Tag Archive | FEMA

LIVE WEBCAST: Social Media in Emergency Management: Transforming the Response Enterprise

Washington, D.C. — By harnessing the collective power of citizens and engaging communities in their own response and recovery, social media have the power to revolutionize emergency management. Yet, many challenges—including guidelines for use by response agencies, demonstration of value, and characterization of reliability—must be addressed if the potential of social media is to be fully realized in emergency response and relief efforts in the United States.

Please join us on November 10th for this panel and roundtable discussion, which will be chaired by Dr. Clarence Wardell of CNA and will feature findings from the report, 2011 Social Media + Emergency Management Camp: Transforming the Response Enterprise. Panelists from FEMA, the Red Cross, emergency management, and the digital volunteer community will discuss the report and offer policy and research recommendations for moving forward with the adoption, integration, and practice of social media in emergency management.

TIME: November 10th from 8:30 – 10:00 AM EST

LOCATIION: 5th floor board room, Woodrow Wilson Center, Reagan Building, Washington, D.C. (Federal Triangle Metro).

Follow the event on Twitter with the #SMEM11 hashtag.

For information about the event and to watch it live, visit Social Media in Emergency Management: Transforming the Response Enterprise | Wilson Center.

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Liability and Reliability of Crowdsourced Information for Disaster Management

Panel Discussion: Liability and Reliability of Crowdsourced and Volunteered Information for Disaster Management (NAPSG-Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC, Aug 30, 2011)

New CRS Report: Considerations for a Catastrophic Declaration – Stafford Act

Bruce R. Lindsay, Analyst in Emergency Management Policy
Francis X. McCarthy, Analyst in Emergency Management Policy

Congressional Research Service, June 21, 2011

SUMMARY: The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) is the principal authority governing federal emergency and disaster response in the United States. The act authorizes the President to issue three categories of declaration: (1) major disaster, (2) emergency, or (3) fire assistance declarations in response to incidents that overwhelm the resources of state and local governments. Once a declaration is issued, a wide range of federal disaster assistance becomes available to eligible individuals and households, public entities, and certain nonprofit organizations. Disaster assistance authorized by the Stafford Act is appropriated by Congress and provided through the Disaster Relief Fund.

Emergency declarations supplement and promote coordination of local and state efforts such as evacuations and protection of public assets. They may also be declared prior to the impact of an incident to protect property, public health and safety and lessen or avert the threat of a major disaster or catastrophe. Major disaster declarations are issued after an incident and constitute broader authority to help states and localities, as well as families and individuals, recover from the damage caused by the event. Fire assistance declarations provide grants to state and localities to manage fires that threaten to cause major disasters.

Recently there has been discussion that the Stafford Act should be amended to include a fourth category, generally called a “catastrophic declaration.” If approved, catastrophic declarations could be invoked for high-profile, large-scale incidents that threaten the lives of many people, create tremendous damage, and pose significant challenges to timely recovery efforts.

This report examines concerns expressed by policymakers and experts that current Stafford Act declarations are inadequate to respond to, and recover from, highly destructive events, and presents the arguments for and against amending the act to add a catastrophic declaration amendment. This report also includes data analyses of past and potential disasters to determine what incidents might be deemed as catastrophic, and explores alternative policy options that might obviate the need for catastrophic declarations.

For full text of the article, visit the Federation of American Scientists‘ Website: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R41884.pdf

New CRS Report on Text Messaging, Section on Using SMS to Support Law Enforcement and Emergency Response

Seal of the United States Congressional Resear...

Image via Wikipedia

The Congressional Research Service issued a new report for Congress on Text and Multimedia Messaging on May 18, 2011. Page 12 of the report describes FEMA‘s new Emergency Response Alerting Network (PLAN) implementation plan.

Using SMS to Support Law Enforcement and Emergency Response

In May 2011, the FCC and FEMA announced the implementation of a Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN). This program was previously called the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), which has been under development since April 2008 under rules developed by the FCC. …

For full text of the article in PDF, visit FAS website here.

