FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate Encourages Americans to Resolve to Be Ready in 2011

30 12 2010

In FEMA News Release HQ-10-230, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate notes that “a New Year’s resolution to be prepared for emergencies is simple – and could save lives.”  The News Release, published on December 30, 2011, is found below:

With the new year fast approaching, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is encouraging all Americans to make emergency preparedness one of their New Year’s resolutions for the coming year.  Resolve to be Ready in 2011 is a nationwide effort to urge individuals, families, businesses and communities to focus on being ready and aware of all the hazards that exist in their communities.

 “Emergencies can happen at anytime, anywhere,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.  “They can range from natural disasters such as snowstorms or flooding, to events such as power outages.  The key to successful emergency response, regardless of the nature of the event, is personal preparedness.  As we ring in 2011, make a resolution to be prepared through a few simple steps: get an emergency supply kit, make an emergency plan and be informed of the hazards in your area.”

Resolve to be Ready in 2011 is one resolution anyone can keep thanks to the tools and resources available at www.Ready.gov or the Spanish language site, www.Listo.gov.  These sites include important information such as how to put together a kit, make a plan and stay informed.

Throughout this holiday season, FEMA leadership across the country has been encouraging citizens to Resolve to be Ready in 2011.  Among other things, they have written op-eds in The Tennessean, Everett Daily Herald, Oregon Live, Los Angeles Daily News, Southeast Missourian and Boston Herald encourage readers to take the simple steps to be prepared.

Resolve to be Ready in 2011 is led by FEMA’s Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council.  For more information on the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, visit Ready.gov and CitizenCorps.gov.

Follow FEMA online at www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, blog.fema.gov, and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow 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.

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Blood Drives Scheduled For Critically Injured Fort Bend County Deputy

28 12 2010

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office is holding a blood drive for Deputy John Norsworthy from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. tomorrow, Dec. 29, at the Sheriff’s Office, 1410 Williams Way Blvd. in Richmond.  Norsworthy was in a serious car accident while on duty last night, and remains in critical condition.

He has already used approximately 48-units of blood and doctors are having a difficult time finding the source of his bleeding.   Fort Bend County Road & Bridge is having a Blood Drive today from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. at 201 Payne Lane, Richmond, just off of F.M. 762.  For more information on that drive, call 281-342-4513.

Anyone 17 years of age and older is asked to help support Norsworthy. Norsworthy’s blood type is O – but it doesn’t matter what blood type the donor is.  Anyone and everyone that can are asked to donate.  If you donate blook at any other location than the ones discussed in this article, please provide them with John Norsworthy’s date of birth of 5/17/1971 so he can receive credit for the donation.

The accident occurred around 7 p.m. Monday at FM 762 at Benton Road. According to reports from the scene, Norsworthy was trapped beneath his overturned patrol cars. Richmond firefighters used inflatable rescue bags to lift the car off the deputy Norsworthy was flighted to Memorial Hermann in the Medical Center where he remains in serious condition with head injuries and internal bleeding.  

As of early this morning he was responding to medications and is undergoing a second surgery for the bleeding.

Anyone can help by donating blood under his name at any Gulf Coast Blood Center (plus his date of birth noted above).

Deputy Norsworthy started with the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office in November 2008.  Prior to working at the County,  he was a Patrol Officer for Rosenberg Police Department.  He has a wife, Melissa, and two kids, Katie and Jacob.





Interoperability Is a Cultural Problem

21 12 2010

This is an interesting opinion piece written by Jim McKay published in Emergency Management magazine:

[Homeland Security and emergency management publications have] written extensively about interoperability, mostly about the nuts and bolts of a system being deployed and the grant process that allowed said deployment to happen.   If there’s collaboration among the agencies or jurisdictions involved, we jump all over it, because that’s the name of the game these days.

A common refrain years ago was that agency or jurisdiction A couldn’t communicate with agency or jurisdiction B — or even within its own agency or jurisdiction. That was said to be an operability problem — not an interoperability problem.   Billions of dollars have been spent on interoperability since 9/11 and genuine progress has been made, but it seems that emergency managers view interoperability as something still to be attained.

For the most part, if agency A wants to talk to agency B, it can be achieved; the technology to facilitate this is available. And still interoperability is a problem. We heard so at a recent round-table discussion involving several emergency managers.

Everybody at the table agreed: It’s a cultural problem.   Agency A doesn’t talk to agency B because the two aren’t really familiar with each other — or maybe they just don’t want to talk.

“Everybody talks about the quantifiable parts of interoperability — the money, the hardware — but not enough about the behavior part of it,” one emergency manager said. “How much effort is being put into the cultural aspect of it?”

Even where there’s a new, multimillion-dollar system, agency personnel revert to previous behavior. “Everything happens the way it did before, even after getting this new system,” another emergency manager said. “The police guy calls the dispatcher and he calls the fire guy; they still talk in silos. Unless we address this behavior, we’ll have a $100 million doorstop.”

There’s also the issue of language. We know different jurisdictions and agencies use different codes to communicate. Coming up with a common language has to be the first part of the cultural change, said an emergency manager.   And emergency managers can play key roles in this quest by hosting planning calls and conference calls — getting people to communicate regularly.   “The best thing to do is have commanders sit next to each other in the operations centers.”

Another thing about interoperability that people stub their toes on is the notion that everyone must be able to talk to everyone, one participant said. “Everybody on the ground doesn’t have to talk to each other. When you bring people from other jurisdictions, you can plug people into your system. That to me is true interoperability.”

I wonder if in 10 years we’ll still be writing about interoperability as we do today — that it’s something that’s desired but still needs to be attained. Or will agencies and local governments move outside of their comfort zones and take advantage of the technology that’s readily available — will they open the dialog with their neighbors, making interoperability yesterday’s news?





Top 50 Risk Management Blogs

17 12 2010

The Masters in Risk Management Blog “strives to provide readers with the best information about risk management degrees,” career opportunities, and other risk management information.  On December 10th, the Blog posted its subjective list of the “Top 50 Risk Management Blogs.”  This blog, Jeff Braun’s Emergency Management Blog, was mentioned as being one of the top 50 blogs, especially in the area of disaster risk management.  To see, the entire list:

http://www.mastersinriskmanagement.org/top-50-risk-management-blogs.html#more-28





Information about the 2011 Texas Emergency Management Conference

2 12 2010

Now is the time to block out your calendar for an important event.  Information is now available about the next Texas Emergency Management Conference to be held in 2011.  The 2011 Texas Emergency Management Conference will be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio April 26-29. The conference is sponsored by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety.

Next year’s conference will combine the presentations and workshops for the Texas Hurricane Conference and the Texas Homeland Security Conference in one premier event. 

Representatives of more than 30 agencies on the Governor’s Emergency Management Council will attend, along with public officials from the local, state and national governments, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, Texas Military Forces, voluntary organizations and private sector partners. Officials from higher education, public education, health and medical care, border security and port security, transportation and cyber security also will attend.

*Updated information about the conference will be posted at:

http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/conference/txEmerMgmtConf.htm

*For registration information, please contact: Amanda Rick, (512) 424-2450 

*For exhibitor information, please contact: Scott Sutherland, (512) 424-7197





1 12 2010