Southern Storms: Overview Of Response And Support Efforts By FEMA And The Federal Government

News and Press Release
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Release Date: April 29, 2011 Release Number: HQ-11-044

Since the deadly tornadoes first struck parts of the country earlier this week, the federal government has been in constant contact with all of the impacted states as they responded to and began recovery efforts from these devastating storms. A the request of the respective governors, FEMA currently has personnel on the ground in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee, and commodities strategically pre-positioned in the region to support the states. The following timeline provides an overview of these and other federal activities, to date, to support the impacted states, families and communities.

Wednesday, April 27th:

Severe weather system including high winds, hail and tornadoes devastates parts of several southeastern states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. Alabama is most heavily affected by severe storms, which are forecast to affect the East Coast from Florida through New England through April 29th. Governor Bentley submits request for a federal emergency declaration for the State of Alabama as a result of severe storms, hail, straight-line winds, and tornadoes. FEMA Region IV Administrator Phil May speaks with both Governor Bentley and Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner. DHS Secretary Napolitano speaks with Governor Bentley to express condolences and to discuss latest status. President Obama declares an emergency for all 67 counties in Alabama, and orders federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the area struck by these storms. The President's action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. Joe M. Girot is designated as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in Alabama. The President calls Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and expresses his deepest condolences for the tragic loss of life and suffering caused by severe storms and tornadoes in Alabama. President releases statement on the severe storms and tornadoes in Alabama FEMA places two National Incident Management Assistance Teams on alert, in case Alabama requests their assistance. These teams help the state coordinate response efforts. FEMA places Texas Task Force 1 Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) team on alert, to be available in case Alabama makes a request for assistance. FEMA Region IV deploys a regional liaison officer to the Alabama emergency operations center to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond and begins to recover from this devastating storm outbreak. Thursday, April 28th:

FEMA Headquarters activates its National Response Coordination Staff to Level III, which activates its emergency support functions, including transportation, public works, mass care, public health, search and rescue and others. FEMA Region IV deploys regional IMAT to the Alabama emergency operations center to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond and begins to recover from the devastating storm outbreak. FEMA Region IV Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) activates to Level II for increased coordination with the affected states. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, and Alabama State Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner conduct a press conference call on the coordinated state and federal response to the severe and deadly tornadoes in Alabama. On this call, Administrator Fugate announces that at the direction of the president, he will be traveling to Alabama to join the governor and other state and local officials on the ground. FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino travels to the FEMA Region IV headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and meets with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and other state and local officials as they assess the damage. FEMA coordinates with the USNORTHCOM to establish an incident support base in Maxwell, Alabama. The support base will allow FEMA to move supplies such as water, infant toddler kits, and tarps closer to the affected area, in case they are needed. President Obama speaks via telephone with DHS Secretary Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Fugate to discuss the continuing federal disaster relief efforts for areas affected by the devastating severe storms and tornadoes that have impacted Alabama, Mississippi and other states across the Southeast. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate arrives in Alabama to meet with Governor Robert Bentley, and other state and local officials, to assess the damage and ensure the state is receiving all the support needed for its response and recovery operations. Regional IMAT arrives in Alabama to support state efforts at the Alabama emergency operations center.
FEMA, its federal partners and the affected states hold a video-teleconference to discuss response efforts and to address anticipated needs. The President speaks with the Governors of Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia to express condolences and let them know that the Federal Government is ready to help in any appropriate and possible way. FEMA liaison officers land on the ground in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Kentucky emergency operations centers supporting state efforts. The President makes nationally televised remarks to address the severe storms and inform the American people what its government is doing to assist the people in need. FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino joins Georgia Governor Nathan Deal at a press conference at the state's emergency operations center in Atlanta. FEMA Administrator Fugate joins Alabama Governor Robert Bentley at a press conference in Tuscaloosa, after his meetings and surveying damage in both Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. The Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues a press release to urge workers and members of the public engaged in cleanup activities to be aware of hazards they might encounter and to take the necessary steps to protect themselves. FEMA deploys a mobile emergency response support team to Alabama to provide prompt and rapid multi-media communications processing, logistics and operational support to state officials. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Administrator Val Dolcini reminds crop and livestock producers in affected states that FSA programs may be available to assist with recovery. President Obama declares a major disaster declaration which makes federal assistance available to individual who suffered personal property damages or losses, and for public infrastructure, such as schools, fire stations, and libraries. FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.