Agency Encourages Citizen Preparedness
PHILADELPHIA The Department of Homeland Securitys Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III office is making preparations to respond to Tropical Depression Ernesto.
As Tropical Depression Ernesto heads north, Region III strongly encourages the public to take steps now to be prepared.
PRO-ACTIVE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE REGIONAL OFFICE IN PHILADELPHIA
o Working in conjunction with state and local partners, FEMA has pre-positioned life-saving and life- sustaining supplies within the Mid-Atlantic Region. Water, meals-ready-to-eat (MREs), cots, blankets, and tarps are being pre-positioned so that they can reach the impacted areas as quickly as possible.
o Activated a 24-hour Regional Response Coordination Center that is overseeing regional disaster response efforts with other various Federal agencies.
o Deployed Emergency Response Teams across the region.
o Placed Preliminary Damage Assessment Teams on stand-by. These teams work jointly with state officials to conduct damage assessments to determine eligibility for a presidential disaster declaration which triggers the release of federal disaster funds.
o Placed Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers on hold should they be needed. DRCs are temporary facilities that provide on-site and immediate disaster relief to victims.
COMMODITIES DISTRIBUTION PROCESS
Should there be a need to distribute commodities during a disaster, FEMA, state and local agencies play key roles to ensure that supplies reach the population in need. While working towards similar goals, the role played by each level of government is different. As such, commodities are distributed in the following fashion:
STATE & LOCAL ROLE
o When disaster victims are in dire need of supplies, local jurisdictions attempt to fill the need from existing resources. When unable, the requirements are forwarded to a county or state jurisdiction.
o Once a request is received, the county or state will work from existing or commercial resources to address the local need by signing an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) or mutual aid agreement. Should the county or state be unable to meet local needs, the state requests federal assistance.
o Once a state request is received, FEMA works to fulfill it. Supplies are delivered by FEMA to a state- designated staging area or Point of Distribution (POD) site.
o Supplies are distributed to disaster victims at these sites by the state. The state identifies and operates these points of distribution.
While federal, state and local emergency officials are fully engaged in preparation for the storm and flooding, FEMA strongly recommends individuals to take ownership of their safety by preparing now. Personal preparedness is critical and now is the time for individuals and families in the area to take action.
FEMA urges the public to make sure it has provisions for AT LEAST 72-hours after a storm strikes. This includes food and water as well as other needed supplies, including a battery powered radio to receive important response and recovery information should electricity service be interrupted.
In addition, if citizens are told by local officials to evacuate, they should do so. Also, bring copies of important papers:
o drivers license
o credit card information
o birth certificates
o social security cards
o other forms and documents proving ownership/identity
It is also critical to know local evacuation routes, nearby safe shelters and have a communication plan in place. Listen and follow the instruction of local and state authorities as the storm approaches.
For more information on preparing for emergencies, please visit http://www.ready.gov, or http://www.floodsmart.gov.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with State and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.