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Flood Insurance Plays Vital Role in Recovery

FEMA News - Wed 05-02 10:50am

ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – Hurricane season starts June 1 and the Virgin Islands are as vulnerable this year as they were in 2017. Preparations are needed, such as being ready to protect windows from wind and collecting supplies for your disaster kit. To protect your property, the most valuable preparation is to have flood insurance.

Most standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage. Homeowners may contact the National Flood Insurance Program to receive referrals to flood policy providers in their area.

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PR Planning Board Invites Public Comment on FEMA’s Flood Maps

FEMA News - Wed 05-02 10:28am

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Puerto Rico Planning Board is requesting public comment on FEMA’s updated flood maps, which reflect new information and lessons learned from the widespread damage caused by Hurricane María.

The principal benefit of the new maps is to help Puerto Rico rebuild stronger from the 2017 storms and to apply mitigation techniques to substantial improvements.

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Learn Disaster Preparation Tips in Your Language

FEMA News - Wed 05-02 8:00am

Hurricane Season Begins June 1

 

ORLANDO, Fla. — With hurricane season beginning shortly, it’s important for all Floridians to develop a plan about how to react before, during and after a disaster.

Florida’s more than 20 million residents speak many languages. The state is also the most vulnerable in the country for hurricanes with nearly 120 in recorded history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Living Through Hurricane Maria: A Lesson in Resilience

FEMA Blog - Tue 05-01 3:45pm
Author:  Anely Latalladi Ortega

Editor’s Note: Hurricane Maria changed the lives of many when it hit Puerto Rico in September 2017. Four survivors, now FEMA local hires, share their stories on how Hurricane Maria impacted their lives, and how they are making a difference in their community every day.

As Hurricane Maria approached my home in Puerto Rico, this island where I was born, I was comforted that my two little girls and I would be safe. Our three-bedroom concrete house in Guayama, a five-minute drive from the closest beach on the southeast coast, was not in a flood zone. It had never flooded. I felt fortunate. My worry in those early days was for others who weren’t as lucky.

As news of the storm’s growing strength reached us, I ran around securing the house, which sits on a tiny hill in a small development. Plastic bags were stuffed in the aluminum louvers in the bedrooms. A plywood panel covered the glass window in the living room. I shoved 10-pound sandbags at the base of the back door. I was prepared. My house was barricaded. Or so I thought.

After a restless night with little sleep, daylight on Sept. 21 greeted us along with floodwaters rushing in from the street into my “safe house.” My first thought was to protect my girls; ages 3 and 4, they are my life. I grabbed milk from the refrigerator, an armful of their clothes and the red life vests I had them wear that magical weekend before when we celebrated my birthday at Jobos Beach in Isabela.

The morning after Hurricane María came ashore on Sept. 20, 2017, a yellow pickup truck sits in floodwaters in a Guayama neighborhood. Download Original

Two doors away were the neighbors we had waved to so many times in the year we lived in Guayama. We sought shelter with them for a short time, but as the floodwaters continued to rise, we moved again. In the midst of the storm, we sloshed through murky floodwaters and found refuge at a stranger’s home a few houses away. A couple in their 50s had taken in a few other neighbors: eight adults, a 14-year-old girl with autism, an 18-month-old, four children under age 12 and two dogs: a German shepherd and a Labrador retriever. For the next six hours or so, their 2,500-square-foot home was our sanctuary.

Soon, the streets of our enclave had turned into rivers, swollen by floodwaters that had nowhere to go as storm drains became clogged with solar panels and other debris. The waters were rising so fast, we knew we had to leave. Even though our pickup truck was partially submerged, it was our only hope for escape. As neighbors worked to unclog the storm drains, my girls’ father got the pickup started. Against driving winds and pelting rain, the girls and I trudged through the floodwaters, climbed into the pickup, and our small family made our way through water-logged streets to the children’s grandparents’ home.

