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New FEMA team housed at Camp Murray

From left, Brig. Gen. Wallace Turner with the Washington National Guard, WA EMD Director Robert Ezelle, FEMA Integration Team Justin Fordice, FEMA Regional Administrator Mike O’Hare and FEMA planners Joshua Carey and Lloyd Kimball. 

New FEMA team housed with WA EMD at Camp Murray

CAMP MURRAY, Wash. – A team with the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now permanently housed at the headquarters of the Washington Emergency Management Division to provide technical and training assistance on FEMA’s programs and continuous on-site support to the state.

While FEMA works closely with EMD through its regional office in Bothell, Wash., co-locating staff is a new initiative for the agency. The FEMA Integration Team consists of one lead and three planners, who will help with catastrophic planning, work on the upcoming Cascadia Rising 2022 exercise, telecommunications and other duties.

Regional Administrator Mike O’Hare in the state EOC.

“These will be our boots on the ground, subject matter experts,” said Regional Administrator Mike O’Hare at a meeting Aug. 27 with general staff of EMD.

 “I applaud what’s happening,” said EMD Director Robert Ezelle. “I truly appreciate FEMA’s initiative to do something like this. It’s so important that we be able to work together.”

“Providing this support will also enhance our ability to support effective response and recovery from major disasters,” O’Hare added later.

Ezelle said the FEMA staff will not replace existing state resources or take over any state duties.

FEMA Integration Teams have been rolling out across the country in the wake of the devastating hurricane season in 2017 as a means of increasing the partnership between FEMA and states, tribes and territories.  FEMA Integration Teams already exist in Oregon and Idaho.