Don’t think of it as the government but as your ‘federal family’by George Bennett | August 31st, 2011
Here’s the headline on a Tuesday news release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that landed in the PostOnPolitics.com inbox:
“FEDERAL FAMILY CONTINUES TO SUPPORT RESPONSE AND RECOVERY EFFORTS IN COMMUNTIES [sic] IMPACTED BY IRENE”
According to the FEMA release, “Under the direction of President Obama and Secretary Janet Napolitano, the entire federal family is continuing to lean forward to support our state, tribal, territorial and local partners as they respond to and begin to recover from Hurricane Irene….”
Read the whole thing after the jump…
News release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency:
August 30, 2011
FEMA News Desk: 202-xxx-xxxx
FEDERAL FAMILY CONTINUES TO SUPPORT RESPONSE AND RECOVERY EFFORTS IN COMMUNTIES IMPACTED BY IRENE
Today, Administration Officials Will Travel to Affected States to Assess Damages, Meet with State and Local Officials, and Families
WASHINGTON – Under the direction of President Obama and Secretary Janet Napolitano, the entire federal family is continuing to lean forward to support our state, tribal, territorial and local partners as they respond to and begin to recover from Hurricane Irene.
Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack will be joining federal, state and local partners in North Carolina and Virginia to tour disaster areas, meet with disaster survivors and receive an update on ongoing response and recovery efforts. Also, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate will join federal, state and local partners in Vermont, and FEMA Deputy Administrator will be in Connecticut, to tour disaster areas, and plans to travel to New Jersey later today. Tomorrow, Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate will travel to New York and New Jersey to view damages there.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this storm, and we continue to thank the countless efforts of neighbors, first responders, volunteers and so many others who prepared for this storm and who have been on the frontlines of this response, saving lives,” said Administrator Fugate. “At President Obama’s direction, we’ll be on the ground in the hardest hit states over the next few days to meet with our state and local partners and get a firsthand sense of the scope of the damages, which will help us determine the level of additional federal support that may be needed. We will continue to work with the entire emergency management team to help support these states and residents as they rebuild.”
The President has signed emergency declarations for the states of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, making available federal support to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety. Federal and state personnel are now working together to conduct or schedule preliminary damage assessments in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Maine. These assessments are designed to give the governor of each state a better picture of damages, and to determine if a request for further federal support is needed.
Through its regional offices up and down the East Coast, FEMA has been in constant contact with the governors and their emergency management teams in all of the impacted states and remains in constant coordination. Days before Irene made landfall, FEMA had pre-positioned 18 Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) along the coast to coordinate with state, tribal and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls affecting potential disaster response and recovery. Additionally, Mobile Emergency Response System (MERS) assets are strategically located in disaster affected areas to support emergency response communications needs. Three national urban search and rescue (US&R) teams are assisting in search and rescue. These teams include US&R Massachusetts Task Force 1 (MA TF-1), which is assisting the state of Vermont with search and rescue operations, and Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PA TF-1) and Ohio Task Force 1 (OH-TF1), which are assisting the state of New York with search and rescue.
Upon request of the state of Vermont, a federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team, an HHS team comprised of medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, paramedics and pharmacists, is en route to the storm affected area to support the state by providing emergency health and medical support to medical facilities such as hospitals and health centers. Additionally, in response to the state’s request, FEMA is establishing a staging area at Camp Johnson (Colchester, Vt.) to support federal response operations. The staging area allows FEMA and federal partners to proactively stage commodities closer to areas affected by severe weather, allowing supplies to be quickly moved throughout affected states, should they be needed and requested.
FEMA, coordinating with the Department of Defense, has designated Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Westover Army Reserve Base in Massachusetts and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Dix in New Jersey as Incident Support Bases to support federal operations to support states’ responses to Irene. FEMA and federal partners use these bases to stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing us to quickly move needed supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested. FEMA has provided more than 240,000 liters of bottled water and 168,000 meals to Massachusetts, if needed. This is part of a total of more than 1.1 million liters of bottled water and 927,000 meals, pre-staged, in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and more than 1.6 million meals and more than 1.6 million liters of water already positioned in Fort Bragg, NC. Additional commodities can be mobilized from federal partner agencies such as Defense Logistics Agency and other sources, if required.
Emergency shelters remain open, in coordination among states, localities and the Red Cross, along the path of the storm to New England to provide shelter to residents who have evacuated. As of last night, there were more than 307 shelters open, across 14 states and Puerto Rico. The Red Cross is providing shelter information for residents who need to know where to go.
As of last night, there were 4.6 million people along the eastern seaboard without power. FEMA and our partners urge residents to be safe while the power is out. Be careful when using candles. Keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of the reach of children.
There are many areas where inland flooding may yet occur or worsen, don’t put yourself at risk; follow the instructions of local officials. Everyone should get familiar with the terms that are used to identify a flooding hazard and discuss with your family what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued. For more tips on how to protect your homes or families before, during and after a flood, visit www.ready.gov. Terms used to describe a flooding hazard include the following:
• Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information
• Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
• Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
• Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
FEMA, through its regional office in Atlanta, is also monitoring the track of Tropical Storm Katia in the eastern Atlantic. It is still too early to know whether the track will affect the Unites States mainland or territories in the Caribbean, but this is another reminder that we are still in a very active hurricane season. Even as we continue supporting states as recovery efforts get underway for Irene, we also need to be ready for the next disaster. FEMA encourages everyone, regardless of where they live, to take steps to ensure their families, homes and businesses are prepared for a possible emergency. Visit www.Ready.gov to learn how.
As a reminder, the month of September is designated as National Preparedness Month (NPM). This serves as an opportunity to encourage Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. Individuals and families can learn about events and activities, and groups can register to become a NPM Coalition Member by visiting http://community.fema.gov. NPM is sponsored by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and The Ad Council.
Follow FEMA online at http://blog.fema.gov, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate’s activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.
The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.