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Posts tagged ‘FEMA’

Emergency Preparedness: It’s Not Just for First Responders

Last year we had 45 ‘Major Disaster Declarations’ in the U.S. according to FEMA. Sure the number fluctuates each year, but the reality is you can’t predict when or where an emergency is going to hit a community. And it doesn’t matter which part of the country you live in. Maybe you don’t live in a region where you’ll ever experience a hurricane or a tornado, but flooding is the #1 natural disaster in the U.S and all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods according to Floodsmart.gov.

With this information alone, it makes sense for states, cities, and counties to have a plan should a disaster strike, right? Many government organizations do have a plan that includes addressing the safety of the public and responding to the immediate need. All things that are extremely important when confronted with an emergency. But what about the after-math? What about the months or years of recovering and rebuilding? Or the resources and manpower to make all this happen? And the budget; how do you allocate funds to cover costs? Being prepared isn’t just about the initial response to an emergency, but should include what it takes to track the recovery efforts and maximize reimbursements from funding agencies.

Labor costs are a large operational expense for any government budget, but throw in an emergency and now these costs grow exponentially. Once an emergency moves to a FEMA declared disaster, now the pressure is on to track every penny of what is spent on clean-up and recovery efforts. FEMA has some pretty strict requirements for labor costs associated with emergency work under Recover Policy 9525.7. What if government agencies accounted for this level of tracking ahead of a disaster by identifying efficient labor tracking methods in their emergency preparedness documents?

Take what the City of Houston did for example. The city put together a Finance Disaster Recover Manual back in 2013. So when the floods hit Houston back in May and Harris County was FEMA approved for Federal Disaster relief funding, you can bet they pulled up their recovery manual and began tracking according to their pre-laid plans. All duties associated with recovery will be coded and tracked to get as much funding from various agencies as possible.

Although a municipality may never recoup all money spent, there is no excuse for leaving money “on the table”. Tracking with paper or spreadsheets leaves governments open to a loss of funds due to inadequate tracking, miscalculations, and delays in report gathering. Prepare your organization to not only recover safely through an emergency, but also financially.

The current extreme weather conditions are dangerous; yet public safety is always ready

Today’s post is written by Marie Salcedo, Marketing Manager for Public Safety at Kronos. Marie spends a great deal of time working with the public safety community and has high esteem for their day-to-day jobs. You’ll see this admiration reflected in the blog below.
During this time of year, I am always grateful for the specialized way that public safety operates and staffs its workforce to serve the community. The weather events occurring during this winter season are extreme. In fact, there were five weather related FEMA-declared disasters in the month of January alone. Temperatures are plummeting to unprecedented levels, breaking records across the U.S. and Canada, and bringing along heavy snowfall, rainfall, ice, gusty winds, and blizzards. But it’s not just extreme cold that’s occurring this winter, but also dry weather in some areas that are lacking normal rainfall and snowfall – leading to wildfires. Without a doubt, the weather this winter has been wild and erratic placing first responders in high demand.
For public safety, this extreme weather means one thing – danger. And the danger can last for several days, depending on the event. Whether it’s a superstorm or the unusually dry/warm weather out west, certain emergencies increase during winter time such as house fires due to improper or unsupervised heating sources, car/transportation accidents related to poor driving conditions, roof collapses from heavy loads of snow, as well as hypothermia and exhaustion caused by the extremely cold temperatures.
Given the number of emergency events that can happen during this time of year, first responders must be trained and ready to respond to just about anything. And thankfully they are. The fact that fire and police departments maintain the appropriate number of firefighters and police officers needed at all times to be able to serve the community depending on the nature of incident is vital to preservation protecting life and property. To know that firefighters certified in structural collapse are on duty should a roof give way to heavy snowfall or police officers certified in traffic safety procedures and first aid care are on patrol during icy driving conditions should give us great peace of mind, especially in light of all of the types of incidents that can occur during the wintertime.
Whether winter, summer, or fall, it seems that the extreme and volatile weather is the new normal. In light of this, I’m grateful that public safety agencies and first responders are ready for worst case situations with proven processes and specially trained personnel 24/7/365.