A powerful storm, wildfire or earthquake suddenly strikes your town. Homes are leveled. Businesses are closed. Power lines are down, and you start worrying about how you'll be able to access some of the most basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. First, check with your community disaster resources and emergency personnel teams for any information they may have. If your community is declared a disaster area, resources could be available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross.
If you experience broader threats to your safety because of a situation in your community you should contact local emergency personnel. The federal government has also established the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assist in these efforts.
FEMA Resources Overview
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides a resource center for individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey. Resources include emergency contact phone numbers, links to important resources and methods to apply for assistance.
Additionally, below are the most common communication options available through FEMA to help remain apprised of the circumstances and resources that are available.
- The FEMA App
To better assist communities during times of disaster or recovery, FEMA has created a mobile app through iTunes, Blackberry App World and other common mobile devices to maintain an active status on the disaster situation in your area, to report issues and much more. View and/or download the FEMA mobile app.
- Text Messages Subscription
As reported on the FEMA website, the agency also offers a text message feature to allow cell phone users to receive text message updates from FEMA. They offer general instructions on their subscription page to assist you in setting up the text message feature on your cell phone.
- Email Updates
Last, FEMA also provides a free email service that sends out automated notifications about a variety of topics. This service allows visitors to select one or more topic-specific channels such as Map Service Center, Flood Hazard Mapping or Hazus (online tool) through which you should be able to receive notices. If you are interested in subscribing, visit the FEMA Email Subscriptions page.
For planning and post-disaster recoveries, many people struggle to find food, water, medical assistance, clothing and shelter resources to sustain them until they can return to their homes. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is dedicated to partner with first responders, community and non-profit agencies and other involved support teams in helping the public prepare for, protect, respond to and recover from disasters affecting their lives. FEMA can also provide information on how to apply for community or individual assistance; find information about Urban Search and Rescue efforts; and even find support and resources for pet care in disaster environment circumstances.
(FEMA is a U.S. government agency and is not associated with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. This information is provided for informational purposes.)
After the Rain: Disaster Recovery and Employee Safety Following Hurricane Harvey [ Risk Management Safety Newsletter]
The ongoing devastation from Hurricane Harvey, flooding in Houston, and ongoing rain in Texas and Louisiana are indicative how merciless and unpredictable Mother Nature can be. Climate scientists have warned higher sea levels and water temperatures in coming years, which are predicted to lead to more hurricanes and coastal flooding in the future. For employers, who are obligated to keep their employees safe during working hours, disaster preparedness is critical.
A Discussion of FEMA Government Entities and Eligible Nonprofits [ Whitepaper]
The Gallagher Public Sector practice has published A Discussion of FEMA Government Entities and Eligible Nonprofits whitepaper which addresses some of the nuances of FEMA and its response to a federally declared disaster. The intent of this whitepaper is to provide a summary framework outlining suggested actions prior to any event - and more.
FEMA: Severe Weather Preparedness [ Article]
As a communication vehicle, social media is playing a more significant role in providing and distributing valuable information. These resources have been particularly useful in disaster situations. Recently, FEMA released a Severe Weather Preparedness - Social Media Content Shareables guide. It offers a consolidated listing of materials available on Twitter and Facebook as well as recommendations on how to leverage social media in your business. This guide was released by FEMA in early April 2015.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) offers a website with comprehensive resources and organizations engaged in addressing emergency preparedness, response, and recovery information. The information featured has a primary concentration on transportation and utilities updates in affected areas. To receive regular alerts - even during a limited timeframe, you can also sign up for regular updates on the DOT website by registering online.
Within the U.S. and beyond its borders, the public today is exposed to more unique challenges impacting their personal safety, privacy and more. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is available to assist in identifying and potentially eliminating many of those risks. DHS was created to work with an extensive network of resources and professionals while collaborating with personnel in areas such as aviation and cyber risk to border security and emergency responders. For more information about DHS’ programs and current efforts, visit their website.
(DHS is a U.S. government agency and is not associated with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. This information is provided for informational purposes.)