FEMA’s Personal Localized Alerting Network Just Touches the Surface

Emergency Management Blog – Eric Holdeman, May 22, 2011

Yesterday’s announcement that cell broadcast alerts will be available soon in New York City just touches the surface of a comprehensive plan. FEMA, the FCC, the Mayor of New York and cellular company executives announced that a program called PLAN, Personal Localized Alerting Network, will be launched in NYC late this year. … A number of important points:

1. The word “launch” is important. What was announced was that new mobile devices shipped to NYC will soon be equipped to receive the alerts. That doesn’t mean that all mobile devices will receive them…only new ones from participating carriers. (Most major carriers are participants.) …

For full text of article, visit Personal Localized Alerting Network Just Touches the Surface.

FEMA’s Personal Localized Alerting Network to Mobile Phones

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Image via Wikipedia

FEMA’s New Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN)

http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=54882

Release Date: May 10, 2011
Release Number: FNF-11-002

What is PLAN?

  • The Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN) is a new public safety system that allows customers who own an enabled mobile device to receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area.
  • This new technology ensures that emergency alerts will not get stuck in highly congested user areas, which can happen with standard mobile voice and texting services.  PLAN enables government officials to target emergency alerts to specific geographic areas through cell towers (e.g. lower Manhattan), which pushes the information to dedicated receives in PLAN-enabled mobile devices.
  • PLAN complements the existing Emergency Alert System, which is implemented by the FCC and FEMA at the federal level through broadcasters and other media service providers.  Like the Emergency Alert System, which is a modernization of the earlier Emergency Broadcast System (1963-1997), PLAN is intended to keep up with new technologies that can keep Americans safer.  This modern, integrated and complementary alert system provides significant public safety roles for broadcasters, cable service providers, wireless service providers and other service providers.
  • Wireless companies volunteer to participate in PLAN—technically called the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS).  PLAN is the result of a unique public/private partnership between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the wireless industry with the singular objective of enhanced public safety.
  • The Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act requires participating wireless carriers to activate PLAN technology by a deadline determined by the FCC, which is April 2012.  Participants that will offer PLAN ahead of schedule include AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

How Does It Work?

Read More…

Comprehensive Elevation Inventory for the United States Now Available

Topographic and Bathymetric Data Inventory, www.csc.noaa.gov/topobathy/

The first comprehensive inventory of elevation data sets for the nation is now available. NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have worked together to inventory elevation data, both topographic and bathymetric, for all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

The NOAA inventory initially focused on coastal elevation data, and a partnership with FEMA allowed expansion to the interior of the country. The inventory’s data viewer provides

  • searching of the NOAA and FEMA inventories,
  • enhanced functionality to create data reports,
  • new zooming capabilities,
  • printable custom maps of elevation resources,
  • an innovative design for displaying information about data sets, including quality, and
  • direct links to the data source whenever available.

The inventories can be used not only to locate the data needed when developing elevation models, but also to discover where data gaps exist. The data sets and data quality information found in these inventories are critical components of efforts to address issues related to flooding, beach nourishment, and erosion.

The NOAA inventory includes both topographic and bathymetric data and covers many coastal areas of the nation. This inventory represents data sets found during an exhaustive search for elevation data and portrays a snapshot in time of the elevation resources for a region. The FEMA inventory includes topographic data and covers the entire nation, including Puerto Rico. This effort was conducted January through June 2010 to support FEMA’s internal planning. It focused primarily on large data sets available for an area rather than an all-inclusive collection.

The next steps for this project are to incorporate information verification done by U.S. Geological Survey liaisons and combine the inventories for a single look at elevation resources for the nation.

Explore the site at www.csc.noaa.gov/topobathy/ to find out what elevation data are available for your area, or contact Lindy Betzhold for more information.

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