Who is Deanne Criswell?

Deanne Bennett Criswell is an American emergency management professional who has served as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s administrator since April 2021. Criswell previously served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Emergency Management.


Criswell graduated from Manistee’s Catholic Central High School.
She then graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in technology education, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver, and a Master of Science in homeland security from the Naval Postgraduate School.


Criswell served with the 140th Wing of the Colorado Air National Guard and was deployed to Kuwait.
She also spent 21 years as a firefighter.
Criswell oversaw the city of Aurora, Colorado’s Office of Emergency Management.
She later worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the Barack Obama administration before being appointed commissioner of the New York City Department of Emergency Management in 2019.

On February 22, 2021, her nomination to be the next FEMA administrator was submitted to the United States Senate. She was confirmed by voice vote on April 22, 2021, and sworn in on April 26, 2021, by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.


Ms. Deanne Criswell was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on April 22, 2021, becoming the 12th Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Her confirmation as the Administrator marks a historic milestone as the first woman to hold this position, leading the nation’s efforts in assisting individuals before, during, and after disasters. With an extensive 30-year career in public service, she brings a wealth of experience from all levels of government.

Before assuming her current role, Ms. Criswell served as the Commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department from 2019 to 2021. In this capacity, she played a vital role in coordinating emergency planning and response for the entire city, overseeing various crises. Notably, she successfully led the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the stability of the healthcare system, addressing food security, implementing innovative non-congregate sheltering, and supporting the largest mass fatality program in the country.

Ms. Criswell’s journey in emergency management began in Aurora, Colorado, where she spearheaded strategic change in the city’s emergency and disaster planning. During her tenure, she coordinated efforts related to transitional housing and family reunification in response to Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Prior to that, she held key positions at FEMA, including leading one of the Agency’s National Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) and serving as a Federal Coordinating Officer. In these roles, she was responsible for overseeing the agency’s response and recovery efforts in the face of emergencies and major disasters, ranging from severe floods in North Dakota to hurricanes in South Carolina and wildfires in Colorado. Additionally, she spent two years in the private sector, providing invaluable technical expertise and guidance to clients in achieving their critical missions.

With a proud 21-year service in the Colorado Air National Guard, Ms. Criswell is a decorated veteran who served in various capacities. She undertook two overseas tours, notably as a fire officer in Kuwait following the September 11, 2001 attacks, and in Qatar in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010. During her deployment, she provided expert advice to senior leadership on fire protection requirements for military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Ms. Criswell holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Colorado – Denver, and a Master of Arts in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security. Her educational background, coupled with her extensive experience, equips her with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complexities of emergency management and ensure the safety and well-being of the American people.

Ms. Criswell’s diverse background and extensive education have shaped her into a highly capable leader in the field of emergency management. Her Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University provided her with a strong foundation, while her Master of Public Administration from the University of Colorado – Denver enhanced her understanding of public governance and policy implementation.

Furthermore, Ms. Criswell pursued a Master of Arts in Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security. This specialized program deepened her knowledge of security challenges and prepared her to address complex issues in the realm of homeland defense.

Throughout her career, Ms. Criswell has consistently demonstrated her commitment to service, whether it was through her roles in government, her time in the private sector, or her service in the Colorado Air National Guard. Her experiences in the military, including her overseas deployments, have honed her leadership skills and instilled in her a deep sense of dedication and responsibility.

As the Administrator of FEMA, Ms. Criswell plays a crucial role in safeguarding the well-being of individuals and communities in times of crisis. She leads a dedicated team that works tirelessly to mitigate the impact of disasters and provide vital assistance to those in need. With her vast experience, she is well-equipped to navigate the complexities of emergency response and recovery, ensuring that FEMA remains at the forefront of disaster management efforts.

Under Ms. Criswell’s leadership, FEMA continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of hazards and emergencies. Her strategic vision, coupled with her understanding of the needs and challenges faced by communities across the nation, enables her to effectively allocate resources and implement innovative solutions.

