External Affairs Bulletin Week of June 15, 2015

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Week of June 15, 2015

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

June 23 -- Getting Youth Involved In Emergency Preparedness

Getting Youth Involved In Emergency Preparedness Webinar

June 23 -- Technical Mapping Advisory Council Meeting (multiple dates)

Technical Mapping Advisory Council Meeting (multiple dates)

August 28 -- Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants Deadline

Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants Deadline

National Flood Insurance Program Call Center Opens for Policyholders and Disaster Survivors Nationwide

Flood insurance claims can be complicated, and policyholders may have questions in the days and weeks following a disaster. FEMA launched a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) call center pilot program to serve and support policyholders with the servicing of their claims.

The NFIP call center can be reached at 1-800-621-3362, and will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CDT) Monday through Friday. Specialists will be available to assist policyholders with their claims, provide general information regarding their policies, and/or offer technical assistance to aid in recovery.

For those who prefer to put their concerns in writing, a “Request for Support” form is posted at www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program, which can be filled out and emailed to FEMA-NFIP-Support@fema.dhs.gov or faxed to 540-504-2360.

Call center staff will be able to answer questions such as “How do I file a flood insurance claim?, What type of documentation is needed?, Can I still obtain disaster assistance even though I have a flood policy?” as well as more complicated insurance questions about the extent of coverage, policy ratings, and more. The call center will also be open to disaster survivors who have general questions about the NFIP.

Disaster survivors and policyholders are asked to have the following information available when contacting the call center:

- Contact information (Name, telephone number, email address if applicable);

- Policy number;

- Address of damaged property; and

- Name of flood insurance carrier.

Flood insurance plays a critical role in assisting survivors on their road to recovery. Like other types of insurance, it does not cover all losses, but it is the first line of defense against a flood. While the policy payouts won’t make the insured whole, our top priority is to ensure policyholders get what they are due under their coverage. This initiative is part of FEMA’s ongoing commitment to effective, long-term improvements to the NFIP.

New Disaster Declarations Data Visualization Available on FEMA.gov

FEMA is committed to increasing the transparency and accessibility of data. FEMA launched a new data visualization tool that enables the public to see when and where disaster declarations have occurred across the country. As hurricane season kicks off this week, the tool helps educate people about the history of hurricanes and other disasters in their communities.


The Public Data Visualization Tool, accessible at www.fema.gov/data-visualization, allows users to view and interact with FEMA data. Through an interactive platform, users can view the history of disaster declarations by hazard type or year and financial support provided to states, tribes, and territories, and access public datasets for further research and analysis. This builds off of the BETA launch in January where users were able to see a visual representation of federal grant data as it relates to fire, preparedness, mitigation, individual assistance and public assistance.


The OpenFEMA data used in the visualization are from the publicly available datasets on www.fema.gov and www.data.gov. FEMA is committed to updating these existing datasets in a timely manner and as feasible, to provide new datasets for external partners to manipulate and use. FEMA will continue to develop additional visualizations based on feedback and the availability of public data.


View the visualization tool at www.fema.gov/data-visualization.

Data Visualization -- Florida

FEMA Announces Fifth Meeting of the Technical Mapping Advisory Council

FEMA announced the fifth public meeting of the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC), scheduled for June 23-24, 2015, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The public meeting will be held at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Headquarters Conference Center, located at 1325 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 on June 23 from 12:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and June 24 from 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET.

The TMAC will discuss topics including progress from two TMAC subcommittees: Future Conditions; and Annual Report (the Flood Hazard Risk Generation and Dissemination; and Operations, Coordination, and Leveraging subcommittees have been merged into the newly formed Annual Report subcommittee) regarding data and recommendations; topics for inclusion in the Future Conditions Report and Annual Report, which are to be delivered in October 2015; and next steps for TMAC discussions and report development.

In addition, invited subject matter experts will brief TMAC members on FEMA’s mapping program and the progress of FEMA’s Flood Insurance Reform Flood Mapping Integrated Project Team (IPT) to date, and present a tribal perspective on the program.

A public comment period will be held during June 23 from 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. ET and June 24 from 3:30 – 4:00 p.m. ET. Those interested in speaking during the public comment period must contact FEMA by email at FEMA-TMAC@fema.dhs.gov or by calling 202-646-3432 to register as a speaker by June 18, 2015. Those not attending and wish to submit written comments can do so in the following ways:

- Online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal

- Email to FEMA-RULES@fema.dhs.gov and cc: FEMA-TMAC@fema.dhs.gov

- Mail to Regulatory Affairs Division, Office of Chief Counsel, FEMA, 500 C St SW, Room 8NE, Washington, DC 20472-3100.

