emergency management

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Crisis Communication: Saving Time and Lives in Disasters through Smarter Social Media

As the worst bushfires seen for generations in New South Wales raged across the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and the Central Coast two years ago, people urgently needed fast, reliable information – and many turned to their phones to get it. The NSW Rural Fire Service was prepared with a smartphone app, Fires Near Me, which was downloaded almost 200,000 times. At the height of the fires, its Facebook page was recording more than a million views an hour. A social media campaign also helped the NSW Rural Fire Service Facebook community more than double from 120,000 to 280,000, while its Twitter reach jumped from 20,000 to 37,000 followers. Crucially, this helped to alert people to danger areas and places to avoid driving near...

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Engaging Citizens the Right Way: Government Uses Twitter During Hurricane Irene

Paul Greenburg | ZD Net | September 12, 2011

For the last several years there has been a lot of discussion about the use of web based social media for the engagement of citizens. Nowhere has this discussion been more active and persistent, nor more important, than in what I will call broadly the emergency preparedness and response (EPR) community. Read More »

FEMA Chief Brock Long Calls Harvey a "Wake-up Call" for State, Local Officials

Emily Tillett | CBS News | September 3, 2017

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long called Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey a "wake-up call" for state and local officials when it comes to budgets. "It is a wake-up call for this country for local and state elected officials to give their governors and their emergency management directors, you know, the full budgets that they need to be fully staffed, to design rainy day funds, to have your own standalone individual assistance and public assistance programs," Long said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday...

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FEMA Was Overwhelmed by Hurricanes and Wildfires in 2017, GAO Says

Erin Ailworth | Wall Street Journal | September 4, 2018

The back-to-back devastation of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, followed by catastrophic wildfires in California, overwhelmed federal disaster responders in 2017, according to a government report released Tuesday. The unprecedented sequence of storms and fires forced Federal Emergency Management Agency staff to jump from one disaster to another and in some cases use uncertified workers to fill key roles. “They were 30% understaffed when Harvey hit,” said Chris Currie, director of emergency management issues at the Government Accountability Office, which wrote Tuesday’s report. “By the time Maria hit Puerto Rico, they were down to the bottom of the barrel.”

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From Coding To Tangible Results: FEMA’s First Open Data Town Hall

Jason Lindesmith | FEMA | April 11, 2014

The approach to FEMA’s first-ever Data Town Hall was refreshing because our OpenFEMA team harked just as much about project management and results as they did about getting creative when using FEMA’s data. The attendees were asked to break into five challenge tracks: GIS, Disaster Assistance Assessment Dashboard, Accessibility, API and Fire Viz; each with a specific project and private sector team lead.

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GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health releases report on deaths due to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and outlines steps to protect the most vulnerable communities from disasters

Press Release | GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health | August 28, 2018

In an independent report published today, researchers at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GW Milken Institute SPH) estimated there were 2,975 excess deaths in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria from September 2017 through the end of February 2018. The researchers also identified gaps in the death certification and public communication processes and went on to make recommendations that will help prepare Puerto Rico for future hurricanes and other natural disasters.

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New Report Finds Nation's Public Health Emergencies Are Increasing While State Emergency Preparedness Levels face Challenges

Press Release | Trust for America’s Health | February 12, 2019

The report takes an annual snapshot of states' public health and emergency readiness. Authored by TFAH since 2003, it...highlights pressing needs for additional action particularly as weather- related and other public health emergencies become more frequent...It identifies specific action-steps that if taken would improve the jurisdiction's overall level of emergency preparedness, including dedicated funding for health security initiatives, modernizing and supporting technologies and innovations within public health programs, and building multisectoral collaboration and leadership.

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Ready or Not: New Report on Protecting the Public's Health

The Trust for America's Health (TFAH) released its 2019 edition of what it hopes will be an annual report, Ready or Not: Protecting the Public's Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism last February. The ground-breaking report warns about key global challenges ahead, like the risk of a flu pandemic; the impact of weather pattern changes due to climate change; the dangers of antimicrobial resistance, and others, and tries to offer advice on how to prepare for them.

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Ushahidi - An Open Source Disaster & Crisis Management Mapping Tool

Ushahidi is a non-profit technology company specializing in developing open source software (OSS) for information collection, visualization, communications, and mapping. The core platform is built on the premise that gathering crisis information from the general public provides new insights into events happening in near real-time. It can also be used to help organizations marshal efforts to assist areas facing manmade or natural disasters that are not well covered in the mainstream media.

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Washington State’s Plan for Megaquake ‘Grossly Inadequate,’ Review Finds

Sandi Doughton and Daniel Gilbert | The Seattle Times | October 23, 2016

The largest disaster drill ever conducted in the Pacific Northwest found that, despite decades of warnings, the region remains dangerously unprepared to deal with a Cascadia megaquake and tsunami. During the four-day “Cascadia Rising” exercise in June, 23,000 participants grappled with a hypothetical catastrophe that knocked out power, roads and communications and left communities battered, isolated — and with no hope of quick relief...

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What Puerto Rico’s Death Toll from Hurricane Maria Really Tells Us

Nicolette Louissaint | The Hill | September 7, 2018

The recently released report from the Milken Institute is perhaps the strongest rebuke to date on the impact of Hurricane Maria during the 2017 hurricane season. The report notes nearly 3,000 people have died in Puerto Rico because of the storm. These numbers provide a more accurate depiction of the devastation and lives lost in Puerto Rico. While sad and troubling, it is important to call out that these updated numbers do not even account for the death toll in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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