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Author: Kaylyn Beck
Over the last two years I’ve spent a lot of time looking at weather forecasts (especially during hurricane season) because they’re pretty important to the work I do. Despite this, I had never thought much about the science behind predicting hurricanes or what it means to be a Hurricane Hunter pilot.Then I went to the Hurricane Awareness Tour stop in Washington, D.C., and had the opportunity to tour one of the aircraft that fly directly into storms and meet the brave souls who pilot them. Here’s what I learned, thanks to the expertise of Lt. Col. Drew Clark and Major Devon...
Posted On: June 1, 2017
Author: Jamy Lomento
"911, what’s your emergency?"If you've ever had to dial 911, the voice on the other end of the line provided some immediate reassurance; someone out there was ready to listen and provide assistance, regardless of the circumstances leading to the call.I'm also guessing that when you dialed those three digits, it didn’t matter how that call was routed, where the person on the other end was sitting, or how any of the technology behind that call was assembled. All that mattered was that someone, somewhere, picked up the phone and was ready to...
Posted On: May 26, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
While the title of this post harkens back to a song I first heard as a small child thanks to my mother’s impeccable taste in music, it’s also an accurate depiction of events across the country over the last few weeks.Wildfires have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres of forest across the Southeast and Plains. Rushing floodwaters and heavy rainfall have inundated areas of the Midwest—with little to no sign of relenting any time soon.One of the things that is notably out of the norm is the prevalence of fires in the Southeast.Out of the fourteen fire management assistance...
Posted On: May 18, 2017
Author: Caroline Strunk
When we think about the aftermath of a disaster, we often picture the devastating physical damage it leaves behind. Rows of homes underwater, roads turned into rivers, entire neighborhoods reduced to piles of rubble. The destruction caused by natural disasters, whether they come in the form of floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or wildfires, can be catastrophic.So it comes as no surprise, then, that we also tend to think of disaster recovery in terms of repairing the damage we can see – things like clearing debris and rebuilding homes and infrastructure. But there‘s also...
Posted On: May 11, 2017
Author: Rev. Jamie Johnson
The burning of a house of worship not only devastates the affected congregation, but wounds the entire community. Whether the motivation behind the arson is hate or reckless vandalism, a congregation views it as an attack on their beliefs and values.Arson can rob a congregation of its valuable assets, lives and property, and destroys more than just the buildings used as houses of worship. It can devastate a community, resulting in the decline of neighborhoods through increased insurance premiums, loss of business revenue, and a decrease in property values.The Department of Homeland Security...
Posted On: May 5, 2017
Author: Melissa Wiehenstroer
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Me? I check the weather. The forecast sets the tone for my day, helps me decide what to wear, and lets me know if I should grab my umbrella or my sunglasses on my way out the door.Weather affects our lives in so many ways and at FEMA we’re always paying close attention to the forecast.We rely on timely, accurate weather models and forecasts so we can prepare the right resources to respond to severe weather events. We encourage everyone to pay attention to the weather too, especially since severe weather often arrives...
Posted On: April 21, 2017
Author: Cassie Ringsdorf
Statistics certainly tell part of this story: $5 billion in damages, 53,000 people evacuated, a river 26 feet above flood stage, 95 percent of homes affected.But the voices of those who survived, responded, recovered, and ultimately built back East Grand Forks, Minnesota, give a much clearer picture of just how significant the 1997 flood was along the Red River of the North: Stephanie Larson, Homeowner, East Grand Forks, MinnesotaStephanie Larson, her husband and three young kids lived in Sherlock Park, an area that was underwater within hours after floodwaters started to invade the city...
Posted On: April 10, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
Back when I was in college, I did a lot of community service. One of my favorite and most memorable service projects was helping out at a roller skating event hosted by a local public library. I laced up a pair of skates and got rolling to help supervise the young skaters. It was essentially a perfect project for me; I’d loved skating growing up and hadn’t had an opportunity to do so in nearly a decade.Well, it turns out, when you get older your center of gravity shifts and things that were easy and fun when you were a kid suddenly turn into dangerous pastimes. I broke my wrist...
Posted On: April 7, 2017
Author: Raymond J. Piper
Memories can often be a casualty of natural disasters. Items we cherish, like photographs and other keepsakes, can be ruined by flood waters or destructive winds. However, there are ways to safeguard and even recover these items after a disaster—and we have a task force working on helping do just that.The Heritage Emergency National Task Force was formed in 1995, after the need for a partnership to help protect our nation’s cultural heritage was identified.Co-sponsored by FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution, the task force consists of 42 federal agencies and national service...
Posted On: April 3, 2017
Author: Jessica Stapf
As a kid, I had a jigsaw puzzle based on one of my favorite books. It wasn’t a standard puzzle at all. It was unique, my favorite, and thinking about it now, it most closely relates to my day-to-day job.Billed as a “family puzzle,” it was designed with larger pieces for kids and smaller pieces for adults—to keep it easy for younger kids and provide somewhat of a challenge for the adults. All of the pieces, a community of them, fit together and connect in the middle to make this big picture.  I’ve been thinking about this puzzle a lot as of late. Not solely...
Posted On: March 31, 2017