All submissions received must include the words “Federal Emergency Management Agency” and docket number, FEMA-2014-0022. Comments received will be posted without alteration at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

For those planning to attend in person and for additional information on facilities or services for individuals with disabilities or to request special assistance at the meeting, contact FEMA at FEMA-TMAC@fema.dhs.gov. Attendees must contact FEMA and register by June 18, 2015 to receive important information on the meeting location. More information on the TMAC meeting is available online and at www.fema.gov/TMAC.

Webinar for Faith-based and Community Organizations on Youth Preparedness Resources and Partnerships

The Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division, the U.S. Department of Education's Center for School Preparedness, and Save the Children invite audiences to join a co-hosted webinar, "Getting Youth Involved in Emergency Preparedness," on June 23 from 2 - 3 p.m. ET. The webinar is intended to help connect faith-based and community organizations to tools and resources for youth preparedness activities. Audience members will hear from organizations that are affirmers of the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education, and how they can work alongside youth and leverage existing resources and partnerships to increase preparedness in communities.

Participants can register for the webinar online. Closed captioning will be provided.

FEMA Hosts Annual Hurricane Video Teleconference for State and Tribal Emergency Managers

FEMA and its interagency partners hosted the annual hurricane video teleconference (VTC) on June 11 for state and tribal emergency managers in hurricane-prone regions. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate led the VTC; Dr. Richard Knabb, Director of the National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Admiral William E. Gortney, Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, joined him.

During the VTC, Dr. Knabb shared the current outlook for the upcoming hurricane season and highlighted new and experimental products and models that the National Hurricane Center will utilize this year. Following his briefing, state and tribal emergency managers identified limiting factors that could impact their hurricane response and recovery capabilities.

The VTC provides a means to share information on the upcoming hurricane season. Most importantly, it provides an opportunity for federal, state, and tribal participants to test their communication and technology capabilities in a way similar to how these participants would communicate in a real pre-landfall hurricane scenario.

America’s Pastime and Emergency Management Training Team Up

FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) recently hosted a Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX) for Major League Baseball (MLB) as part of MLB's emergency preparedness efforts. Personnel from the New York Mets, Miami Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, and Houston Astros participated in specialized training as part of the VTTX offered by the EMI. The exercise was an active shooter scenario to help MLB prepare for the unexpected during the 2015 baseball season.


More information about this VTTX can be found on the FEMA blog.

REMINDER: Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2015 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants

FEMA announced $180 million in funding available through two Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs: Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM). These two grant programs assist state, local, tribal, and territorial governments in strengthening our nation’s ability to reduce the potential cost of natural disasters to communities and their citizens.

Both HMA FY 2015 Funding Opportunity Announcements can be found at www.grants.gov. Eligible applicants must apply for funding through the Mitigation eGrants system on the FEMA Grants Portal accessible at https://portal.fema.gov. All applications must be submitted no later than 3 p.m. EDT on August 28, 2015.


FEMA's HMA grant programs provide states, local governments, tribes, and territories funding for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation’s ability to reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages. Further information on these grant programs is available at www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance.

REMINDER: Virtual Tabletop Exercise Programs Available at Emergency Management Institute

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers a variety of Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX) programs that are designed for a community based group of at least ten or more personnel from state, local, tribal, or territorial emergency management organizations with representatives from other disciplines such as public safety, public works, public health, health care, government, administrative, communications, military, private sector, non-governmental, and other whole community partners. Participants must have an appropriate site equipped with video teleconference capability that can access FEMA. 

EMI will conduct VTTX programs between June and September 2015 on a variety of subjects:

- July 7-9:  Long-term Power Outage

- July 28-30:  Psychology of Disaster: Long-term Mental Health Recovery

- August 25-27:  Building Collapse Focused

- September 1-3:  Public Health Infectious Disease (written and hosted by the CDC)

A complete listing of all the 2015 VVTX dates and scenarios can be found online.


To apply for a VTTX event, submit an email request to participate in the exercise to Doug Kahn at douglas.kahn@fema.dhs.gov or call 301-447-7645. The deadline for applying to participate in a VTTX is four weeks prior to the start date.