External Affairs Bulletin Week of June 22, 2015

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Week of June 22, 2015

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

August 15 -- 2016 National Emergency Management Executive Academy Application Deadline

2016 National Emergency Management Executive Academy Application Deadline

August 28 -- Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants Deadline

Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants Deadline

Seven Technology Organizations Sign Memoranda of Understanding with FEMA

After a major disaster or emergency, first responders and survivors need to maintain situational awareness, mine data, and communicate. Impacted communities face a number of issues during disaster response and recovery that can be resolved through innovative applications of technology. On June 17, 2015, Cisco Systems, Google, Humanity Road, Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, Intel, Joint Communications Task Force, and Microsoft signed Memoranda of Understanding with FEMA to launch Tech Corps – a nationwide network of skilled, trained technology volunteers who can help address critical challenges experienced by state, local, tribal, and territorial governments following a disaster.

Trained technology volunteers can complement ongoing response and recovery efforts, including installing temporary networks; establishing telephone/radio communications, and enabling internet connectivity, ; and providing other support, such as geographic information system (GIS) capacity, coding, and data analytics. The Tech Corps program signifies a greater level of coordination between volunteers and the emergency management community through FEMA. Technology organizations with existing volunteer disaster response capabilities are encouraged to join the Tech Corps program.

To learn more about the Tech Corps program, visit www.fema.gov/tech-corps and review the Tech Corps fact sheet. Questions can be sent to FEMATech-Corps@fema.dhs.gov.

Seven Technology Organizations Sign Memoranda of Understanding with FEMA

Successful Implementation of the Single Project Obligation process for Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs

Disaster declarations on or after March 1, 2015 that include Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation grants will use single project obligation by project enhancement in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)-Payment Management System (PMS). The system creates a subaccount that can track the individual project’s financial lifespan. This increases transparency and accountability for both FEMA and grantees.


FEMA successfully processed the first single project obligation for the state of West Virginia into the HHS-PMS on May 12, 2015. In addition, the state of Maine processed several single project obligations, and successfully drew down funds from the PMS system into their state account for distribution to the sub-recipient. All transactions to date are being accurately reflected in FEMA’s systems and reporting.


Grant recipients are able to draw funds from HHS-PMS individually in the system or by uploading a bulk drawdown spreadsheet to HHS-PMS (either generated by the HHS-PMS system or created by the recipient using the protocol for creation established by HHS). There is a “Payment File Processing” option in the HHS-PMS system for the grantee to draw multiple projects in one transaction. If that option isn’t shown as available for a new user, please contact ONE-DHHS Help Desk at 1-877-614-5533 or PMSSupport@psc.gov to have that feature added to the user’s account.


FEMA will continue to provide support to state and tribal partners in implementing this new process, either through online training or on-site as needed. Requests for technical assistance or training for the state or tribe should be coordinated with the FEMA regional office in which the state/tribe resides. For any questions regarding implementation of the new system, please reach out to Catherine Hicks in FEMA’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer at catherine.hicks@fema.dhs.gov.

Apply Now for the 2016 National Emergency Management Executive Academy

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is now accepting application packages for the 2016 National Emergency Management Executive Academy. This Academy provides a comprehensive and cutting edge curriculum to enhance strategic leadership and critical thinking for emergency management senior executives from all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Ideally, candidates will have experience as senior executives of major emergency management organizations, served on major commissions and task forces, or be responsible for decisions that have a significant effect on homeland security and emergency management policies.


The objective of the Executive Academy is to challenge and enhance the talents of emergency management executives through critical thinking, visionary strategic planning, and negotiation /conflict resolution when applied to complex real-world problems. The Executive Academy consists of four resident sessions, webinars, distance learning, and literature reviews. Executives will explore how they can leverage science, technology, engineering, and data analysis to make better decisions and more informed policy development. Executives will have the opportunity to work collaboratively on projects, share smart practices, and participate in exercises on cascading and catastrophic events.


The four resident sessions, to be held at EMI in Emmitsburg, Maryland will include:

- Emergency Management – A Leadership Challenge:  February 8-11, 2016

- Integrating Science into Emergency Management Policies and Decisions:  May 2-5, 2016

- Emergency Management in the 21st Century:  June 27 – July 1, 2016

- Exercising Emergency Management Executive Policy and Decision-Making:  September 12-15, 2016

Applications will be accepted through August 15, 2015. There are a limited number of seats and enrollment is competitive. For more information on the Executive Academy and the application and selection process, visit www.training.fema.gov/EMPP/executive.asp.


The Executive Academy is the pinnacle of a three-level Academy series in the Emergency Management Professional Program (EMPP) which includes Basic, Advanced, and Executive Academies. Emergency management professionals should visit www.training.fema.gov/empp for more information about which academy best suits their needs.

Grilling Fire Safety Tips

Summer is right around the corner, which means it’s time for barbecues, picnics, and fun in the sun. While summer usually means vacations, there is no vacation from fire safety. Each year, grill fires cause about $37 million in property damage. Most of the fires happen between May and August.

Individuals can protect families and property by following a few grilling safety tips:

- Only use grills outdoors, away from siding and deck railings.

- Clean grills often and remove grease or fat build-up.

- Make sure the gas grill lid is open before lighting.

- Have a three foot safe-zone around grills and campfires. Keep kids and pets clear of the area.

- Dispose of coals after they have cooled in a metal can.

- Never leave grills, fire pits, and patio torches unattended.

For more information on grilling and summer fire safety, please visit USFA at www.usfa.fema.gov.

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.