Megan Graham

megan grahamMegan Graham is an emergency preparedness planner in the City of Jacksonville’s Emergency Preparedness Division. As part of her job, she helps keep citizens safe by developing emergency plans and monitoring conditions during major weather events, like hurricanes. Knowing she would be hard at work during Hurricane Irma, Megan made a critical decision in order to protect a beloved family member: her five-year-old Basset hound, Ruby. However, she couldn’t have done it without help from a good friend.
 
"My best friend, David, drove from Durham, North Carolina to Jacksonville and back with the sole mission to evacuate Ruby,” she explained. 
 
Megan decided Ruby’s evacuation was best due to the anticipated severity of the storm and its projected path.
 
“The forecast looked so bad…it was safe and best for her to go somewhere else,” she said.
 
Now the rescue pooch is safe with North Carolina family members. 
 
Her relatives took notice of her decision: “It signaled to them that this storm was something to take seriously. I think some of them evacuated when they may not have otherwise. My mom has been telling people, ‘You know it’s bad if Megan has evacuated her dog.”
 
Megan said Floridians often don’t evacuate because they have become desensitized to hurricane threats.
 
She expressed: “There’s a shared complacency among Florida residents because it’s been a while since we’ve had a storm like this, but this is serious. It’s better to leave and have nothing happen than to stay and put your life at risk. I cherish Ruby and I’m taking every measure to keep her safe; others should do the same with their lives. ”
 
Megan said she hopes all pet owners consider their furry companions during emergency times and advises them to “prepare for your pets too.”


Erika McManus

erika mcmanusNo one can quite make 4-month-old Kerri smile like her mother, Erika McManus (pictured left), a senior captain with the Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department (JFRD). But while Erika and her husband, Stephen, a JFRD Captain, serve as on-duty personnel at the Emergency Operations Center during Hurricane Irma, Kerri’s 4-year-old brother, Connor, assured Mom he would fill in the gap.
 
As Erika’s parents care for their beloved grandchildren, she and her husband are caring for the citizens of Jacksonville. With more than 20 years of combined experience, the two are conducting integral services resulting from the City’s emergency activation order. Throughout the storm, Erika is assigned to the Planning Department, which oversees documentation and tracking of all emergency-related activities and assignments. Stephen works with the Health & Medical team, and coordinates care for special needs citizens.
 
“We love being here at the EOC. To care for people and make sure they are protected – it’s why we signed up for the job,” Erika said. “But it is no doubt a big sacrifice.” This is the first time Erika and Stephen have left both children. “I know they are in good hands with their grandparents, but I’m still anxious, nervous, and sad,” she added. “I call them about six times a day.”
 
When asked the first thing she will do when she gets home, she replies without hesitation: “Hug my babies, of course.” 

We owe the McManuses a big hug for their sacrifice and commitment to Jacksonville citizens.
 

Joe and Teresa Kinstle

Joe and Teresa KinstleCaptain Joe and Assistant Chief Teresa Kinstle are die-hard athletes and sports enthusiasts. On a weekend when Teresa would have been training hard for an upcoming IRONMAN, she and her husband of almost 12 years are working hard as emergency operations officials for Hurricane Irma. The pair, who has 34 years of combined experience with Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department (JFRD), is working a 24-hour shift to serve and support the needs of citizens and communities throughout the city. 

Throughout emergency activation storm, Captain J. Kinstle has been assigned as a member of the Operations team, which works collaboratively to reduce the vulnerability of damage, injury, and loss to staff, citizens and property. Assistant Chief of Recruitment T. Kinstle is an assigned member of the public information office, ensuring the accurate and prompt dissemination of information to citizens during and after the storm. 

They love each other, their work, and their city. Thank you Kinstles for your service!