FEMA’s Kelly Hudson: Facilitating Unity Between the States and the Feds

Kelly Hudson is an external affairs officers with FEMA, and is based in Region IX, Oakland, California. She’s worked for FEMA for 12 years, with ten of those in Region IX.

Kelly Hudson stands close to the Pu'u O'o lava flow, June 2014
Kelly Hudson stands close to the Pu’u O’o lava flow, June 2014

In this episode (#21) she reflects on the many major disasters she’s worked and talks about the challenges of each and lessons learned. She was still a newbie when Hurricane Katrina hit and was dispatched to help with communications as on-scene public information officer. She and her team were escorted by armed guards due to the dangerous nature of angry and desperate locals. She also candidly discusses how, in her eagerness, she got ahead of the messaging curve and told the media too much too soon; that’s a lesson she urges anyone who deals with the media to remember. Kelly also shares her own ways of surviving the chaos of hectic disaster responses, and how it’s important to take care of “Number-1.”

 

 

 

Kelly Hudson and Robb Mayberry stand at the front of FEMA Region IX's Regional Response Coordination Center
Kelly Hudson and Robb Mayberry stand at the front of FEMA Region IX’s Regional Response Coordination Center

 

Kelly’s list of major disaster responses are impressive:

External Affairs Officer, Wildfires, Northern California (2015)

External Affairs Officer, Pu’u ‘O’O Lava Flow, Hawaii (2014)

External Affairs Officer, Tropical Storm Iselle, Hawaii (2014)

External Affairs Officer, Tropical Storm Halong, Guam (2014)

External Affairs Officer, Severe Storms, American Samoa (2014)

External Affairs Officer, Hurricane Irene (2011)

Deputy External Affairs Officer, Joplin, Mo. tornado (2011)

External Affairs Liaison, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2010)

External Affairs Lead, Tsunami and flooding, American Samoa (2009)

Assistant External Affairs Officer, North Dakota floods (2009)

Deputy External Affairs Officer, Hurricane Ike (2008)

External Affairs Officer, Southern California wildfires (2008)

Executive Officer, Southern California wildfires (2007)

News Desk Lead/Public Information Officer, Hurricane Katrina (2005)

Researcher and Writer/Public Information Officer, New Jersey floods (2005)

Researcher and Writer, Hurricane Ivan (2004)

Links

FEMA Region IX

FEMA Region IX Leadership

Pu’u O’o Lava Flow

Pahoa

 

Shawn Boyd

Shawn Boyd joined Cal OES as a public information officer in 2014 after a 20-year career in television news as a reporter, anchor and executive producer. He's a Cal State Sacramento alum and former US Navy yeoman and Air Force brat.

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