Welcome back to school and to Week 1 of CLP’s weekly current event for teachers! When disaster strikes, we look for help. This CLP Current Event highlights the incredible work of government and FEMA, first responders, non-government organizations and volunteers. “Look for the helpers,” said Fred Rogers. “You will always find people who are helping.” We are reminded of this once again when looking at the path of Harvey, Irma, and the Eagle Creek fire in our own backyard. Brought to teachers by Susie Marcus, CLP consultant, with CLP staff.

CLP CURRENT EVENTS: September 12, 2017

TOPIC: WHEN DISASTER STRIKES – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)


a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure. … Disaster, calamity, catastrophe, cataclysm refer to adverse happenings often occurring suddenly and unexpectedly.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.” ― Fred Rogers

The Role of Government in a Disaster, The Role of Government in a Disaster – A Report by the U of Florida
CLP says: understandable outline with helpful definitions and explanations, Wikipedia
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security …
CLP says: yes, Wikipedia for a good overview!

NEWS SOURCES (7 total)

Frustrated first responders have to ignore Irma 911 calls
by Elizabeth Cohen and Debra Goldschmidt, CNN, Sept. 11, 2017
“winds were so high that emergency services in many areas were suspended to protect the rescuers…”

Wave of Disasters Put Strain on FEMA and Relief Groups
by Jaie Avila, News4San Antonio, Sept. 8, 2017
“… ’Your federal government is working as diligently as we can to make certain we can respond to whatever needs arise,’ said HHS Secretary Tom Price.”
CLP: good, current, short introduction to the issues

With Harvey And Now Irma, Federal Funds And FEMA Are Put To The Test
by Brian Naylor, NPR, Sept. 8, 2017
“… There is at least one more hurricane on the immediate horizon, and it isn’t even the peak of the season yet. The agency is also providing funds to help fight wildfires in the West…”
CLP says: in addition to FEMA, also learn about ‘Cajun Navy’ volunteers



  • What is a disaster?
  • What is the role of the federal government? What is the role of local government? What is the role of mayors and governors? How do the executive and legislative branches of the government function in an emergency? What is the role of non-governmental (NGO) agencies? What is the role of individual citizens? What is the role of volunteers?
  • What is a declaration of emergency?
For more questions to consider

Background and More (5 total)

Lesson Plans (5 total)

Constitutional Connections

Oregon Connections

Oregon State Social Science Standards

We the People Lesson Connections

Download Word version – CLP Current Event_When Disaster Strikes_FEMA

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