3.2 Space Weather and FEMA

Monday, 24 January 2011: 4:15 PM
4C-3 (Washington State Convention Center)
Stephen Sterling, FEMA, Denver, CO

Following a July 2009 visit by FEMA Administrator, Craig Fugate, to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, FEMA Region VIII and the Denver Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) Detachment were designated as FEMA's Center of Excellence for space weather. FEMA recognized that space weather can directly or indirectly cause or exacerbate a major disaster or emergency, and has the capability of interfering with or seriously degrading FEMA's response & recovery capability. In response to Regional requests for support, FEMA provides mobile telecommunications, operational support, life support, and power generation assets for the on-site management of disaster and all-hazard activities. This support is managed by the Response and Recovery Directorate's Disaster Emergency Communications (DEC) Division. The DEC has six geographically dispersed MERS Detachments which are required to provide prompt and rapid multi-media communications, information processing, and operational support to Federal, State, and Local agencies during catastrophic emergencies and disasters for government response and recovery operations. One of the MERS Detachments is co-located with FEMA Region VIII in Denver. The Denver MERS Operations Center also serves as the FEMA Alternate Operations Center-West. The Denver MERS and Region VIII staff are coordinating with the space weather community to better understand space weather impacts on critical infrastructure, and are also coordinating with SWPC to ensure appropriate space weather alerts and warnings are received and redistributed to emergency responders across the Nation. This presentation will provide a summary of the recent space weather efforts in FEMA Region VIII and the Denver MERS.
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