Oakland, CA – This year, Guam welcomed two employees of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to work directly with Guam Homeland Security – Office of Civil Defense (GHS-OCD). The FEMA staff form one of 25 FEMA Integration Teams (FIT) that work in territorial and state emergency management offices to address needs and challenges. The structure of each FIT is determined through discussions between FEMA and individual states or territories and varies according to local needs.
The Guam FIT consists of Lori Willess and Chuck Ada, two individuals with deep ties to the island and extensive careers in public service. Lori was born and raised on Guam and worked for GHS-OCD before transferring to FEMA in Honolulu, HI, where she led mitigation efforts across the Pacific. She returned home to assume the role of FIT Lead, where she focuses on grants, mitigation, and preparedness. Chuck was also born and raised on Guam, where he previously served as Executive Manager for the Guam International Airport Authority for seven years. In total, Chuck has worked eighteen years in emergency management, nine of which as the Administrator for GHS-OCD. Chuck is an operational planner that works on catastrophic planning, logistics, and preparing for response and recovery efforts. Both serve as senior advisors to GHS-OCD on FEMA programs and represent FEMA at senior-level meetings with the territorial government and other federal agencies.
“FIT members fill a critical gap in the FEMA service model. By being on the ground year-round, FIT members engage with partners in unprecedented ways – especially in Guam’s case, where they help overcome the challenges of being thousands of miles from the rest of FEMA’s resources,” said FEMA Region IX Administrator Robert Fenton. “FIT members have assessed Guam’s emergency management needs, and are able to conduct in-person trainings, facilitate meetings that close capability gaps, and maintain situational awareness before, during, and after disasters.”
FITs are currently in the second stage of rollout and the program will be fully implemented to states and territories by 2020.