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Break the Cycle: ‘Natural Disaster, Rebuild, Repeat’

Posted by Gary Lawrence

Aug 30, 2014 9:30:00 AM

THE TRAGIC MUDSLIDE that occurred on March 22 in the small 180-person town of Oso, Washington, is the second weather-related disaster in the space of 16 months that has touched me personally.

Oso's Slide. Is this the future that awaits us if we continue to ignore nature's limits? Photo courtesy

In the early part of my career, I was Deputy County Executive of Snohomish County in Washington state, a county government hitherto unknown to anyone outside the immediate area, the commercial aviation industry, loggers, and recreational Steelhead fishermen.  It is the home of Boeing’s manufacturing facilities for the 767, 777 and 787.  The Stillaguamish River, now damned up behind the slide, was one of the world’s most pristine fisheries.  Oso, like too many small communities around the world, has now achieved global renown as the site of tragedy. Today, it takes its place in a media arc that wraps around the globe and reaches back over the decades — small communities suffering as nature does its thing.

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Wildfire Protection and Yard Maintenance

Posted by Heather Wallace

Aug 29, 2014 7:00:00 AM

Redding Fire Department officials said a homeowner’s foresight prevented a home vegetation fire last week, from growing out of control and proving wildfire protection and preparedness is the best choice.

Crews quickly knocked down the fire that started after a eucalyptus branch knocked down power lines near the property, Battalion Chief Steve Reilly said. The fire burned a 50-foot swatch of dry grass on the property. Reilly said that the homeowner's efforts to keep dry grass cut around the home prevented the fire from spreading to the building.

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FEMA Urges Hurricane Preparedness

Posted by Heather Wallace

Aug 27, 2014 10:00:00 AM

ATLANTA - September’s National Preparedness Month reminds us of the importance of preparing for hurricanes. While the southeast is no stranger to life-changing hurricanes, this September marks 10 years since hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne affected Florida and other states, 15 years since Hurricane Floyd crossed North Carolina’s coast and 25 years since Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina. Each storm left its own unpredictable mark on the people and communities they touched. Some hurricanes brought fierce winds that tore through everything in their path, and others, storm surge and flooding that destroyed coastlines and infrastructure. Several had the wicked combination of dangerous wind and rain.

The most valuable lesson each of those storms provides for us today is that – the time to prepare for the next hurricane is now.  Each week in September, FEMA will focus on a specific area of preparedness. National Preparedness Month culminates on September 30 with America's PrepareAthon!, a national day of action to encourage individuals, businesses, organizations and communities to take part in preparedness activities. 

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How Insulating Concrete Forms Helped Save This Home

Posted by Heather Wallace

Aug 19, 2014 8:26:00 PM

Watch this incredible story from FLASH, A Tale of Two Homes: Superstorm Sandy. Donn Thompson of the Portland Cement Association explains the simple science of Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs).

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Make Wildfire Protection Your Burning Desire

Posted by Terry Sheridan

Aug 14, 2014 9:42:00 PM

Jeff Shapiro admits he should have known better about wildfire precautions. He is, after all, a fire protection engineer. Shapiro got his wakeup call in 2011.

The catastrophic Bastrop County wildfire of Labor Day weekend in 2011 burned 32,400 acres and destroyed almost 2,900 buildings – most of them homes – southeast of Austin in central Texas. It’s described as the most destructive wild land urban interface wildfire in Texas history.

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