Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

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10 Questions For Obama’s Chief Technology Officer

John Harwood | New York Times | July 8, 2013

[Todd Park's] role has taken on heightened importance after several recent developments, including the implementation of the new health care law, efforts to reduce the backlog in Department of Veterans Affairs claims processing, and privacy issues raised by disclosures about data collection by the National Security Agency. Read More »

A 2012 Solar Storm Almost Caused A Worldwide Catastrophe

Kevin Loria | Business Insider | July 25, 2014

The world as we know it almost came to an end in 2012 — though it happened before the Mayan calendar came to an end. Instead, one of the strongest solar storms ever recorded sent a burst of energy through Earth's orbit that could have crippled electrical systems across the planet...

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After Building Apps For Harvey Victims, Houston's Techies Set Their Sights On Irma

Alex Konrad | Forbes | September 6, 2017

After more than two days on a boat rescuing upwards of 50 victims of Hurricane Harvey from flooded houses, Matthew Hager decided to try to help his hometown of Houston the best way he knew how: with tech. Though Hager and his friends looked like a ragtag volunteer rescue squad, he’s a web designer by trade. With other volunteers from his design shop Poetic Systems, he built what has become one of the central hubs for information on Harvey recovery, HarveyNeeds.org. Hager and his crew are hardly alone. As Harvey hit, Houston’s startup community went into overdrive, connecting over a volunteer Slack channel and gathering around impromptu hackathons to build at least 20 new apps and sites designed to provide support to residents, first responders and the city...

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Christians Beat FEMA, and in So Doing, Tame Big Government

Cheryl K. Chumley | The Washington Times | September 12, 2017

Faith-based groups — Christian nonprofits, specifically — have been busy bees of late, providing more aid to hurricane victims than even FEMA, the federal agency that’s supposed to swoop to the scenes of natural disasters, assess the situation and speed the recovery and rebuilding process. Just goes to show: Where charity exists, government is not needed. Look at this, from the Daily Caller: “Faith-based relief groups are responsible for providing nearly 80 percent of the aid delivered thus far to communities with homes devastated by the recent hurricanes”...

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Crowd-Funding Draws Donations For Sandy Relief

Brett Zongker | ABC News | December 22, 2012

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, some who lost their homes or businesses have turned to crowd-funding websites to elicit a faster and more direct response than they could expect from the government or traditional charities. Read More »

Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich

Evan Osnos | The New Yorker | January 30, 2017

Steve Huffman, the thirty-three-year-old co-founder and C.E.O. of Reddit, which is valued at six hundred million dollars, was nearsighted until November, 2015, when he arranged to have laser eye surgery. He underwent the procedure not for the sake of convenience or appearance but, rather, for a reason he doesn’t usually talk much about: he hopes that it will improve his odds of surviving a disaster, whether natural or man-made. “If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” he told me recently...

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Electromagnetic Pulse Could Knock Out U.S. Power Grid

Kedar Pavgi | Nextgov | September 12, 2012

U.S. power grids and other civilian infrastructure are not prepared for electromagnetic pulses that could result from weapons or violent space weather, according to testimony at a congressional subcommittee hearing Wednesday. Read More »

Emergency Alert System May Go Commercial

Joseph Marks | Nextgov | December 26, 2013

Federal emergency managers are considering replacing their current custom built system for notifying the public about emergencies with a commercial alternative, contracting documents show. Read More »

Feds' Rampant Use of No-Bid Contracts the Essence of Corruption

David Williams | The Hill | August 1, 2017

Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) David Shulkin just awarded a contract worth billions of dollars to Cerner, a health technology company. Secretary Shulkin, who was seeking a firm to build the VA's new electronic health records system, awarded the contract without even considering proposals from other companies...

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Feds' Rampant Use of No-bid Contracts the Essence of Corruption

David Williams | The Hill | August 1, 2017

Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) David Shulkin just awarded a contract worth billions of dollars to Cerner, a health technology company. Secretary Shulkin, who was seeking a firm to build the VA's new electronic health records system, awarded the contract without even considering proposals from other companies. Such "no-bid" contracts are an outrage. Companies seeking the government's business should compete on price and quality — just like firms that operate exclusively in the private sector...

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FEMA Chief Brock Long Calls Harvey a "Wake-up Call" for State, Local Officials

Emily Tillett | CBS News | September 3, 2017

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long called Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey a "wake-up call" for state and local officials when it comes to budgets. "It is a wake-up call for this country for local and state elected officials to give their governors and their emergency management directors, you know, the full budgets that they need to be fully staffed, to design rainy day funds, to have your own standalone individual assistance and public assistance programs," Long said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday...

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FEMA Director Urges Americans to Develop “a true culture of preparedness” But No One Is Listening

Daisy Luther | The Organic Prepper | September 27, 2017

It looks like preppers aren’t that crazy after all. FEMA’s new director, Brock Long, has repeatedly said that Americans do not have a “culture of preparedness,” something that is much-needed with the startling uptick in natural disasters. Long has only been the director of FEMA since June 20 of this year and already has had to deal with a historic number of disasters in this short period of time. It appears that Mr. Long has a mindset of self-reliance based on a couple of recent statements he has made to the media, but the MSM doesn’t seem too interested in his ideas about fostering a culture of preparedness, despite the practicality and essential nature of his suggestions...

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FEMA Was Overwhelmed by Hurricanes and Wildfires in 2017, GAO Says

Erin Ailworth | Wall Street Journal | September 4, 2018

The back-to-back devastation of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, followed by catastrophic wildfires in California, overwhelmed federal disaster responders in 2017, according to a government report released Tuesday. The unprecedented sequence of storms and fires forced Federal Emergency Management Agency staff to jump from one disaster to another and in some cases use uncertified workers to fill key roles. “They were 30% understaffed when Harvey hit,” said Chris Currie, director of emergency management issues at the Government Accountability Office, which wrote Tuesday’s report. “By the time Maria hit Puerto Rico, they were down to the bottom of the barrel.”

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From Coding To Tangible Results: FEMA’s First Open Data Town Hall

Jason Lindesmith | FEMA | April 11, 2014

The approach to FEMA’s first-ever Data Town Hall was refreshing because our OpenFEMA team harked just as much about project management and results as they did about getting creative when using FEMA’s data. The attendees were asked to break into five challenge tracks: GIS, Disaster Assistance Assessment Dashboard, Accessibility, API and Fire Viz; each with a specific project and private sector team lead.

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Google Tells Feds How To Get Emergency Info To The Top Of Search Results

Joseph Marks | Nextgov | June 4, 2013

Offering relevant information in open, machine-readable formats may be the most important thing government can do to keep the public informed during a natural disaster, Google and other technology leaders told members of Congress Tuesday. Read More »