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A Final Message from FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor

This is Administrator Gaynor's last message to emergency managers.

(Wednesday, Jan. 20)

This was distributed by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). Note: I will also be sharing an out briefing interview I did with Pete Gaynor via a written interview format. Watch for that coming soon. See below for what was shared today by IAEM:

Fellow Emergency Managers,

Today at 11:59 a.m. my role as the leader of this agency will come to an end. I joined FEMA in October 2018 as the Deputy FEMA Administrator, then became the Acting FEMA Administrator and am now leaving as the 11th FEMA Administrator, and for a short time, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. These past 27 months have been the pinnacle of my public safety career.

The opportunity to lead and work alongside the nation’s finest emergency managers dedicated to helping people before, during, and after disasters has been an incredible honor. Your partnership and friendship throughout my time here – especially during the historic year of 2020 with a global pandemic, and record-setting wildfires and hurricanes – has been extraordinary. Your selfless actions unquestionably saved lives and minimized suffering during a crucial moment in United States history.

As we approach the 12-month mark of our nation’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, I want to start by thanking you all for the heroic efforts through an incredible partnership and journey in our unified response to the disease. However, the fight is not over yet, and we all must continue to respond to and mitigate the deadly impacts of COVID-19.

Every day we get closer to placing COVID-19 behind us. This effort has been helped by more available personal protective equipment, new therapeutics and the development of new vaccines. Much of the American public is fatigued and anxious to return to a pre-COVID normal. To achieve this, we must continue to champion those actions that flatten the curve, such as mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and staying out of large crowds. We must continue to fight through to the end, never letting up. Continue to do what we do best: coordinate, problem-solve and act. We are emergency managers and America needs us at our best.

You have exceeded all my expectations, you have risen to every challenge, and you have served your country with pride and distinction.



Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.