Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

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Google Tells Feds How To Get Emergency Info To The Top Of Search Results

Joseph Marks | Nextgov | June 4, 2013

Offering relevant information in open, machine-readable formats may be the most important thing government can do to keep the public informed during a natural disaster, Google and other technology leaders told members of Congress Tuesday. Read More »

How Open Government Is Helping With Hurricane Relief in Puerto Rico

Just weeks after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, two more "unprecedented" hurricanes made their way to the southeastern United States. Although changes in Hurricane Irma's path spared Florida from the bulk of the damage, both Irma and Maria directly hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hurricane Maria was particularly devastating for the more than 3.5 million American citizens living in these U.S. Caribbean territories. The CEO of Puerto Rico's sole electric company indicated that the grid had been "basically destroyed." Without electricity, communications were severely limited. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, embracing open government principles—such as open data, collaboration between citizens and government, and transparency—can save lives.

I'm A Hazmat-Trained Hospital Worker: Here's What No One Is Telling You About Ebola

Abby Norman | Huffington Post | October 17, 2014

Ebola is brilliant...All we can do is try to divert it, outrun it...

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It Takes Years To Fully Recover From Big Storms Like Sandy

The 2012 hurricane widely known as Superstorm Sandy left at least an estimated 325,000 New Jersey homes damaged or destroyed. Nearly seven years later, many of the New Jersey residents who have not fully recovered have to fend for themselves. The government funding has mostly dried up. Only two nonprofits that help survivors remain engaged...While researching the recovery efforts after Sandy, I have found that up to a third of the 2.5 million people who live in Keansburg, Belmar, Toms River and other places along the New Jersey coastline and back bays struck by the storm had not fully recovered from this disaster by October 2017 - five years later. Today, almost seven years after the storm, a lack of data and the patchwork of assistance programs make it difficult to fully assess what remains to be done.

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Laying The Foundation For Innovation Open Source Access

Staff Writer | PSFK | September 15, 2014

For innovation to really explode, we may have to rethink traditional ways of protecting proprietary information. Is it time to leverage the latent opportunities hidden in open datasets?...

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Natural Disasters Become Battlegrounds In Spectrum Fight

Josh Smith | Nextgov | October 31, 2012

While the government seeks to parcel out valuable spectrum to new technologies, TV and radio stations point to disasters like Sandy as proof that broadcasters are as important as ever. Read More »

Open Source for Humanitarian Action

Brandon Keim | Stanford Social Innovation Review | December 1, 2012

In the days following the Jan. 10, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, chaos prevailed. Transportation was limited, if not impossible. Lines of communication were broken. A few radio stations continued to broadcast, but the disaster’s scale was overwhelming. Only one form of mass communication remained relatively intact: cellular phones. Even before the disaster, there had been only 108,000 landbased telephone lines in the country, compared with 3.5 million mobile phones. After the earthquake, mobile communications, particularly text messages, were one of the few means by which people could report their needs and location...

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Open Source Resources for major Disaster & Emergency Management Situations

As everyone knows by now, the superstorm known as 'Hurricane Sandy' has caused considerable devastation across the East Coast of the United States and all the way up to the Great Lakes region. The effects of the storm will continue to be felt for days and weeks as major portions of the East Coast are without electricity and flooding is expected to continue for days. Under these circumstances, it seemed appropriate to put together a listing of open source applications that have been successfully used in emergencies and disaster recovery all over the world. In times of man-made crises or natural disasters, there is a range of organizations, websites, open source tools, mobile apps, and more that might be of use to first responders and citizens in general. Check out some of the following resources...

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Puerto Rico’s Double Whammy: Irma and Hedge Funds

David Dayen | The American Prospect | September 8, 2017

Irma, the largest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, has proven cruelly fickle as it surges through the Caribbean. The Category Five storm “hit like a bomb” on the small islands of Barbuda and St. Martin, destroying up to 95 percent of the structures and rendering the areas “barely habitable.” But Irma stayed north of Puerto Rico, sparing the island from the worst. That’s not to say that Puerto Rico didn’t sustain damage...

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Scientist at Work: Measuring Public Health Impacts after a Disaster

More than two months after Hurricane Harvey submerged much of metropolitan Houston, recovery is under way across the city. Residents and volunteers are gutting and restoring flooded homes. Government agencies and nonprofit organizations are announcing cleanup programs and developing plans to distribute relief funds. But many questions remain about impacts on public health. What contaminants did floodwaters leave behind? How many people are being exposed to mold – which can grow rapidly in damp, humid conditions – as they repair their homes? Will there be an increase in Zika, West Nile or other vector-borne diseases as mosquito populations recover? Or an uptick in reported cases of other illnesses?...

Social Engagement Shouldn't Wait Until After A Crisis Hits

Joseph Marks | Nextgov | July 9, 2013

One of the greatest challenges social media emergency managers face is that the public isn’t very interested in hearing from them unless and until a disaster strikes, they told lawmakers on Tuesday. Read More »

The Biggest Threat To The Economy Could Come From Outer Space

Niraj Chokshi | Nextgov | June 12, 2013

Imagine waking up just after midnight to a sky so bright you swear it must be early morning. Imagine seeing the Northern Lights as far south as Cuba or Hawaii. Imagine that the same phenomena behind both has also generated electric fields in the ground strong enough to power small electronics. That's what happened in 1859, when the earth was struck by the most severe geomagnetic storm ever recorded. Read More »

The Government’s Hurricane Sandy Pages Play By Play

Joseph Marks | Nextgov | June 4, 2013

With its satellites, scanners and links to local officials, the federal government is often the best source for trusted information during a hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster. Read More »

The Really Big One

Kathryn Schulz | The New Yorker | July 20, 2016

An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when. Most people in the United States know just one fault line by name: the San Andreas, which runs nearly the length of California and is perpetually rumored to be on the verge of unleashing “the big one.” That rumor is misleading, no matter what the San Andreas ever does...Just north of the San Andreas, however, lies another fault line. Known as the Cascadia subduction zone, it runs for seven hundred miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, beginning near Cape Mendocino, California, continuing along Oregon and Washington, and terminating around Vancouver Island, Canada. The “Cascadia” part of its name comes from the Cascade Range, a chain of volcanic mountains that follow the same course a hundred or so miles inland...

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The Secret History of FEMA

Garrett M. Graff | Wired | September 3, 2017

FEMA gets no respect. Consider: The two men who are supposed to be helping run the federal government’s disaster response agency had a pretty quiet late August. Even as a once-in-a-thousand-year storm barreled into Houston, these two veterans of disaster response—Daniel A. Craig and Daniel J. Kaniewski—found themselves sitting on their hands. Both had been nominated as deputy administrators in July, but Congress went on its long August recess without taking action on either selection—despite the fact that both are eminently qualified for the jobs.

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