As the world’s focus on mobile computing intensifies, several USDA agencies are working towards solutions for technology users in an off-line environment. These agencies are developing mobile applications that allow workers to input and collect data in the field, help firefighters share wildland fire information as it happens, and keep employees in the field and out of the office connected – all without a Wi-Fi connection.
With more and more organizations embracing the mobility movement as a way to improve communication and productivity, off-line technology users are in danger of being left behind. Without connectivity, their tablets and smartphones are little more than costly accessories. They cannot share essential information with their colleagues. They waste valuable time travelling to a fixed workstation to submit paperwork – paperwork that they could have otherwise submitted via a mobile tablet. Bottom line: users of USDA applications need the ability to work anywhere, whether they are connected or not. Read more »
(left to right) Chief Tom Tidwell, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Smokey Bear at today’s ceremony. (Photo by Bob Nichols, USDA)
Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger received a U.S. Forest Service badge and jacket during a special ceremony in Washington, D.C., naming him an Honorary Forest Ranger for his work on climate change issues.
“I know you understand what we need to do as a nation to reduce the level of carbon in the atmosphere — after all, you have helped lead the way,” U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said to Schwarzenegger during the ceremony at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “We look forward to having your help in educating communities on the devastating impacts of climate change on our forests and grasslands.”
Schwarzenegger said the honor “truly touches my heart” and expressed high praise for the agency and highlighted his respect for the thousands of Forest Service firefighters, especially as climate change effects have contributed to hotter, longer fire seasons. Read more »
U.S. Forest Service crewmember Bill Scripp finishes the job of sawing downed trees at Forest Park in Queens, NY on Nov. 4, 2012 to make passage safe for residents. The park is a major walking thoroughfare, including popular recreational trails. Bill Scripp belongs to the Wayne National Forest, in Ohio Valley, OH. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.
All this week, Americans are pausing to reflect on the devastation caused when Hurricane Sandy slammed ashore on the eastern seaboard. Over 160 people died, property was damaged, lives were disrupted, families were torn apart and jobs were affected.
USDA helped the recovery effort in a number of ways, and while we are proud of our work, we also learned from the experience in order to assist those affected by future catastrophes.
Our first task was helping those who were facing hunger. Following a disaster, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provides nutrition assistance to disaster survivors through disaster USDA Foods Distribution Programs and by authorizing the implementation of the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D SNAP). In addition, FNS approves waivers that simplify the SNAP benefit replacement process to aid ongoing SNAP households affected by a disaster. Read more »
Forest Service firefighters work to contain a wildland fire. (U.S. Forest Service)
Few would ever take jobs that require one to literally run toward fire—and possible death—but that’s exactly what countless firefighters did last year. Seventy-three of those heroes didn’t live to tell about it. Their deaths happened on U.S. Forest Service-managed lands, in public and privately-owned buildings and just about any place fire can burn.
These fallen firefighters were remembered during a tribute held at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md. Oct.6. The National Firefighters Foundation has sponsored this national event every October since 1992 to honor all firefighters who died in the line of duty the previous year. Read more »
Firefighter trainees dig out a fire line during the Forest Service and California Conservation Corps joint training session. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
The U.S. Forest Service has partnered with the California Conservation Corps to provide firefighter training for military veterans.
“Fire and Aviation Management is particularly appealing because of the significance of our mission and our well-defined organization,” said Robert Baird, deputy director of Fire and Aviation Management for the Forest Service. Read more »
Pacific Northwest Rappel Academy students practice their trade. US Forest Service photo.
Rappellers are firefighters who are delivered to remote and inaccessible wildfires by means of dropping down a rope from helicopters hovering 250 feet high.
Earlier this month over 50 veteran Forest Service rappellers throughout the West prepared for a new fire season with training and recertification classes in Oregon and Idaho. Read more »