As the first woman to hold the position of FEMA Administrator, Ms. Criswell serves as an inspiration to aspiring leaders in emergency management and beyond. Her achievements and dedication exemplify the importance of diversity and inclusivity in positions of leadership, and she continues to pave the way for future generations.

In conclusion, Ms. Deanne Criswell’s unanimous confirmation as the Administrator of FEMA is a testament to her exceptional qualifications and unwavering commitment to public service. With her extensive career in emergency management, her leadership skills, and her dedication to the well-being of individuals and communities, she is well-positioned to steer FEMA towards a safer and more resilient future.

Ms. Criswell’s impact as the Administrator of FEMA extends far beyond her confirmation. She has already made significant contributions to the agency’s mission of protecting and supporting the American people in times of crisis.

Since assuming her role, Ms. Criswell has prioritized proactive measures to enhance disaster preparedness and resilience. She understands the importance of investing in pre-disaster mitigation efforts to reduce the devastating effects of future emergencies. By promoting risk reduction strategies and working closely with communities, she aims to build a more resilient nation that can effectively withstand and recover from disasters.

Under her leadership, FEMA has strengthened partnerships with state, tribal, and local governments, as well as non-profit organizations and the private sector. These collaborations are crucial for fostering a coordinated and efficient response to emergencies, ensuring that resources and assistance reach those who need them most.

Recognizing the evolving nature of disasters, Ms. Criswell has embraced innovative technologies and data-driven approaches. By leveraging advancements in data analytics and modeling, FEMA can better assess risks, allocate resources, and make informed decisions during emergency situations. This emphasis on utilizing cutting-edge tools and practices enables FEMA to stay at the forefront of emergency management.

Furthermore, Ms. Criswell has been a staunch advocate for equity and inclusivity in disaster response and recovery efforts. She recognizes that vulnerable populations often face disproportionate impacts during emergencies and is committed to addressing these disparities. By integrating equity considerations into FEMA’s policies and programs, she strives to ensure that all individuals and communities, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances, receive equitable support and assistance.

Ms. Criswell’s leadership extends beyond the boundaries of FEMA. She actively collaborates with other federal agencies and works closely with Congress to advocate for necessary resources and policy changes that enhance the nation’s resilience. Her expertise and insights are sought after in various forums, where she contributes to shaping national strategies for disaster management.

As a testament to her capabilities and dedication, Ms. Criswell continues to earn the respect and admiration of her colleagues and the emergency management community at large. Her vision, expertise, and compassionate approach have positioned her as a trusted leader in the field.

In conclusion, Ms. Deanne Criswell’s tenure as the Administrator of FEMA has brought about positive change and innovation in the realm of emergency management. Her commitment to preparedness, resilience, equity, and collaboration sets a strong foundation for FEMA’s ongoing efforts to protect and support the American people in times of need. With her leadership, the agency is better equipped to navigate the challenges of an increasingly complex and unpredictable world, ensuring a safer and more resilient future for all.

New York City Emergency Management Department

Criswell, who previously served as commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department, was confirmed as FEMA administrator by the Senate in April, making her the agency’s first female administrator.

Criswell assisted the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, large fires, excessive heat, and blackouts – as well as events such as the New York City Marathon – during her two years in New York, according to her biography on FEMA’s website.

According to The City newspaper in New York, a report recently released by City Comptroller Scott Stringer claimed the city’s response to the pandemic was out of date and lacked critical supplies such as N95 masks for health care workers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City defended the response, stating that there is “no way to fully understand a global pandemic until you are in it, and none of us anticipated anything like this anywhere.”

In February 2020, the city discovered that its stockpile of over 100,000 N95s had run out.

In response, Criswell stated in an email last year that “no city stockpiles contain non-expired N-95 surgical grade masks.”
However, according to the newspaper, the NYC Health + Hospitals’ pandemic preparedness manual from 2019 stated that a large stockpile of personal protective equipment should always be on hand.

