Thursday, January 23, 2014

Preparedness Tips Via Text Message? FEMA Has It Covered...

You may know that FEMA uses text messages to help people find open shelters and open disaster recovery centers during an incident. However, did you know you can also sign up to receive regular safety tips for specific disaster topics ranging from hurricanes, home fires, and more?  For example, you can text WINTER to 43362 to receive winter storm and extreme cold safety tips directly to your cell phone (standard message and data rates apply).

cell phonesFEMA sends you bi-monthly safety tips on a variety of disaster related topics:  
  • Hurricanes: text HURRICANE to 43362 (4FEMA)
  • Home fires: text FIRE to 43362 (4FEMA)
  • Wildfires: text WILDFIRE to 43362 (4FEMA)
  • Tornadoes: text TORNADO to 43362 (4FEMA)
  • Earthquakes: text EARTHQUAKE to 43362 (4FEMA)
  • Winter storms and extreme cold: text WINTER to 43362 (4FEMA)
  • Power outages: text BLACKOUT to 43362 (4FEMA)
  • Floods: text FLOOD to 43362 (4FEMA)
  • General monthly safety tips: text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA)
A couple of details to note about the program:
  • If subscribing to more than one list, please send a separate text for each topic. 
  • There is no limit to the number of lists you can subscribe to.
  • Sending STOP will automatically unsubscribe you from all lists. 
All FEMA text messages are sent from a dedicated number, which is 43362 (4FEMA).  Also, the FEMA text message program is not a substitute for 9-1-1. During an emergency, call your local fire/EMS/police or 9-1-1.

Learn more about the FEMA Text Message Program.

Friday, January 17, 2014

FEMA Seeking Applicants for its Youth Preparedness Council

[Editor's Note: As CERTs, we know how important it is to look at citizens not as potential victims, but as assets to help increase preparedness and respond to disasters. This also holds true for youths, teens, and young adults: Getting their involvement is vital to increasing community resilience and preparedness. Not only are kids great at convincing their parents to do stuff, but if you can get a child into the habit of preparedness early on, they'll be more likely to keep that mindset for life.

FEMA has a Youth Preparedness Council that seeks to represent youth and find ways to increase preparedness awareness among them. The following is a press release seeking applicants for the council. If you know of a preparedness-minded child or teen between the ages of 12 and 17, let them know about this great opportunity.]

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking applicants for its Youth Preparedness Council.

The Youth Preparedness Council is a unique opportunity for youth leaders to serve on a highly distinguished national council and participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit. Additionally, the youth leaders have the opportunity to complete a self-selected youth preparedness project and to share their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions and questions regarding youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of FEMA and national youth preparedness organizations. Once selected, members serve on the Council for one year, with the option to extend for an additional year, if formally requested by FEMA.

Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2012 -- Tim Manning, Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness listens as council members discuss their experiences with dealing with disasters. The council also met with Administrator Fugate and discussed steps to strengthen the nation's overall resiliency.
Council activities and projects center around five key areas of engagement: Programs, Partnerships, Events, Public Speaking/Outreach and Publishing. Members represent the youth perspective on emergency preparedness and share information with their communities. They also meet with FEMA on a regular basis to provide ongoing input on strategies, initiatives and projects throughout the duration of their term.

Any individual between the ages of 12 and 17 who is engaged in individual and community preparedness or who has experienced a disaster that has motivated him or her to make a positive difference in his or her community, may apply to serve on the Youth Preparedness Council. Individuals who applied last year are highly encouraged to apply again. Adults working with youth and/or community preparedness are encouraged to share the application with youth who might be interested in applying.

Youth interested in applying to the Council must submit a completed application form and two letters of recommendation. Specific information about completing and submitting the application and attachments can be found in the application instructions. All applications and supporting materials must be received no later than February 24, 2014, 11:59 p.m. EST in order to be eligible. New Youth Preparedness Council members will be announced in May 2014.

For more information about the Youth Preparedness Council and to access the application materials, please visit