About the webinar: Emergency managers often work with schools and hospitals to develop and exercise emergency action plans. However, dams and levee owners often have plans as well. Fort Bend County has integrated levee emergency action plans into their plans through a multi-departmental approach to planning, training and response. This coordination has improved preparedness of levee improvement districts throughout the county. The county is traversed by the Brazos River and has a long history of flooding. This system has been tested through multiple flood events in recent years; the county experienced three riverine floods between Memorial Day 2015 and Memorial Day 2016. The system was once again tested during Hurricane Harvey when record rainfall throughout the area caused massive flooding.
About the presenter: Rita Anderson is an environmental scientist with Freese and Nichols, Inc. in Houston, Texas. She has a BA from Harding University and an MS from Oklahoma State University. Her planning experience includes working with cities, counties and tribes in Oklahoma; and with dam and levee owners in Texas. She previously served as the Blackwell/Kay County Oklahoma Director of Emergency Management and served as Chair of the Kay County Local Emergency Planning Committee. She was also a Vice-Chair of the Audit and Enforcement Subgroup of the Alliance for Uniform HAMAT Transportation Procedures under the U S Department of Transportation. Her experience ranges from field work, site Incident Command, HAZWOPER trainer and NEPA analysis for the US Army. Currently she is primarily tasked with working with dam and levee owners to develop and improve their emergency preparedness practices.
About the webinar: In recent years, natural disasters have increased in the United States in terms of frequency, severity, and cost. For example, FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program, the largest source of federal disaster assistance to state and local governments, increased by 212 percent from 1996 to 2015. Since state and local governments bear part of the cost of federally declared disasters, governments at all levels are spending more on response and recovery. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and officials from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and Government Accountability Office have called on FEMA to reduce its spending. FEMA is considering several initiatives to address these concerns, including a public assistance deductible as well as revisions to the Individual Assistance and PA grant programs. The Trump administration has continued these efforts, as well as put forward strategies of its own. Given that federal, state, and local disaster funding is highly intertwined, state and local governments have a fiscal stake in any proposed changes to FEMA’s programs for disaster aid and will have to decide whether federal actions necessitate a change in how they budget for disaster costs. To better understand how states budget for disasters, Pew catalogued states’ strategies to make funding available when needed - such as statewide reserve funds - and will share its research highlights. Panel members representing state and local government will discuss actions their jurisdictions have taken to manage the volatility of and increase in costs through innovative budgeting practices. Audience members will be encouraged to share best practices as well as recent actions taken in their own jurisdictions.
About the presenter: Justin Theal is a senior associate with the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Fiscal Federalism Initiative, which provides nonpartisan data and analysis on areas of fiscal and policy overlap between the federal and state governments to inform the public and decisions by policymakers. Theal’s work includes critical topics such as natural disasters, transportation and infrastructure, higher education, health care, and taxes, as well as the impact and distribution of federal spending across states. Before joining Pew in 2013, Theal spent two years at Taxpayers for Common Sense where he tracked and analyzed legislation related to the federal deficit and debt. Theal holds a bachelor's degree in international affairs from Arcadia University, where he focused on economics, natural resource management, and public policy, and is pursuing a master's degree in public management from the University of Maryland.
About the webinar: The 2017 disaster season was catastrophic, and the greatest impact was on our most vulnerable population – children. Children who experience disaster are five times more likely to have serious emotional trauma than adults. As a nation, we are still behind in implementing programs and standards to protect them. In fact, 79% of recommendations made by the National Commission on Children in disasters in 2010 remain unfulfilled. However, there are innovative ways to address the current gaps in child protection and ensure that communities are equipped to protect children. Join us for a special session to understand the unique needs of children, learn best practices from the 2017 disaster season, and explore how you can pioneer new programs to protect children and advocate for policies that create lasting change. We hope to see you there!
About the presenters:
Sarah Thompson, CEM, is the director of U.S. emergencies for Save the Children, where she leads emergency preparedness, recovery and psychosocial programming. In addition to developing a robust training library that help caregivers prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, Sarah is the author of the Prep Rally curriculum, an innovative program that teaches children preparedness skills through play and has reached more than 100,000 children and won the 2017 FEMA Community Preparedness Award. Sarah also manages national partnerships in building momentum around youth preparedness and recovery, including as a leader of FEMA’s National Youth Preparedness Strategy and as chair of the National VOAD Preparedness Committee. Sarah holds a Masters in Health Communications from Johns Hopkins University and is a certified emergency manager.
Cameron Lewis is a program specialist in U.S. emergencies at Save the Children. Cameron manages signature programs, including the Prep Rally that teaches children preparedness skills through fun interactive exercises and Child Friendly Spaces to provide a safe environment in which children can play, socialize, learn and express themselves in times of disaster. Cameron began his career in emergency management more than a decade ago, by serving in national service programs including AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps VISTA, and the Peace Corps. His experience responding to Hurricane Katrina inspired him to receive a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Emergency Management. He is currently serving as the Chair of the NVOAD Volunteer Management Committee and AmeriCorps Alums Triangle Chapter.