FEMA Mitigation Best Practices: Spreading the Word Saves Lives   [open pdf - 29KB]

"This document is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Best Practices Portfolio. The Best Practices Portfolio is a collection of true stories about people and communities who have experienced disasters, and what mitigation they used to survive, rebuild, and prepare for disasters." From the document: "One week before the tsunami came crashing down on dozens of villages in American Samoa on September 29, 2009, many teachers from the town of Tula noticed that whales and dolphins had been surfacing in areas where they hadn't been seen before, and took their classes to see them. In retrospect, some now wonder if unusual activity in the sea life might have been a sign of things to come. It was a good thing that the students had been taking a number of field trips that week. Weeks prior to the earthquake, tsunami, and flooding, the American Samoan Department of Homeland Security (ASDHS) and Department of Education had led a comprehensive preparedness outreach program, emphasizing evacuation readiness to schools throughout the island. This helped tremendously when the tsunami struck. Moreover, in keeping with September being declared National Preparedness Month by President Obama, American Samoa focused on tsunami evacuation procedures. 'Spreading the word through education in the schools, villages, and the workforce saved many lives,' says Governor Togiola Tulafono. 'Sirens and early alert systems and interoperable communications are critical, but it was the people on the ground that made the biggest difference.'" This and other individual FEMA Best Practices documents are also combined in "Mitigation Best Practices: Public and Private Sector Best Practice Stories for All Activity/Project Types in All States and Territories Relating to All Hazards [August 10, 2011]," which can be accessed at the following link: [https://www.hsdl.org/?abstract&did=683132]

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