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The FEMA Team

Photo of Ashley Small

Name: Ashley Small

Disaster Assistance Employee

What I Do:
When FEMA responds to a disaster they need different types of people with many different skills to get the job done. This is why FEMA calls on people like me – Disaster Assistance Employees or DAEs. When the President declares a disaster, the DAEs are called to come help FEMA.

Each DAE brings something special to FEMA from across the country. They may be firefighters or police officers, businessmen or teachers, writers or photographers. They take time from their jobs to help those in need. When you mix all of these people together with all of their different skills, you create a winning team. Every person is important to the success of the job. After they complete their task with FEMA, they go home and back to their other jobs and wait to be called to help again. There are about 4,000 DAEs around the country and we are all proud that we can contribute our special skills to the team.

My experience/education:
Before coming to help FEMA with the Hurricane Katrina Disaster I worked at a local television station where I wrote TV commercials and sold advertising. Being a FEMA Reservist allows you the opportunity to work many jobs. Currently, I work the News Desk where I handle media calls and give television reporters valuable information about FEMA. I have a Bachelors Degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from North Carolina A&T State University

Photo of William Koplitz

Name: William Koplitz

Photo Desk Coordinator

What I do:
I handle the photo desk, which collects photos from FEMA field photographers. I enter the images in the agency's photo library and make sure the captions and keywords are accurate. I also coordinate photography equipment, fill special orders for photographs from the media and all kinds of organizations, and take photographs for the FEMA web site and FEMA employee newsletter.

My experience/education:
I worked as an editorial and commercial photographer based in Florida where I also owned and operated a photographic laboratory. I have a degree in motion picture production from the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Photo of Mary Flood

Name: Mary Flood

Canine Search Specialist with Utah Task Force 1

What I do:
My dog, Jake, and I have one of the coolest jobs in FEMA! Our job is to find people after a disaster. We might go to help after a hurricane or a flood. We might be asked to help if there is an earthquake and buildings collapse. I have trained Jake to use his nose to find people. When he does, he stays there and barks to let me know where the people are. My job is to direct Jake so that he searches well.

My experience/education:
I have worked with Jake since 1996. He is my second search and rescue dog. We have worked at a couple of disasters and also done a lot of wilderness searches. Jake is 10 now so he is beginning to help me train Ramsey, another black labrador.

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