FEMA challenged the public to share ideas for community-based activities to help everyone prepare for disaster.

Sharing the Responsibility to Protect Communities Against the Impacts of Disasters


To come up with ideas on how we can all help prepare our communities before disaster strikes and how the government can support community-based activities to help everyone be more prepared.

The sky is the limit. We want ideas from across the spectrum, from within whichever field you work, for whatever community in which you live. If you’re a doctor, what role can the medical community play? If you’re an artist, how can you use your medium to contribute?

This could be a new project or means of engaging the public to prepare for disasters on the individual or family level; a public service announcement about business preparedness to play on local radio or TV stations; or a new device, technology, application or piece of equipment to mitigate the effects of disaster.

Submissions will be judged based on originality, level of community engagement, and ease of implementation.


At the 2010 TEDMED Conference in San Diego, CA, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate spoke about the need to expand the emergency management team and engage all Americans in better preparing our communities before disaster strikes.

The conference included business leaders, journalists, entertainment figures, scientists, artists and authors, who discussed how their diverse fields intersect with health and medicine.

Administrator Fugate took the opportunity to challenge his fellow attendees to come up with ideas on how we can better prepare communities before disasters strike.

Since it was a medical conference, he used a medical metaphor:

Every year, natural hazards strike communities across the country and around the world. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, tornadoes—no matter where you live, disasters and emergencies can hit with little or no warning. 

And just like a disease infects your body, disasters affect entire communities, damaging what makes them great.

Time and time again, we see communities come together after a disaster, working with governments, volunteers, faith-based and non-profit groups, the private sector, and on an individual level to recover from the damage that was caused. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supports these efforts in cases when a disaster outmatches the capabilities of our state and local partners.

But, isn’t there more we can do long before disaster strikes?  As individuals we take action to stay health and protect our bodies from disease, through vaccinations, doctor appointments, physical activity, and in many other ways.  Shouldn’t we be thinking about protecting our communities in the same way?

At FEMA, we are always encouraging the American public to be prepared, to visit http://www.ready.gov.  But we are also always trying to engage the public to find new ways to prepare for disasters before they strike. It comes down to a simple question that everyone should consider: isn’t there more we can all be doing to share the responsibility to be prepared?

How can we—as we play our many roles as part of businesses, governments, medical and emergency response fields, community groups, schools and families—make our communities more resilient?

In short - Is there some way we can inoculate our communities against the impacts of disasters?

The Administrator may have announced the challenge at TEDMED – but we would like everyone to participate. 

And Now a Message From Our Lawyers: Comments and Ideas

All comments will be reviewed for appropriate content. Please show respect to those you are addressing when submitting comments. Comments that are off-topic or include abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, advertisements or endorsements of products or similar content will not be posted on this channel. We reserve the right to determine which comments are acceptable for this page.

This is a public forum and any information provided in comments may be publicly available to the public. As such, please do not include personal details such as: a FEMA case number, social security number, or any other information you do not want available to the general public. If you choose to post personal information you do so at your own risk. FEMA disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from any comments posted on this page. This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

By posting a comment the user acknowledges that he/she owns the copyright to the idea and grants FEMA a royalty free unconditional license to post the idea on this site and other FEMA controlled sites and to provide a copy of the idea in paper or electronic format to any entity if required by Federal Law.

To submit your idea, you must either register on this site which involves giving your personal information to ChallengePost.  Before doing so, FEMA strongly encourages that you read the privacy policies on challenge.gov and challengepost.com carefully. FEMA will not be collecting any of your information in this registration process. If you wish to submit your idea without using this site, please email: FEMA-New-Media@dhs.gov

FEMA does not endorse any non-government Web sites, companies or applications.

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First Prize

The best, most unique idea will be selected as the winner and will be highlighted on FEMA’s website (www.fema.gov).

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


FEMA Leadership

FEMA Leadership

Judging Criteria

  • The Criteria
    Submissions will be judged based on originality, level of community engagement, and ease of implementation.