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Author: Nick Shufro
In my job leading the Risk Management Directorate within the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, I see the true impact of building codes and standards every day as my team works to improve resilience across the country. That’s why I’m so excited about May being National Building Safety Month, a time to reinforce the good work generations of planners, engineers, building code officials, and local advocates have put into protecting lives and communities across the country.After all, natural and man-made disasters can cause significant human suffering and billions in...
Posted On: May 25, 2018
Author: Ana G. Bolívar
Editor’s Note: Hurricane Maria changed the lives of many when it hit Puerto Rico in September 2017. Four survivors, now FEMA local hires, share their stories on how Hurricane Maria impacted their lives, and how they are making a difference in their community every day.They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I feel one word can actually carry enough meaning and emotion to transcend a single picture. In Puerto Rico during the past six months, Maria was that word, evoking both fear and bravery, despair and hope, destruction and resilience.Like many Puerto Ricans, my life changed on...
Posted On: May 11, 2018
Author: Anely Latalladi Ortega
Editor’s Note: Hurricane Maria changed the lives of many when it hit Puerto Rico in September 2017. Four survivors, now FEMA local hires, share their stories on how Hurricane Maria impacted their lives, and how they are making a difference in their community every day. As Hurricane Maria approached my home in Puerto Rico, this island where I was born, I was comforted that my two little girls and I would be safe. Our three-bedroom concrete house in Guayama, a five-minute drive from the closest beach on the southeast coast, was not in a flood zone. It had never flooded. I felt fortunate....
Posted On: May 1, 2018
Author: Geralyn M. Ryan
 Imagine you are a local official. Your county was struck by a Category 2 hurricane. Extensive flooding destroyed homes and wiped out crops. Now, you have to navigate the complex road to recovery.“I’m a one-person department in an agricultural county where 100 percent of the farms were damaged by Hurricane Irma,” said Janet Papinaw, grants writer for Hendry County, Florida. “Suddenly, I’m living in the world of acronyms.”After a disaster, communities and local governments are often forced to make decisions about a wide range of issues. The choices they...
Posted On: April 26, 2018
Author: Stephanie Boswell
Like many living in the Baton Rouge area, life-long Denham Springs resident Sherri Gill’s home had never flooded until August 2016. Rising water forced Gill and her family to evacuate to her brother’s home, and for an extended period of time, 27 people, 13 dogs and two cats lived in a three bedroom, two bath house. With no flood insurance the only option for the Gill family was to rebuild on their own – a job that quickly presented many challenges. “My brother and husband framed up the house and put up the roof, but my husband, Ken, fell off a ladder and...
Posted On: April 18, 2018
Author: Laura Duff
Before the first shovel hits the ground, any major public investment needs solid footing. Just ask local officials in Austin, Minnesota, where the groundwork for the city’s successful Flood Mitigation Program was laid decades ago.In this southern Minnesota community of 25,000 people, 2004 marked a turning point. That was the year a September storm caused the Cedar River to crest 10 feet above flood stage and damage costs surpassed $13 million. The floodwaters damaged more than 400 homes and affected more than 60 businesses, including a food manufacturing plant that employed nearly 2,000...
Posted On: March 27, 2018
Author: Brock Long
Today I released FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, not just to guide FEMA as an Agency as we lead the way to a more resilient nation, but to serve as a strategy and an anchor for the whole community.We cannot accomplish this by simply improving and expanding our programs and processes. We, as nation, must address some fundamental, cultural issues in order to become resilient. Resiliency is more than just strengthening our buildings and other infrastructure, it’s making sure that our citizens have the proper tools and skill sets to reduce the impact of future disasters.This isn...
Posted On: March 15, 2018
Author: Kirsten Roth
If there is one thing FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Branch Chiefs Karen Helbrecht, Michael Hillenburg and Anna Pudlo have in common, it’s their desire to build stronger communities through disaster preparedness and resilience collaboration.All three joined FEMA nearly 30 years ago, shortly after the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act was amended in 1988 to include funding for hazard mitigation.Initially, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program had funds appropriated from Congress with a budget of $200,000 that was used to educate communities on how...
Posted On: March 15, 2018
Author: Gelin Gil Roman
View in FEMA Multimedia LibraryWhen drivers from Estes trucking arrived in Puerto Rico, little did they know the disaster would change their lives. As if delivering life-saving commodities to devastated communities wasn’t hard enough, the team came face to face with a totally unexpected challenge: bringing hope and a sense of normality to displaced children.After witnessing the destruction left by Hurricane María, something inspired the crewmembers to go beyond their logistics assignments. Asking around for additional ways to help survivors, they learned that several children’s...
Posted On: March 9, 2018
Author: Renita Hosler
This year marks the 30-year anniversary since the Robert T. Stafford Act was amended to include funding for hazard mitigation grants as a way to help communities recover and rebuild after a Presidentially-declared disaster. In the last three decades, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs have expanded to three mitigation grant programs for pre-and post-disaster events and recently surpassed $15 billion in funding provided for state, local, tribal and territorial mitigation projects.  Communities across the nation are now more resilient, and that growth continues.  Over...
Posted On: March 6, 2018