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Author: Adoratia Purdy
Across the United States, there are traditions that hold a timeless place in our culture: fireworks on the 4th of July; Thanksgiving Day turkey (and football); solemn remembrances for 9/11 and Pearl Harbor; and many others. These traditions speak both to what we value most and to the importance of safeguarding the values we share. The same holds true for the 58th Presidential Inauguration, the peaceful transfer of power from one President to another, and the Women’s March on Washington, a peaceful demonstration of 1st Amendment rights that has roots in marches throughout American...
Posted On: January 31, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
I’ve never been shy about saying that I hate winter. I hate it with a fiery passion that could melt all the ice and snow in the Alaskan tundra. I hate everything about it. The cold, the wind, the salt, the ice. All of it.I’ve never liked it. Not even when I was a kid. I grew up in upstate New York, on the eastern side of the state (read as: not Buffalo) so it snows, but not as much in other places. But a snowflake is a snowflake and they’re all terrible if you ask me.When I think of snow, I don’t think of pretty, picturesque scenes. I always think of the leftovers. The...
Posted On: January 13, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
Scrolling casually through my Twitter feed during the last week of December and first week of January is always the same—filled with “year in review” pieces. Prolific publications, government agencies, popular bloggers, even my friends and family members. Everyone has one.Somehow, we all end up waxing nostalgic about the year that was. Maybe it’s because during the holidays most offices are a little emptier, and we end up with a little more time to fill with some reflection. Maybe it’s the eggnog.And here we are, one more year done and over with. I find myself,...
Posted On: January 9, 2017
Author: Roy Wright
Most Americans with homes have homeowners’ insurance. We buy it to protect ourselves in the unlikely event that something big, bad and expensive happens to our house or property. We buy it every year for peace of mind, even though we hope not to experience a loss.Similarly, FEMA is now using reinsurance to protect the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) against large and uncertain costs of extreme flooding events. Reinsurance is an important risk management tool used by insurance companies and public entities to protect themselves from large financial losses. In other words,...
Posted On: January 3, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
Merriam-Webster, widely known to be my dictionary of choice, defines nostalgia as "a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition." Or more simply, "the state of being homesick."1This time of year—the “holiday season”­­—brings about a nearly nauseating degree of nostalgia. For when we were kids, for our hometowns, for traditions our grandparents started or upheld. That kind of nostalgia.This time of year also brings about a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings. You know, those happy,...
Posted On: December 22, 2016
Author: Kaylyn Beck
2016 was both a challenging and rewarding year for us. We responded to fires, floods, and hurricanes, and practiced responding to a massive (hypothetical) west coast earthquake.Our search and rescue teams accomplished countless rescues where they pulled people and pets to safety while our disaster survivor assistance teams went door-to-door, meeting with people in person and hearing fascinating stories along the way.As the year comes to a close, we wanted share some of our favorite photos that highlight key moments in the lifecycle of a disaster, showcase the strength of survivors, and...
Posted On: December 14, 2016
Author: Raymond Sayre
When I first asked the Emergency Management Institute at the National Emergency Training Center to consider hosting an international version of its Integrated Emergency Management Course, for all the border counties of Arizona as well as Sonora, Mexico, I knew it would certainly be a departure from any other version of the class from the recent past.From the start I was guided by some very savvy and experienced people from the Emergency Management Institute. Sabrina Bateman and Douglas Kahn came out to Santa Cruz County, Arizona, and I asked my neighboring emergency management counterparts...
Posted On: December 13, 2016
Author: Melissa Wiehenstroer
I’m not ashamed to admit it. Remember the movie with the ragtag team of oil drillers who save the planet from a Texas-sized asteroid? I loved it. Sure, it was an absurd premise, but it made for a great action flick.Hollywood certainly dramatizes the threat of an asteroid impact, but some asteroids are, in fact, potentially hazardous to Earth. Therefore, at FEMA we have to be prepared to respond to them just like any other natural or man-made hazard.An asteroid impact is not a scenario emergency managers are used to dealing with.  They’re more used to things like hurricanes,...
Posted On: November 28, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
A famous late-night television host takes part of his show on Friday nights to write out his weekly thank you notes—complete with some “thank you note writing music.” It’s part of his routine and essentially a tradition. When I still lived with my family in New York, one of my own traditions was watching that skit with my brother every week.It appeals to me because I’ve also always been quite fond of the tradition of a handwritten thank you note. There’s something about writing one that makes me feel like I’m showing just a little bit of extra...
Posted On: November 22, 2016
Author: Jocelyn Augustino
As much as a natural disaster can physically tear a community apart, Mother Nature cannot strip away the resilience, perseverance, and hope that surrounds a community following her devastating wrath.As a photographer for FEMA, I have had the unique opportunity to document her fury firsthand on many occasions over the span of twenty-one years as a disaster reservist.On a recent visit to Kinston, North Carolina, while documenting Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts, I stumbled upon the Neuseway Nature Center. I was reminded of the scope of people, places, and surprisingly, the small creatures,...
Posted On: November 4, 2016