Stringer’s report concluded that it was unclear precisely what role Criswell’s department played in responding to the pandemic, which claimed over 33,000 lives in New York.

De Blasio lauded Criswell following President Biden’s January nomination of her for the FEMA position.

According to the AM New York newspaper, de Blasio stated, “The American people deserve leaders like Deanne Criswell.”
“Deanne has been an unflinching, knowledgeable, and highly respected member of this administration.
I’m proud of everything she’s accomplished in New York City, and I’m excited to see what she’ll accomplish in her new position.”

Criswell previously worked for FEMA in a lower-level capacity during the Obama administration, including as the leader of a national incident management assistance team and as a federal coordinating officer, where she served as the primary federal representative for major disasters, according to FEMA’s website.

FEMA faced backlash in 2005, long before Criswell arrived, for its response to Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall on New Orleans 16 years ago Sunday.

Criswell may find herself in a position similar to that of former FEMA Director Michael Brown, who led the agency during Katrina’s aftermath.
Brown was forced to resign as a result of the federal response, which was widely criticized.

Katrina was blamed for 1,800 deaths and wreaked havoc on New Orleans, causing levee breaches and catastrophic flooding.
The city took years to recover.

Criswell was working in Colorado during the Katrina response as the head of the city of Aurora’s Office of Emergency Management, where she coordinated transitional housing and family reunification for Katrina evacuees being relocated to the area.

Criswell was also on the ground during the search and recovery operation following the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, which killed 98 people.

“It’s difficult to express the devastation that this community is going through,” Criswell told Cox Media Group.
“FEMA has a presence on the ground.
We have a recovery center that is assisting families and loved ones who have been impacted by this tragic event.”

Net Worth, Salary

Works as an American emergency management professional who has served as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s administrator since April 2021. Deanne Criswell has a net worth of $500,000. and has a salary of $243,171 according to public records.

Marital Status, Husband

Is Deanne Criswell married? Deanne Criswell had married and is currently single. her ex-husband is John Criswell employed at FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). With that being said they’re divorced because Deanne betrayed with numerous affairs.

Climate Change: Crisis of our Generation

Deanne Criswell, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, declared Sunday that climate change is the “crisis of our generation” following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida.

Criswell stated during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace that the frequency and intensity of recent weather events indicate the “impacts of climate change” and that the federal government should begin investing in mitigating those impacts.

“This storm, in particular, intensified so quickly… in the Gulf that emergency managers and responders had an even shorter time to warn the public and assist them in getting out of harm’s way,” she explained.
“This storm, as well as several other recent weather events, are rapidly intensifying and dumping copious amounts of rain and tornadoes.”

“This is the crisis of our generation, these impacts of climate change, and we must act now to mitigate the future risks,” she continued.
“This, I believe, will become our new normal.
In 2017, we witnessed several severe weather events.
Last year set records for hurricanes and wildfires.
The United Nations had just released their climate report, in which they stated that we are currently in the midst of a climate crisis that is only going to get worse.”

Wallace pressed Criswell on how climate change can be blamed for all weather extremes, including record heat and cold, as well as drought and flooding, which appears to be “contradictory.”

“You know, I’m not sure how climate change specifically affects it,” Criswell responded.
“What I do know is that we are seeing an increase in the frequency and intensity of storms.”

Criswell lauded President Biden for authorizing $5 billion in “resilience funding” for states and local governments to boost preparedness in advance of natural disasters last month.
She also lauded the president’s bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which she said would help rebuild infrastructure to withstand extreme weather conditions.

“From what I understand, portions of that plan will also contribute to and increase funding for mitigation efforts,” she said.
“However, another component of that plan is assisting in the general strengthening of our infrastructure.
We have an aging infrastructure in this country, and we need to work on rebuilding it, strengthening it so that it can withstand future threats.”

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