Brock Long named FEMA administrator

Brock Long is the newly confirmed administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Long is from North Carolina and has more than 16 years of experience assisting and supporting local, state, and federal governments in building emergency management and public health preparedness programs. Since 2011, he has been executive vice president at Hagerty Consulting, where he directs the firm’s full complement of emergency management programs and professionals. Some of his other affiliations include the following: executive for projects that ranged from attack scenario exercises to designing multijurisdictional, all-hazard evacuation plans for major Urban Area Security Initiative designated jurisdictions; director of Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency, where he coordinated 14 disasters; and on-scene state incident commander for the Alabama Unified Command during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He previously was a FEMA regional hurricane program manager and a hurricane and evacuation liaison team leader.

Coalition promotes strong building codes

The BuildStrong Coalition, a group of firefighters, emergency responders, insurers, engineers, architects, contractors, manufacturers, consumer organizations, code specialists, and others committed to building a more resilient America, hosted the National Thoughts Leaders Forum on Disaster Mitigation Resiliency for a Stronger and Safer America in June. The forum, according to the Congressional Fire Service Institute (CFSI), a member of the group since 2011, reports that the Coalition “continues to advocate for the adoption of strong building codes at the local, state, and federal levels” and recognizes the “impact strong building codes can have in saving lives and taxpayer dollars.”

The agenda included exploring incentives for strengthening buildings and mitigating damage from natural disasters.

Congressmen Lou Barletta (PA-11) and Lloyd Smucker (PA-16) and Senator Ron Johnson (WI) addressed the forum, discussing the need to reform the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster assistance programs from the perspectives of improving protection for the public and maximizing cost efficiency.

A Stakeholder Roundtable featured subject matter experts from a variety of fields, including the fire and emergency services. The panel emphasized the need for federal incentives to encourage state and local governments to adopt model building codes. Bill Webb, executive director of the CFSI and a panelist, noted: “Studies, research, and real-life events make a compelling case for greater adoption and enforcement of nationally recognized building codes.” Providing incentives to encourage more states to adopt these codes as part of a national mitigation strategy, he said, will reduce the cost of natural disasters for all levels of government and the risk of death and injuries to citizens and first responders.

Public safety broadband Web site launched

The AllThingsFirstNet.com Web site will present information, news, and analyses for the first responder community as the nation moves toward a nationwide public safety broadband network. The site, created to support the FirstNet mission and make available the smart technology needed to strengthen communications and facilitate knowledge exchange, features some of the best‐known commentary and insights in the industry, including Andy Seybold’s newsletter Public Safety Advocate. Seybold has been deeply involved in the public safety community and brings to the arena more than 40 years of experience earned as a first responder, commercial vendor, consultant, writer, and educator. He is Public Safety’s advocate before the Federal Communications Commission and the commercial wireless industry. “Implementing a nationwide public safety broadband network is paramount to protecting the citizens in our communities,” says Seybold. “All Things FirstNet will be an essential hub for the public safety community as it realizes this vision.” Allthingsfirstnet.com is owned and operated by RMC Media LLC.

LINE-OF-DUTY DEATHS

June 10. Firefighter Lawrence Matthews, 35, Dolton Village (IL) Fire Department: cause to be reported.

June 14. Chief Edward Switalski, 55, Comstock Township (MI) Department of Fire and Rescue: struck by a vehicle while picking up equipment near rescue unit at the scene of a motor vehicle accident.

June 19. Firefighter Jeffery Mason Sanders, 55, Mayview (MO) Fire Protection District: struck by vehicle while on a “wire down” call.

June 22. Firefighter John C. Cammack, 74, Nara Visa (NM) Fire Department: injuries sustained in a fall from the back of an apparatus on June 21 while escaping from wind-driven wildfire flames.

July 6. Firefighter Ronda Sylvest Varnado, 54, Washington Parish Fire Protection District #2, Franklinton, LA: injuries sustained when the loaded water truck he was driving overturned.

July 8. Fire Engine Operator William “Bill” Jaros, 38, Six Rivers National Forest-Gasquet Ranger District/Smith River National Recreation Area, Eureka, CA: collapsed while on a conditioning hike; cause of death under investigation.

July 11. Inmate Firefighter Frank Anaya, 22, Cal-Fire, Sacramento, CA: chainsaw injury to leg suffered on July 5.

Source: USFA Firefighters Memorial Database

 

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