External Affairs Bulletin Week of May 25, 2015

Seal of the Department of Homeland Security


Week of May 25, 2015

View as Webpage | Subscribe

In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

May 31 -- National Dam Safety Awareness Day

National Dam Safety Awareness Day

June 3 -- National Engagement Period Feedback Submission Deadline

National Planning Frameworks: National Engagement Period

National Hurricane Preparedness Week

FEMA is partnering with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which begins on May 24 and extends through May 30. The week highlights the importance of planning ahead to protect individuals and families, and secure homes and communities in advance of the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30.


FEMA calls upon everyone to take action this hurricane season, which begins by knowing the risk, preparing individuals and families, and taking the appropriate actions to prepare for what to do if a hurricane were approaching. FEMA encourages families, individuals, communities and businesses to take action by joining America’s PrepareAthon!, a national community-based campaign for action to increase emergency preparedness and resilience.


More than ever, it takes the whole community’s participation to build resiliency. FEMA encourages everyone to prepare now and know what do before, during and after a hurricane makes landfall. Being prepared helps build stronger, safer and more resilient communities. Practicing what to do in an emergency in advance of the event could make a difference in the ability to take immediate and informed action, which, in turn, enables a quicker recovery.


More information about preparing for hurricanes can be found at www.ready.gov/hurricanes. For daily updates during National Hurricane Preparedness Week, visit www.twitter.com/readygov and www.facebook.com/readygov. A digital engagement toolkit is also available.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week

United South and Eastern Tribes Tribal Sheltering Exercise

At the Executive Winter Session this past February, the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) requested that FEMA headquarters and regional tribal liaisons from Regions 1, 2, 4, and 6 host a tribal sheltering exercise. Over the past three months, FEMA and the American Red Cross worked together with USET and tribal leaders to create the exercise.


The exercise was held last week at USET's mid-year conference, hosted by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut. Eighty-four tribal representatives took part in the exercise. The sheltering exercise provided participants with an opportunity to assess the compatibility and coordination mechanisms of appropriate establishment, set-up, operations, and breakdown of shelters located on tribal lands. The exercise was set-up as a facilitated discussion which allowed tribal representatives to not only learn from FEMA and American Red Cross program experts, but also from other tribal emergency managers as tribes provided sheltering examples on tribal land during the discussion portion. FEMA RTLs, the American Red Cross, the National Tribal Affairs Advisor, and the participating tribal nations developed interpersonal relationships as a result of collaborating on this exercise, and the agency received positive feedback on the support shown to tribes in a nation-to-nation manner.  

United South & Eastern Tribes Tribal Sheltering Exercise

National Dam Safety Awareness Day

National Dam Safety Awareness Day, May 31, is an event that observes the tragic failure of the South Fork Dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. On May 31, 1889, the dam failure resulted in the loss of more than 2,200 lives and was the worst dam failure in the history of the United States. In observance of National Dam Safety Awareness, FEMA and the National Dam Safety Review Board are encouraging private sector dam owners to get involved and take action to improve our nation’s dam infrastructure on May 31. The Engineering Stronger Safer website has ideas, template materials and background information to assist in outreach efforts.


For more than 30 years, the FEMA-led National Dam Safety Program continues to work to reduce the impact of dam failures. National Dam Safety Awareness Day encourages and promotes individual and community responsibility as well as best practices for dam safety. It also highlights the steps people can take to prevent future catastrophic dam failures or lessen the impact of a potential failure. FEMA encourages all communities to promote the benefits that dams can offer during this time of the year.


Dams provide vital benefits, including flood protection, water supply, hydropower, irrigation and recreation. They are owned and operated by different types of owners ranging from neighborhood associations to water supply utilities. The failure of even a small dam is capable of causing significant property and environmental damage as well as loss of life. If dams are not maintained and operated correctly, dams can pose risks to those living downstream. When dams age, deteriorate or malfunction, they can release sudden and dangerous flood flows.


Reducing the risk of failure and ensuring that the public and property owners downstream of dams are informed of the risk of dam failure are the driving forces of the National Dam Safety Program. The National Dam Safety Program has a variety of resources available for communities downstream from dams at www.damsafety.org.

Building Safety Month: Save Energy – Build to Code

FEMA encourages partners to join in supporting National Building Safety Month in May, a public outreach and education campaign coordinated by the International Code Council (ICC) and their thousands of members worldwide. Building Safety Month aims to increase awareness of the need for overall safety and sustainability of buildings through the adoption of model building codes and promotion of code enforcement. The campaign includes an array of community events, safety demonstrations, and educational outreach activities which are designed to promote awareness of the need for safe and sustainable structures where people live, work, and play.

This year's theme is “Resilient Communities Start with Building Codes." Each week in May will have an individual theme. The theme for May 25-31 is "Save Energy – Build To Code." Just by choosing energyefficient building materials and supplies, homeowners can make positive changes to both inside and outside environments, creating homes that are better for you and our world.


FEMA urges partners to Build Green. Building green does not necessarily mean starting from scratch or spending more money. Building green means living better, smarter, and healthier. Learn more about how you can build safer, more resilient buildings by downloading “FEMA’s Natural Hazards and Sustainability for Residential Buildings," which outlines how to retain or improve natural hazard resistance while incorporating these green building practices.

Find out how organizations can participate in Building Safety Month by visiting ICC’s Building Safety Month page for more information.

REMINDER: National Planning Frameworks: National Engagement Period Webinars Now Available

As part of a National Engagement Period, drafts of the National Planning Frameworks containing proposed updates are posted online for review and feedback. This is a draft document and FEMA feels it is important to seek stakeholder input at this critical juncture. This update of the National Planning Frameworks focuses on discrete, critical content revisions, and confirming edits as a result of comments received on the National Preparedness Goal. Additional changes in the attached draft are the result of the lessons learned from implementing the Frameworks and recent events, as well as the findings of the National Preparedness Report.


FEMA is hosting a series of 60-minute engagement webinars on May 27 and 28 to discuss the update effort. Each 60-minute event will discuss the update of the National Planning Frameworks. All webinars are open to the whole community, which encompasses individuals (including those with disabilities and others with access and functional needs), businesses and nonprofits, faith-based and community groups, schools, and all levels of government.


Each engagement webinar will cover the same information. Advance registration is required due to space limitations. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis and can be done online. If accommodations are required to participate in these events, please provide details in the Disability Related Accommodations field on the registration page or contact PPD8-Engagement@fema.dhs.gov.

To ensure all feedback is properly handled, reviewers are asked to use the provided feedback submission form to submit feedback and recommendations. Please provide any comments and recommendations, using the submission form, to PPD8-Engagement@fema.dhs.gov by June 3 at 5 p.m. ET. For more information on national preparedness efforts, please visit www.fema.gov/national-preparedness.