City of Abilene receiving additional help with tornado recovery and relief effort

KTXS 12| May 27, 2019
By Nicholas Teresky

ABILENE, Texas — The City of Abilene has requested additional assistance in recovering from the tornado that touched down in the city on May 18.

The City of Abilene and 2-1-1 Texas have summoned an Emergency Management – Incident Management Team (IMT) to provide further help with the recovery effort after the city’s tornado on May 18.

“Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today.”

September is “National Preparedness Month”

 FEMA estimates that 70 percent of Americans haven’t practiced or prepared for an emergency. Even with 24/7 news stories of disasters devastating communities across the U.S. and throughout the world, most families and individuals alike aren’t thinking about floods, wildfires, hurricanes, power outages and other serious events that could happen at any time. The emergency management industry is hoping that recognizing September as National Preparedness Month will change that.
As a national leader in emergency preparedness, BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (BCFS EMD) wants you to be just as prepared as our responders during dire situations.
If this is your first time preparing, here are a few helpful ideas to get started:
  • Every community is different. Do your homework to ensure your plan fits your community.
  • Communication is vital. Speak to everyone when preparing. Speak to everyone throughout the incident. The more informed your network is, the better your chances of survival.
  • Preparedness kits aren’t all alike. Be sure to identify the particular items you and your family will need to survive. This includes medication, equipment and even comfort items.
  • Don’t just plan, PRACTICE! Designate a day every couple of months for your family to practice your plan. Just like top athletes, through practice and muscle memory will help you execute when the pressure is really on.
Just like communities, BCFS EMD has to remain prepared at all times. As a non-profit partner of federal, state and local government and private industries, our team is always updating and refining our skills and knowledge. Our training and exercises provide tailored preparation to any state, jurisdiction or health care entity’s needs. By implementing hands-on workshops and exercises, BCFS EMD helps strengthen the knowledge of communities and organizations seeking further response insight.
BCFS President and CEO Kevin C. Dinnin said it best when he said, “By empowering communities and organizations with the best measures to ensure their safety, BCFS EMD strives to make every individual ready for the worst potential scenarios in their life. We take great pride in being part of these preparations and training.”
Don’t be left unprepared. Make the commitment this month to ensuring you and your family are prepared if — and when — emergencies happen. 
To learn more about National Preparedness Month, visit Ready.gov/September. And for more details on BCFS EMD, visit BCFSEMD.org.

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division Appoints Resource Director to Ensure Readiness

BCFS Names Davenport Director of Warehouse, Fleet and Technology Resources

Photo: Davenport

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (BCFS EMD) has named William Davenport its Director of Warehouse, Fleet and Technology Resources. As a national partner of local, state and federal agencies during times of emergency, it is critical that BCFS EMD have impeccable inventorying and inspection of resources, as well as maintenance of an extensive vehicle fleet that includes multiple 18-wheeler mobile command platforms, fire engines, mobile medical clinics, box trucks, generators and more, all ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.

Davenport has spent his career on the front lines of disaster response. He served more than 35 years with the San Antonio Fire Department in roles that included firefighting, technical rescue, communications, and technical services. He joined BCFS EMD in 2008 and has filled vital roles on the organization’s incident management team during several major responses, ensuring continuity of communications technology, fleet readiness and logistical execution. He has also overseen the integration of BCFS EMD’s communications technology with a number of local and state-run communications equipment, ensuring immediate interoperability when BCFS EMD is tasked to support government responses.
“Bill is always one of the first responders to report for duty in the morning, and oftentimes one of the last to leave,” said Kari Tatro, EVP/COO – Administration, Education & Emergency Operations . “His dedication is undeniable, and his thoroughness and ability to move fast makes him an important member of our emergency management team.”
For more information about BCFS EMD, visit BCFSEMD.org.
# # #

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division is a non-profit partner of federal, state and local government and private industry, specializing in emergency management, incident management, disaster response, public health & medical emergency response, mass care, mass fatality planning, medical sheltering and planning for vulnerable populations.

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1-November 30. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a “below-normal” season, it is critical for individuals, families and communities in areas vulnerable to storms to be prepared.

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1-November 30. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a “below-normal” season, it is critical for individuals, families and communities in areas vulnerable to storms to be prepared.

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (BCFS EMD) specializes in emergency management, incident management, disaster medical response, mass care, medical sheltering and planning for vulnerable populations. When disaster strikes, our Incident Management Team can have boots on the ground anywhere in the U.S. within 48 hours. BCFS EMD personnel have responded to every major critical incident in the U.S. in the past 12 years, including several hurricanes, the 9/11 Terrorist Attack, the H1N1 flu pandemic and a number of tornados, fires, floods, hazardous material spills and earthquakes.

