author: Sandra Knight
Editor's note: updated on May 6, 4:13 p.m.On April 14, deadly storms rolled through Oklahoma, with a tornado touching down in Atoka County. As the winds of up to 165 miles-per-hour roared overhead, nearly 200 men, women, children and firefighters stood shoulder-to-shoulder in a safe room in Tushka Public School.“The death toll would have been much higher had there not been a safe room to take shelter in,” said Tushka Mayor Brickie Griffin. “We are thankful we had a safe room on April 14.”Shawnee, OK, May 13, 2010 – This photo, taken last year in Oklahoma, shows all that remains of a country...
Posted On: May 6, 2011
Author: Sandra Knight
The National Hurricane Conference, going on this week, provides a great opportunity for members of the emergency management team to strengthen their partnerships.  It also provides an opportunity to recognize individuals in front of a group of their peers.Earlier this week, several individuals were recognized for their contributions to emergency management and hurricane preparedness.  One award recipient was Miguel Pavon, Administrator of the Texas/Mexico Borderlands Information Center, who received an Outstanding Achievement in Mitigation Award for his contributions to HAZUS, a...
Posted On: April 21, 2011
Author: Sandra Knight
At FEMA, our top priority is the safety of the citizens and communities we serve. A central part of our commitment to protect lives and property is to ensure that people are aware of the natural hazards and risks that exist in their communities so they can take appropriate actions to safeguard their property and their lives. We are constantly encouraging communities to take steps now to protect against those natural risks, including flooding – which is both the most common and the most expensive type of natural disaster in the U.S.One of the goals of this blog - and another key priority for...
Posted On: February 8, 2011
Author: Sandra Knight
Calexico, CA, April 6, 2010 -- A magnitude7.2 earthquake rocked the city on Easter leavingmany facilities, roads, and public buildings closed.This photo shows damages at a home in the area. Back in December, Tim Manning spoke about our efforts to prepare for a catastrophic earthquake along the New Madrid seismic zone on the anniversary of the historic earthquake that struck the Midwestern U.S. in 1811.Since 2011 is the bicentennial anniversary, states across the central U.S. are recognizing February as Earthquake Awareness Month.  FEMA has teamed up with the Central U.S. Earthquake...
Posted On: February 7, 2011