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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: 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: 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: Jessica Stapf
“Check out this embarrassing photo from five years ago!” an unnamed social network tells me every morning promptly at 8:45. You could set your alarm by it. (Half the time, that buzzing notification is my alarm.) Social media flashbacks are all the rage these days and have been for quite some time. “Throwback Thursday,” “Flashback Friday,” the memories and archive apps we know and love. They’re everywhere.For some, these apps and posting trends bring back fond memories like junior prom or college graduation. For some, these apps don’t bring back...
Posted On: April 29, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
The floodwaters glistened in the long-awaited sunshine. The sleepy town couldn’t remember the last time it saw sunlight, thanks to the storms that lingered for days—far overstaying their welcome. It’s always been said that after drought comes the flood, but that hadn’t been the case until that fateful summer. Storm after storm ravaged the area, leaving nothing but destruction in their wake. This type of destruction was left behind in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi back in 2005. Hurricanes swept away nearly everything in areas of the Gulf Coast: homes, businesses,...
Posted On: March 25, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
After stressful and traumatic events, people can seek relief in a variety of ways--talking with friends and loved ones, seeking counseling from professionals, or even through petting and cuddling with animals. You may have heard the term “therapy dog” or “comfort dog” and thought they were the same thing. For people who work in this field, there’s actually a distinction between the two.Therapy dogs operate in non-emergency environments: think of a college library packed with stressed students during finals – an environment that is definitely tense, but...
Posted On: March 22, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Editor’s Note: Spoiler Alert! This post mentions plot points of some of the most popular movies this awards season. Our lawyers would prefer we didn’t name the films because of a little thing called copyright law, but it won’t take long to figure them out. “Lights, Camera, Action:” Famous words in showbiz. They’ll be saying them right before they begin broadcasting a super prestigious awards show that’s coming up.It’s peak awards season and this is the award everyone talks about—before movies come out, when they come out, after they...
Posted On: February 26, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
When disasters impact communities across the country, the people affected by them can lose anything and often lose everything. It's a trying time for many of them; who may not even have a home to go back to or a place to call their own.There can be multiple solutions to this problem. Some survivors can go stay with friends or family members. Some survivors are eligible to receive rental assistance. Some survivors are placed into manufactured housing units—when there’s no other place for them to go.I can hear the questions now."But, wait. Aren't you talking about those...
Posted On: February 16, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Picture this—a scene that could happen anywhere in the United States…The rain was coming down in sheets for what felt like the umpteenth straight day. People lost track of how long ago it started--it felt like it would never end.  The storm clouds that shrouded the town in a blanket of steely gray sadness looked like they hadn’t moved an inch.It rained. And rained. And rained some more.Tin roofs and windowpanes echoed with the sound of the raindrops. Flooded streets closed--and the landscape was dotted with fluorescent orange detour signs. The water had nowhere to go...
Posted On: January 28, 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