With my girls safe, I returned home that afternoon. The sight was heartbreaking. Water had climbed a foot up the walls. Much of our furniture, some clothes, my architecture degrees, my portfolio of work, the girls’ toys — all were destroyed. I thought I was prepared. I never thought this would happen to me. We were far from rivers, far from the ocean. I never anticipated how high and how fast the floodwaters would rise.

The following days and weeks were agonizing. Not knowing about your family and friends was something new and scary. Scavenging for essentials became my daily focus. I constantly worried about finding milk, food, and water for the girls.

The shelves of local supermarkets that managed to reopen were stocked with leftover goods that had long expired. I spent five hours waiting in line to buy $15 worth of gasoline. I had to decide which errands to run because I needed to conserve gas. We had no cell service. No electricity. Our method of communication resembled what might have been found in the old days. “I left a WhatsApp on your door,” friends would joke when we eventually saw each other. It meant a message was posted on my front door. About 10 days after the storm, a note buoyed my spirits: “Te Amo. Pa.”

Our small neighborhood symbolized generosity, hope and resilience. Neighbors shared chicken strips. When I cooked fresh food, whatever was left unused was shared with my neighbors because there was no refrigerated storage. Neighbors picked up damaged and destroyed items left at the curb and took them to a landfill. They cleaned my girls’ pink-and-white dollhouse, which Maria decided to spare.

Debris coats a tiled living room floor and a water mark is visible on the wall after Hurricane Maria floodwaters recede in a Guayama neighborhood in September 2017. Download OriginalFor two months, one couple who owned a convenience store and a generator shared power with six neighbors. Extension cords snaked from their house to ours and the generator ran from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., giving light to a few fortunate ones. Electricity meant my daughters could sleep with a fan and not get eaten alive by mosquitoes. The couple refused to accept any money for diesel. It all made me wonder why I wasn’t better prepared.

With no TV or cell phones to consume our time, the neighbors would barbeque together, sit around chatting and sharing drinks. I started reading again. I taught my girls how to wash clothes by hand. I began to notice children at play, racing bicycles they rode only occasionally before the storm. For eight weeks, that routine was our new post-Maria normal.

I applied for a job with FEMA and started working the week before Thanksgiving. This job has given me a great sense of satisfaction because I can use my skills and experience to contribute in the recovery of my beloved Puerto Rico.

Many people left the island after hurricanes Irma and Maria, which came ashore only two weeks apart. Many close friends I knew as a child went to the mainland. Leaving Puerto Rico is not a choice for me. I now live in the northeast, farther away from the water but closer to a new beginning. I am a hopeless optimist, and I want to raise my girls here with our family, and  their extended family. In this slice of paradise, surrounded by my people and my culture, I can only hope to live and do my part for a better Puerto Rico.

FEMA and Whole Community Participate in National Level Exercise 2018

FEMA News - Tue 05-01 2:59pm

PHILADELPHIA – Starting April 30 through May 11, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III and our state and federal partners will be engaged in the National Level Exercise (NLE) 2018.

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FEMA Statement provided to CBS News from Public Affairs Director William Booher

FEMA News - Tue 05-01 12:31pm

The fact is that FEMA will pay every dime to a policyholder that they are due based on the coverage in their policies and the damage that occurred.  For the 2016 floods in Louisiana, the NFIP had over 29K claims with just over 300 appeals and has paid out $2.4B to date for an average claims payment of over $80K.  Of this $2.4B only $482K has gone toward litigation expenses associated with these claims (less than 0.0002%). For the 2017 disasters the NFIP has paid out $9B in claims to date.

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Don’t Wait: Buy Flood Insurance Today

FEMA News - Tue 05-01 10:37am

A Month Before Hurricane Season, There’s No Time To Waste

 

Hurricane season begins June 1, which means homeowners and renters need to buy a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy today to be prepared for disaster. A flood insurance policy generally takes effect 30 days after purchase, and homeowners and renters insurance do not typically cover flood damage.

