2016 was both a challenging and rewarding year for us. We responded to fires, floods, and hurricanes, and practiced responding to a massive (hypothetical) west coast earthquake.

Our search and rescue teams accomplished countless rescues where they pulled people and pets to safety while our disaster survivor assistance teams went door-to-door, meeting with people in person and hearing fascinating stories along the way.

As the year comes to a close, we wanted share some of our favorite photos that highlight key moments in the lifecycle of a disaster, showcase the strength of survivors, and represent the work we’re here to do.


Missouri Severe Storms, Tornadoes, & Flooding: Dec 23–Jan 9

Shawn Amos walks thought flood waters back to dry land, after checking a pump keeping a home dry and surrounded by sandbags

On New Year’s Day, a man heads back to dry land after checking on the water pump and sandbag barrier he set up to protect his home from serious flooding in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.


Louisiana Severe Storms & Flooding: March 8–April 8

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate speaks at a press conference held in partnership with Governor Edwards in Louisiana. Fugate and Edwards spoke about the ongoing response to flooding in the state, and explained how flood survivors can get help from FEMA.

Our administrator and Governor Edwards held a press conference in Louisiana to discuss the response to extensive flooding across the state.


Cascadia Rising Earthquake Exercise: June 7–June 10

A soldier from the Washington National Guard stands with arm outstretched, directing a large truck over a bridge surrounded by water.

As part of our Cascadia Rising exercise, members of the 181st Brigade Support Battalion of the Washington State National Guard used vehicles to traverse ferry terminals that were “inoperable” due to a hypothetical earthquake. The exercise included over 20,000 participants from a host of agencies on all levels: federal, state, local, tribal, and voluntary.


West Virginia Severe Storms & Flooding: June 22–June 29

After the local US Post Office was damaged by late June floods, a temporary US Post Office was set up to assist affected residents.

The US Postal Service set up temporary post offices in places like Clendenin, West Virginia to ensure people were still able to receive their mail after historic level flooding.

Two West Virginia National Guard helps clean debris caused by the late June flooding of the Elk River.

It was all hands on deck in West Virginia as members of the National Guard help clear debris left behind by widespread flooding that hit the area in late June.


Louisiana Severe Storms & Flooding: Aug 11–Aug 31 

Couple embracing and standing in between a manufactured housing unit and flood damaged house.

Clyde and Jean, married for 70 years, share a cheerful moment after signing for their manufactured housing unit (pictured on the left). The unit was placed beside their property in Denham Springs, Louisiana – where they’ve lived since 1961 – after their home was damaged by large-scale flooding.

Hand made sign of pride hanging outside of a house. The sign reads

A business owner in Gonzales, Louisiana displays a sign of fortitude and pride in the wake of flooding that damaged tens of thousands of homes in the Baton Rouge area.

Portrait of a woman standing in front of a flood damaged business.

Laura of Port Vincent, Louisiana, stands in front of what’s left of her restaurant after historic and destructive flooding. The folding chair on the roof is evidence of where she sat when floodwaters topped the building’s gutters.


Hurricane Matthew (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia): Oct 3–Oct 19

Two Firefighter dog one is carrying the dog through floodwaters

Members of Missouri Task Force 1 heft a large and grateful dog to safety after rescuing him from a flooded home in Lumberton, North Carolina. The search and rescue teams navigated by boat and waded through waist-high water from record-breaking river flooding following Hurricane Matthew.

A military vehicle makes it's way through flood waters

Military vehicles make their way down a North Carolina street filled with floodwater left behind by the storm.

Three Urban Search and Rescue team members help a resident evacuate his home safely. There is ankle-deep water in the house and the resident, an elderly African-American man, is using a walker and dressed in a lifejacket.

Missouri Task Force 1 members help a North Carolina man leave his flooded home.