Posted by: Lars Anderson, Director, Public Affairs
At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.
Supporting ongoing severe storm response and recovery
We continue to support our state, local and tribal partners affected by last week’s severe storms and resulting power outages. We’ve blogged about the federal family’s efforts several times since then, including the invaluable work of many voluntary organizations.
The thing to remember about FEMA’s role is that we are there to support state and local partners. We have staged many commodities near the affected areas, including generators (to power critical infrastructure), food, water, kits for infants and toddlers, and durable medical equipment. If these supplies are needed by the state, we continue to stand ready to meet those needs. If you live in an area impacted by last week’s severe storms, the best place to find information about available assistance is through your local emergency management office.
We will continue to support the response and recovery efforts and provide updates on this blog as needed.
Federal disaster assistance available in 11 Florida counties
Live Oak, Fla., July 4, 2012 -- FEMA Community Relations Specialist Julius Gibbons works with Red Cross Shelter Manager Marge Gray to better understand the needs of shelter clients and how FEMA and the Red Cross can best partner to assist storm survivors. FEMA is responding to severe flood damage and destruction across Florida caused by Tropical Storm Debby.
Earlier this week, President Obama authorized federal disaster assistance for individuals affected by tropical storm Debby in 11 Florida counties (Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Franklin, Hernando, Highlands, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee and Wakulla). If you live in one of the designated counties and sustained losses or damages from Tropical Storm Debby, you can register with FEMA by one of the following methods:
- Call 800-621-FEMA (3362), which is video relay service accessible. Assistance is available in most languages and lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. If you are deaf or hard of hearing and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585.
- Go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
- By smartphone or tablet, use the FEMA app or go to m.fema.gov.
Visit our website for more information on Tropical Storm Debby recovery efforts.
It’s been a hot July 4th week for millions around the country – and the National Weather Service is predicting extreme heat will continue for much of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest through the weekend. Here are a few reminders if the heat will be on in your neighborhood:
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, especially those who spend much of their time alone.
- Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
- Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
- Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
- Bookmark m.fema.gov or download the FEMA smartphone app to get extreme heat safety tips on your phone.
Continued wildfire response & flash flooding risk
While the heat has been the topic of conversation along the East Coast, wildfires remain front-and-center out west. We continue working closely with our state, local, and tribal partners in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Montana to closely monitor the fires. For several fires, we are supporting the firefighting efforts through Fire Management Assistance Grants, which provides financial assistance so firefighters and first responders can focus all their efforts on reducing the negative impacts of the fire.
Other federal partners, such as the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Interior, are working through the National Interagency Fire Center to provide the necessary assets such as fire engines, helicopters, air tankers and military support to help suppress the fires. You can find more about the federal government’s role at www.nifc.gov. (For more on specifics about FEMA’s role during wildfires, check out this blog post from last week.)
Because so many areas have been affected by wildfires so far this season, it’s important to remember that the risk of flash flooding increases after a wildfire. Only a few minutes of excessive rainfall can cause a flash flood – so make sure you know how to get to higher ground if necessary. Visit Ready.gov/floods for more information on what to do before, during, and after a flood, and bookmark mobile.weather.gov on your phone so you can easily check the weather forecast in your area.