Texas Emergency Management ONLINE2011 Vol. 58 No. 1

TEXAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT BRIEFS, LINKS & TIPS

HAPPY NEW YEAR! UPDATE YOUR FAMILY PREPAREDNESS PLAN NOW!
The New Year is a good time to make a resolution to update your family preparedness plans and refill emergency supply kits. Your family preparedness plan should include such information as social security numbers, mailing addresses, phone numbers, insurance policy numbers and bank account numbers. Whether your community is facing a hurricane, wildfire, flood or other emergency, all important papers should be stored in waterproof, easy-to-carry containers in the event you have to evacuate. More information on family preparedness and emergency supply kits can be found by visiting the following websites: American Red Cross  Ready.gov  Ready or Not?

YEAR IN REVIEW: TOTAL DISASTERS
A total of 81 Presidential disaster declarations were issued during the calendar year 2010, mostly for severe storms and flooding as well as a large number of winter storms. The previous record was set by President George W. Bush, who issued 75 disaster declarations in 2008, including one for Hurricane Ike which devastated Galveston Island and wreaked havoc across southeast Texas. Experts say disaster requests from governors are approved about 75 percent of the time. For federal disaster declarations by year visit FEMA’s website.

2011 TEXAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE
The 2011 Texas Emergency Management Conference will feature a quicker, faster, smarter registration process – along with more space and convenience for exhibitors. The conference will be held in San Antonio April 26-29, 2011 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The conference presents an excellent opportunity to meet colleagues in the emergency management community before you need to work with them in an actual disaster. Visit the 2011 Texas Emergency Management Conference webpage to learn more.

MONITOR DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN YOUR AREA
The National Weather Service and the Texas Forest Service are urging Texans to be mindful of the extreme drought conditions the state is experiencing. Abundant vegetation that flourished late last summer has become extremely dry over the fall and winter, providing fuel for fires. Of the 254 counties in Texas, 244 were included in a state disaster proclamation for the threat of extreme wildfires. Texans can visit the U.S. Drought Monitor’s website to view drought conditions in their area.

NEW FEMA DISABILITIES GUIDANCE
FEMA has new guidelines on emergency sheltering for people with disabilities. The aim is to provide recommendations so that shelters may better meet the needs of evacuees with disabilities, from providing sleeping arrangements, to meeting hygiene and dietary needs, to accommodating for service animals. Federal officials say this will help state governments to comply with federal laws designed to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability. These laws include the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Stafford Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Architectural Barriers Act and the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act.  Learn more about the Functional Needs Support Services Guidance, or FNSS, at FEMA's Office of Disability Integration and Coordination and find out more about the Functional Needs Support Services Guidance.

DID YOU KNOW?
We are not expecting a tsunami in Texas anytime soon. However, tsunamis have been triggered by massive underwater landslides along the continental shelf on the northern and eastern margins of the Gulf of Mexico over the past 20,000 years – and TDEM prepares for everything! TDEM mitigation staff member, Thomas LeBlanc, who manages Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) projects, represents Texas at the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP). LeBlanc also delivers Hurricane Surge Marker Signs to coastal jurisdictions, conducts HMGP program audits, reviews local jurisdiction mitigation action plans, produces GIS generated maps, and provides HAZUS (a GIS-based software program for estimating potential losses from flooding, surge, hurricane winds, and earthquake disasters) support during selected disasters, or at other times when required. Information on tsunamis – including the giant tsunami that occurred when an asteroid struck Chicxulub, Mexico 65 million years ago – can be found by visiting the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center website, West Coast and Alaska Warning Center website and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Tsunami website.

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