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Third Public Test of FT8 “DXpedition Mode” Set for May 5

ARRL Headlines - Tue 05-01 7:25am

A third public test of the nascent FT8 “DXpedition Mode” is set for Saturday, May 5, the WSJT Development Group has announced. A fourth “release candidate” now is available, and participants in the May 5 public test should install WSJT-X version 1.9.0-rc4, beforehand.

“Once again, the goal is to simulate a rare-DXpedition pileup by having many stations (‘Hounds’) calling and trying to work a de...

New York Club Receives Maxim Society Plaque

ARRL Headlines - Mon 04-30 8:17pm

The Orange County (New York) Amateur Radio Club (OCARC) has been presented with a Hiram Percy Maxim Society plaque, in recognition of its donations to the Legislative Issues Advocacy and Spectrum Defense funds,

ARRL Development Manager Lauren Clarke, KB1YDD, has announced. ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, presented the Maxim Society plaque to OCARC President Bruce Baccaro, K2UL...

FEMA and Whole Community Participate in National Level Exercise 2018

FEMA News - Mon 04-30 5:50pm

WASHINGTON – Today through May 11, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be engaged in the National Level Exercise (NLE) 2018. This event brings together more than 250 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governments, private industry, and non-governmental and community organizations to test their emergency response to a simulated major incident.

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Free Rebuilding and Repair Advice on St. Thomas

FEMA News - Mon 04-30 5:41pm

ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands – As Virgin Islanders repair and rebuild their hurricane-damaged homes, FEMA is offering free consultations and literature on making homes stronger and safer.

FEMA specialists will be on hand to answer questions and offer home-improvement guidance along with proven methods to prevent or reduce damage from future disasters. Most of the information and the free publications are tailored for do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

Advisors will be available at the following locations, dates and times:

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Alabama Storm Survivors Should Register for Disaster Assistance

FEMA News - Mon 04-30 3:56pm

ATLANTA — Homeowners, renters and business owners in Calhoun, Cullman and Etowah counties affected by the March 19-20 severe storms and tornadoes are urged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for federal disaster assistance.  Assistance available to eligible individuals and businesses who sustained damages during those storms.

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FEMA Approves $8 Million for Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to Reimburse Hurricane Irma Expenses

FEMA News - Mon 04-30 3:38pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Nearly $8 million in a recent FEMA grant will reimburse a state government agency for Hurricane Irma-related expenses.

The grant will reimburse the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for public safety activities in response to Hurricane Irma. FEMA funded 100 percent of the project.

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$2 Billion in Federal Assistance Approved for Puerto Rico Recovery

FEMA News - Mon 04-30 12:46pm

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – Grants awarded by FEMA’s Public Assistance program to help the government and municipalities of Puerto Rico recover from hurricanes Irma and María now total over $2 billion.

Recent grant obligations by the program include:

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FEMA Fire Management Assistance Granted For Tinder Fire

FEMA News - Mon 04-30 12:39pm

OAKLAND, Calif. — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to assist the State of Arizona to combat the Tinder Fire burning in Coconino County.

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Deadline Approaching to Submit Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award Nominations

ARRL Headlines - Mon 04-30 11:25am

Friday, May 18, is the deadline to submit nominations for ARRL’s annual Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award. The award celebrates efforts on the part of an individual ARRL member to boost awareness and understanding of Amateur Radio’s services and benefits to the public. The ARRL Public Relations Committee will recommend a winner, if any, to the ARRL Board of Directors, which will ann...

Former Orange Section Manager, Veteran ARRL Volunteer Sandi Heyn, WA6WZN, SK

ARRL Headlines - Mon 04-30 11:17am

Well-known ARRL stalwart and former Orange Section Manager Sandra Mae “Sandi” Heyn, WA6WZN, of Costa Mesa, California, died on April 28 after a lengthy illness. An ARRL Life Member, she was 75. Sandi Heyn was the wife of ARRL Honorary Vice President and past ARRL Southwestern Division Director Fried Heyn, WA6WZO, who relied on her as his trusted assistant. The couple often appeared together at ...

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