BCFS Receives National Contract to Deploy Case Management Teams During Disasters

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division receives national contract to deploy case management teams to disaster-affected states, tribes and territories

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (BCFS EMD) was contracted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR) to provide immediate disaster case management services to any state, tribe, and territories in the U.S. affected by a natural or man-made disaster – like a hurricane, earthquake, terrorist attack or hazardous materials incident.
BCFS EMD will develop a national turnkey capability to rapidly deploy teams to provide immediate disaster case management services as tasked by ACF. If a disaster strikes, a team of trained disaster case managers and emergency responders can be deployed to the disaster site within 72-hours to begin meeting the needs of survivors and those impacted by the disaster. ACF deploys its Immediate Disaster Case Management Program when activated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). ACF IDCM is one alternative available to FEMA for the Federal Disaster Case Management Program.
The BCFS Disaster Case Management Team (DCMT) will include case managers, community coordination specialists, logistics specialists, database specialists, and financial coordinators. Teams will be totally self-sufficient and supported by the EMD Incident Management Team (IMT) with full operational, logistical and planning capability. The BCFS teams will provide staffing for ACF’s IDCM missions as directed by OHSEPR.
The DCMT will identify survivors’ most critical needs including food, clothing, shelter, medical care, immediate mental health needs; and secondary needs including child care, temporary housing, financial aid, prescriptions, transportation, utilities, and physical safety and security.
“We believe the effective development of deployable disaster case management resources by the federal government fills a critical role in national preparedness and recovery,” says Kari Tatro, BCFS’ Executive Vice President for Emergency Management Operations. “We are positioned to support the development of a truly unique, national infrastructure that is reflective of our existing deployment model for IMT and Disaster Medical Staffing Teams (DMST).”
BCFS EMD is highly experienced in deploying hundreds of staff for extended periods of response and recovery. Currently BCFS EMD maintains multiple deployable teams with various disciplines, including over 350 case managers, an all-hazards IMT and DMSTs.
The one-year contract includes four optional annual renewal years by OHSEPR.
BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations that operates over 74 different programs on a daily basis, covering a range of health and human services.
“Our organizational capacity in residential, community-based and emergency management services allows us to leverage the expertise and resources of our divisions during catastrophic incidents,” says Thelma Gutierrez, BCFS EMD Program Manager.
BCFS has extensive experience with emergency operations’ coordination and plan development through numerous responses to incidents, including the Branch Davidian Incident; Southeast Asia Tsunami; Hurricanes Emily, Katrina, Rita, Dean, Dolly, Gustav, Ike and Alex; Haiti Earthquake; Eagle Pass Tornado; FLDS Event; Texas Wildfire Response; and H1N1 Flu.
In 2012 and again in 2014, BCFS was tasked by ACF’s Office of Refugee Resettlement with providing turn-key emergency sheltering, including disaster case management services, to thousands of youth when an unprecedented number of unaccompanied, undocumented youth entered the United States. BCFS Health and Human Services provided comprehensive services – including case management, educational, medical, and recreation – for several thousand children.
BCFS HHS has remained at the forefront of every major disaster affecting Texas since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when BCFS HHS, at the request of the State of Texas, sheltered over 1,700 medical evacuees for approximately 8 weeks.
BCFS Health and Human Services has become a trusted partner of local, state and national organizations to provide comprehensive planning, management and response for disasters. For more information about BCFS’ Emergency Management Division, visit www.BCFSEMD.org.

Ten Years Later, Sri Lanka Hit by Another Devastating Natural Disaster

U.S.-based humanitarian organization, Children’s Emergency Relief International, aids families affected by widespread flooding

By: Leonard Favela
BATTICALOA , SRI LANKA — On December 23, 2014, nearing the tenth anniversary of the devastating 2004 tsunami that claimed more than 226,000 souls and left Indonesia’s island nations and the lives of their people utterly destroyed, BCFS’ overseas division Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI) received notification of torrential rainfall in Sri Lanka. In only a few days, the rains sparked massive flooding and mudslides across the region, driving thousands out of their homes — and CERI into action.
Since responding to the tsunami a decade ago, CERI has operated a foster care program in two of the hardest hit cities — Batticaloa and Weligama — focused on reuniting or finding safe, loving families for children who are orphaned. In-country staff conduct trauma and loss counseling for children overcoming loss and hardships, and distribute microloans to ambitious foster parents who are entrepreneurs looking to break the cycles of poverty in their families and rural communities.
As the waters rose last month, CERI again found itself searching for children and families through waterlogged streets, and helping many among the 100,000 people affected by floods find refuge and food after their homes were destroyed.
Daily reports were sent back to the states by CERI South Asia National Director Anita Ramesh. Three CERI foster homes were damaged beyond repair, but by God’s grace, every family and child was accounted for. While the organization was able to coordinate temporary housing for families that were displaced, the organization’s goal is to rebuild the homes that were lost.
After flood waters completely receded, many families asked if they could return to their homes and neighborhoods. It is customary for Sri Lankan families to spend the New Year in their homes, performing thorough cleaning — symbolic of purging the previous year, and preparing for a prosperous year to come. CERI staff helped many families prepare their homes for their New Year’s customs, but others’ were too heavily damaged by the flooding. Those families moved in temporarily with relatives or neighbors.
CERI provided all families who returned to their neighborhoods with essential dry goods and water for immediate use. CERI staff asked families to list necessary household items destroyed by the disaster and, thanks to the support of its U.S.-based parent organization BCFS, was able to replace such items immediately.
“I am always inspired by the bravery and resiliency of those we serve around the world,” said Dr. Dearing Garner, CERI Executive Director. “In the wake of such tragedy, hope shined as brightly as it did a decade ago thanks to the prayers and support from not only our Sri Lanka staff but also our many friends and sponsors here in the United States.”
Check out pictures of CERI’s response and recovery efforts in Sri Lanka on Facebook.
For more information about CERI’s work around the world, please visit CERIkids.org.