The State of Wyoming Office of Homeland Security recently welcomed the first member of its Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Integration Team (FIT).
“We are excited to explore this opportunity for partnership with FEMA,” Lynn Budd, director of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security said. “The rural nature of Wyoming’s communities creates challenges that are not seen in other states. Having a FEMA team embedded within our agency helps FEMA understand our unique challenges and will assist us in serving Wyoming communities.”
The effort enables the state’s emergency management services to have an in-house communication channel with FEMA Region VIII in Denver. The FIT program is an initiative FEMA started last year and is the first national effort to have staff permanently co-located and working with state partner agencies.
“Our state partners know that we are always just a phone call away, but with the implementation of the FIT program, they now have FEMA down the hall so-to-speak,” Lee K. dePalo, regional administrator for FEMA Region VIII, said. “The ability to have face-to-face conversations with a FEMA representative who understands Wyoming’s unique needs will build more resilient communities and ensure more effective operations before, during, and after an incident.”
Steve Ammons will serve as Wyoming’s first FIT member and team lead. He has worked in various leadership and management roles during his 23-year Air Force career and was responsible for emergency planning at Andrews Air Force Base, the home of Air Force One.