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National Partnership for Reinventing Government

July 17, 2000

Averting Disaster Damage in Tillamook County — a Case Study

Floods in Tillamook County, Oregon, in the winter of 1996, forced thousands of people from their homes, destroyed highways and businesses, and drowned more than 700 dairy cows. Federal help covered about $8 million, but uncompensated losses totaled $53 million - a devastating blow for a small county of 25,000 people with average incomes of $18,000 a year.


The Perfect Storm Plan

Government Agencies Can Help

Storms happen. So do other disasters.

In the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, it’s wise to be alert — and prepared.

The storm that took Captain Billy Tyne by surprise off the coast of Nova Scotia in October 1991 was more than a hurricane. It was a puzzling convergence of weather conditions so rare that scientists have called it the "perfect storm."

Billy and his small crew on the Andrea Gail perished in waves more than 100 feet high. The boat was never found. This true story was first a book, and now a hit movie. The Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service had important roles — government workers just doing their job, and a heroic one at that.

FEMA: The Emergency Preparedness Hub

Preparedness is the answer to reducing the loss of lives and property when disasters hit. The agency that is charged with helping us survive disasters is also charged with helping us get ready for them — the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Both FEMA and the National Weather Service are designated high impact agencies (HIAs) by the National Partnership for Reinventing Government. A HIA is an agency that serves a large majority of Americans.

Much can be done to prevent or reduce the impact of disasters, the loss and suffering - to manage emergencies and disasters, says FEMA Director James Lee Witt.

You Need to Plan

FEMA works with other federal agencies, state, and local emergency management agencies, and local governments to help communities get ready for disasters.

They need to plan. So do individuals.

The government websites below will help you make the perfect disaster-preparedness plan.

Disaster Preparedness, Relief, and Recovery

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

NASA's Disaster Finder

National Interagency Fire Center

Wildland Fire Prevention and Education

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) works closely with the FEMA in response and recovery missions.

U.S. Small Business Administration

Small Business Disaster Assistance

Administration on Aging

Department of Agriculture

U.S. Geological Survey

    Geographic Information Systems

    GIS software products can turn raw data about populations, highways, biological resources, disease, the environment, and crime statistics into understandable maps or displays that can support community planning. An example is where to develop flood control and where to protect specific property.

American Red Cross

National Governors Association Emergency Management Best Practices

Online Storm Alerts and Tracking

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Coast Guard

National Institute of Standards and Technology


Other Links

State Hurricane or Disaster Sites

About the Author

List compiled by Patricia B. Wood, editor, Access America E-Gov E-Zine. Pat is a member of the Communications Team at the National Partnership for Reinventing Government. You may reach her at or (202) 694-0063.

Press Contact: Kelly Paisley, National Partnership for Reinventing Government, or (202) 694-0051.