External Affairs Bulletin Week of July 20, 2015

Seal of the Department of Homeland Security


Week of July 20, 2015

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

July 26 -- Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

July 27 -- Emergency Management Framework for Tribal Governments (E0580) Course Application Deadline

Emergency Management Framework for Tribal Governments (E0580) Course Application Deadline

August 10 -- Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security National Training Program/Continuing Training Grants Program Application Deadline

Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security National Training Program/Continuing Training Grants Program Application Deadline

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

September 15 -- Flood Insurance Policyholders with Hurricane Sandy Claims Request for Review Deadline

Flood Insurance Policyholders with Hurricane Sandy Claims Request for Review Deadline

FEMA Supports the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26 is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the mandates of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and following the disability mantra “nothing about us, without us,” FEMA joins a renewed effort across the country to plan for emergencies and disasters with people who have disabilities and others with access and functional needs rather than planning for them. Under the authority of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, FEMA provides equal access throughout its services, including the following:

- 508-compliant FEMA.gov, Ready.gov and America’s PrepareAthon! websites

- Public materials in alternative formats for people who are blind or have low vision

- Ensuring all video materials are captioned

- Providing physical access, program access and effective communication access throughout Disaster Recovery Centers and then offering accommodations for people with disabilities throughout their disaster recovery.

FEMA’s Disability Integration Advisor (DIA) Cadre has deployed its 70 specialists and interpreters to more than 125 disasters throughout the nation since 2011. DIAs provide guidance and advice throughout disaster response and recovery. Twenty five of the advisors are qualified sign language interpreters, including five certified deaf interpreters.


At FEMA, there is a responsibility to plan for the entire community – including children, older adults and people with or without disabilities with access and functional needs. As a nation, we must include the whole community in our preparedness, exercises, and training so we understand how best to address everyone’s needs in a disaster. We join the White House, the federal family and communities across the country in a national celebration of 25 years of disability rights currently underway. More information can be found at www.ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs.

Hotel Fire Safety Tips

One of the most exciting aspects of summer is summer vacation. However, don't forget that if summer vacation includes staying in a hotel, fires can also happen there. Each year, there are about 3,900 hotel fires. Families can be kept safe by finding a hotel with the best fire safety tools, such as smoke alarms and automatic sprinklers in each room. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) offers a list of these hotels.


Once checked into a hotel, the whole family can get involved in fire safety by:

- Reading the evacuation plan for the hotel. This is usually on the inside of the room door.

- Find the two closest exits from the room.

- Count the number of doors between the room and the exits. This is helpful if you need to leave the room in the dark.


More information on hotel safety can be found at www.usfa.fema.gov.

FEMA Provides Disaster Preparedness Presentation to Small Business Leaders

FEMA Private Sector Division Director Mr. Rob Glenn provided a presentation on what businesses can do to enhance preparedness for and mitigation of all hazards on July 14. In an interactive webinar hosted by Business Forward, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing thousands of business leaders from across American together, Mr. Glenn delivered preparedness tips, tools, and resources that are available for the business community. He emphasized the importance of planning to stay in business after a disaster strikes, talking to employees about preparedness, and protecting the business.


Businesses need to understand potential emergencies, assess company functions, protect employees, and provide for evacuation or sheltering in place. Mr. Glenn directed employers to Ready Business for free templates on developing emergency response and business continuity plans. Business leaders should practice drills and encourage employees to get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed of potential emergencies. America’s PrepareAthon! offers many resources online including organizational tabletop exercise PowerPoints, a checklist to protect critical documents and valuables, and a tool create a family communication plan.


Business owners can take steps to protect their business by preparing for utility outages and disruptions, protecting data and information technology systems, and meeting with insurance providers to understand and review insurance coverage. For more information on protecting property and commercial flood insurance, Mr. Glenn guided viewers to FEMA’s Protect Your Home or Business “How To” Series and the National Flood Insurance Program. Additional resources can be found online at www.fema.gov/private-sector.

REMINDER: Emergency Management Institute Offers Virtual Tabletop Exercises

FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) conducts a monthly series of Virtual Tabletop Exercises (VTTX) using a video teleconference platform to reach community-based training audiences around the country and provide a virtual forum for disaster training. The VTTX programs are designed for a community-based group of at least ten or more personnel from local or state 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 August and September 2015 on a variety of subjects:

- August 25-27, 2015:  Building Collapse Focused

- September 1-3, 2015:  Public Health Infectious Disease (written and hosted by the CDC)

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.

REMINDER: Notice of Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security National Training Program/Continuing Training Grants Program

FEMA announced the release of the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Homeland Security National Training Program (HSNTP) Continuing Training Grants (CTG) program with a total $11,521,000 available for awards in four focus areas.


This highly competitive program attracts on average 80 applicants from state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, along with eligible non-profit organizations to include colleges and universities. In 2014, 88 eligible organizations competed and six HSNTP/CTG awards were made. Information on the 2014 awards can be found online.


FY 2015 HSNTP/CTG applications are due no later than August 10, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Submissions must be made through www.grants.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 August 28, 2015 at 3 p.m. EDT.


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: Deadline to Submit Hurricane Sandy Claims for Review Is 60 Days Away

FEMA is reminding National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders, who filed a claim as a result of Hurricane Sandy, that they have 60 days to register to have their claim files reviewed if they believe their claims were underpaid. FEMA set a Sept. 15, 2015 as the last day for policyholders to register.

FEMA is committed to ensuring every NFIP policyholder who filed a claim as a result of Hurricane Sandy receives every dollar they are due under their policy. The NFIP established a process for Hurricane Sandy survivors to have their claims reviewed. Where warranted, additional payments will be made to those policyholders. FEMA sent letters to approximately 142,000 NFIP policyholders who filed claims resulting from Hurricane Sandy, offering them an opportunity to have their files reviewed. To date, more than 8,900 policyholders have joined the process.

To be eligible for the review, policyholders must have experienced flood damage between October 27, 2012 and November 6, 2012 as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Policyholders can call the NFIP’s Hurricane Sandy claims center at 1-866-337-4262 to request a review. Alternately, policyholders can go online to www.fema.gov/hurricane-sandy-nfip-claims to download a form requesting a review. The downloaded form may be filled out and emailed to FEMA-sandyclaimsreview@fema.dhs.gov to start the review process. For individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability using 711 or VRS, please call 866-337-4262. For individuals using a TTY, please call 800-462-7585 to begin the review process. Before contacting the claim center, policyholders are asked to have their flood insurance carrier name and policy number at hand.

FEMA will request the policyholder’s claim file from their insurance company and forward it to the NFIP review office within two business days. Files will be assigned to a highly skilled, NFIP-certified adjuster who will serve as a caseworker for the insured. The entire process should take less than 90 days. Caseworkers will contact policyholders to guide them through the review process. Additionally, there are several nonprofit service providers ready to offer free advice and answer questions policyholders may have. A list of these advocacy groups can be found on the claims review website at www.fema.gov/sandyclaims.

Policyholders who have already registered for the Hurricane Sandy claims review do not need to take any additional action and can expect to be contacted by their caseworker.