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Stories Added - April 2009
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FEMA discusses plans for 2009 hurricane season in Austin
Polk County Enterprise - April 2009
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Nancy Ward Wednesday highlighted plans FEMA has implemented to prepare for the 2009 Hurricane Season during her address at the 31st Annual National Hurricane Conference. This year’s annual conference, which is being held this week in Austin, is expected to draw more than a thousand federal, state and local offi cials, emergency managers, voluntary agency representatives, engineers, planners, media, meteorologists and other response, recovery and hazard mitigation professionals.In her speech, Acting Administrator Ward discussed reforms and improvements in the areas of preparedness and training, logistical management, communications, disaster operations, recovery, and mitigation. She highlighted the fact that FEMA now has 236 pre-scripted mission assignments with 29 different departments and agencies to expedite disaster response. She added that the agency continues to provide regional evacuation planning support to hurricane prone states. Ward stressed how critical federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local relationships are to successful disaster response. “If we do not plan together, train together and develop policies and procedures together, from the start, we as an emergency management community will never be as effective as we should be,” Ward said. “FEMA Administrator Nominee, Craig Fugate, like DHS Secretary Napolitano, recognizes just how critical this is and knows that we need to continue to improve and expand our lines of communication and engagement.” Another key focus for Mrs. Ward was the importance of public information this hurricane season. She highlighted FEMA’s use of new tools and technologies, and the incorporation of social media into outreach efforts through use of YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. “There are so many ways the public gets their information today,” said Nancy. “We need to continue to seek out communications tools outside the traditional forms of media.” Acting Administrator Ward concluded by telling conference attendees that she is “excited about where we are heading, excited about what we can accomplish, and excited about the opportunity that now presents itself for all of us to come together and do what’s right for those that we are entrusted to serve every day.” FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.