FEMA Related Content

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Since 2004, Washington State Homeland Security Region 9 has prioritized investments in interoperable radio communications for all first responders, regardless of discipline. Regional partners collaborated to establish an interoperable communications system with increased coverage that has improved incident response across all levels of government for the region.

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Washington State’s Pacific coast faces the threat of large-scale earthquakes and tsunamis. To mitigate the risk, Washington is providing technical assistance to cities, counties, and tribes for construction of the Nation’s first vertical evacuation structures capable of withstanding 9.0+ magnitude earthquakes and 30-foot waves. The project provides residents and visitors in coastal population centers a means of seeking safety without having to travel considerable distance to natural high ground.

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The Seattle Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) established Northwest Regional Aviation (NWRA)—an aviation consortium that protects the Puget Sound area from terrorism and responds to large-scale disasters. The NWRA saved 12 survivors during the first three hours of the Snohomish County mudslide on March 22, 2014.

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Over 18 years, the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission (SETRPC) implemented an interoperable 800-megahertz (MHz) radio system. During Hurricane Harvey, local communities maintained clear and consistent communication as a result of these radio system improvements, even though floodwaters physically isolated them.

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During Hurricane Harvey, flooding at the Arkema Chemical Plant caused trailers to leak dangerous chemicals. The Houston Police Department used a helicopter equipped with night vision video capabilities and data downlink software to reveal an unstable condition as chemicals began to react. This provided first responders real-time, detailed visual information that possibly saved the lives of sixteen responders who would have otherwise entered a dangerous situation.

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The City of Houston, Harris County and Montgomery County built a fully interoperable emergency management communication network. Montgomery County’s network was built independently of the Houston/Harris County network, and all three governments coordinated to ensure that networks were interoperable and continue to rely on one another for increased operational effectiveness.

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This Texas-funded innovative program trains jurisdictions to address disaster-related financial topics such as how to track time and labor, overtime charges, and travel cost processing. Local jurisdictions reported better capabilities in handling Hurricane Harvey- related finances after completing the training.

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Oklahoma developed two programs—Safe Schools 101 and the Oklahoma School Security Institute (OSSI)—to protect students from natural and manmade hazards. Together, these programs protect schools from the dangers of tornadoes and enhance school security and response plans.

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Oklahoma created the Regional Response System (RRS)—a collection of specialized units and equipment—to provide all-hazards response throughout the state within two hours of an incident. RRS units have responded to dozens of incidents, including the May 20, 2013 tornado near Oklahoma City.

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New York City (NYC) began monitoring individuals returning from countries affected by Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the fall of 2014, in response to a directive from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Using almost $1.7 million in Public Health Emergency Preparedness funds (including the EVD suplemental) and $3.5 million in Urban Areas Security Initiative funds, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) quickly adapted existing structures to stand up an active monitoring system.

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