External Affairs Bulletin Week of August 3, 2015

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Week of August 3, 2015

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

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

Emergency Management Institute Prepares Macon-Bibb County, Georgia Officials for Future Disasters

Predicting a disaster is not an exact science, but no emergency manager or local official wants to be in the middle of a disaster asking, “What do we do?” Preparing for tomorrow’s disasters must include training personnel from all levels of government to increase coordination and response during a real emergency. FEMA's Emergency Management Institute’s (EMI) Integrated Emergency Management Course (IEMC) provides just this type of training to help emergency managers and local officials prepare for future disasters.

Sixty officials from Georgia’s Macon-Bibb County traveled to Emmitsburg, Maryland, to participate in a four and a half day exercised-based IEMC from July 20-23. The community specific IEMC courses help increase the skills of participating officials and provide a forum to evaluate the effectiveness of their specific emergency policies, plans, and procedures to protect life and property in the event of a disaster. IEMC places elected officials, including emergency managers, city and county department heads, and people who work in utilities, health care, education, transportation, or volunteer organizations in simulated situations within a structured learning environment.


The Macon-Bibb County officials trained together as a team at EMI. They learned new ways to coordinate with other local agencies and organizations in their area through classroom lectures, discussions, small-group planning sessions, and exercises. The training allowed the team to rehearse their real life roles in a realistic emergency situation, while helping them to identify additional planning needs. Each IEMC course addresses leadership and policy based decision making as well as the functional aspects of an Emergency Operations Center. In addition to the core capabilities, each IEMC uses one or more of the 15 National Planning Scenarios which were developed by the Department of Homeland Security to highlight a plausible range of major events that pose the greatest risk to the nation.


Protecting the American people is the primary responsibility of government, but maintaining the high standards and readiness of state, local, tribal, and territorial officials who can operate in an emergency requires training, healthy relationships, and the successful coordination of a community emergency team. FEMA EMI’s Integrated Emergency Management Course program enables emergency managers and other officials to respond in a more effective way when a disaster occurs.

To learn more about how city or county officials can participate in the IEMC training, contact EMI’s Integrated Emergency Management Section staff at 301-447-1381 or visit www.training.fema.gov/iemc. For information on other EMI training courses, visit www.training.fema.gov/emi/aspx.

Emergency Management Institute Prepares Macon-Bibb County, Georgia Officials for Future Disasters
Emmitsburg, MD--Mayor A.B. Reichert and Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Al Tillman participate in the IEMC training course at the Emergency Management Institute on the campus of the National Emergency Training Center.

FEMA Meets with Youth Preparedness Council Members

FEMA hosted the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council Members during the 2015 Youth Preparedness Council Summit on July 21-22, 2015. Council members were invited to share their ideas, opinions, and questions about youth disaster preparedness with leadership of national organizations working on this critical priority. As part of the summit, members met with Administrator Craig Fugate and participated in a panel discussion with leaders from different FEMA divisions including National Preparedness, External Affairs, the National Advisory Council, Recovery, and DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

During the summit, FEMA met with Hailey Starr, one of the Council members and a member of the Muckleshoot tribe in the state of Washington, to learn more about how she was working to promote youth preparedness in her community. Her projects include producing an active shooter awareness video, creating emergency preparedness kits for community elders, and coordinating a shelter-in-place emergency management exercise. More about Hailey’s work can be read on the FEMA blog.

Created in 2012, the Council brings together youth leaders from across the country that are interested in advocating on behalf of youth preparedness and making a difference in their communities. Members have to fill three main responsibilities: completing a self-selected legacy project, acting as an ambassador for youth preparedness, and liaising to FEMA on the youth perspective. More information about the Youth Preparedness Council is available online at www.fema.gov/youth-preparedness-council.

FEMA Meets with Youth Preparedness Council Members
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate meets with the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council during their annual summit.

FEMA Outlines a Decade of Progress after Hurricane Katrina

August 2015 marks the tenth year since the devastating 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Katrina was one of the strongest storms to impact the coast of the United States, causing widespread devastation and affecting an estimated 90,000 square miles along the central Gulf Coast states. Less than a month later, Hurricane Rita and then Hurricane Wilma in October made landfall compounding an already catastrophic situation.


Ten years into the recovery, FEMA continues to support communities and families, working side-by-side with state, local, and tribal partners to finish the job of rebuilding communities that are the economic engines and lifeblood of the Gulf Coast. To date, FEMA has provided $6.7 billion to more than one million individuals and households. FEMA provided more than $131 billion to the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for public works projects in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to assist with recovery efforts.

For more information on FEMA’s continued work to support communities and families along the Gulf Coast, visit our Hurricane Katrina: A Decade of Progress Through Partnerships website.

FEMA and Portlight Strategies Sign Memorandum of Agreement

On July 30, 2015, FEMA and Portlight Strategies (Portlight) announced an agreement that will increase preparedness awareness for people with disabilities in the event of natural or man-made disasters. The agreement aligns with FEMA’s commitment to inclusive emergency management by partnering with disability organizations and community leaders who serve the whole community at the local level.

The new partnership will bolster working relationships with state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency managers to encourage including people with disabilities in planning.  It will also provide information so people understand the disaster risks in their area. By evaluating their own individual needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, people can be better prepared.

Some key highlights from the agreement show that FEMA and Portlight will:

- Participate in training events and natural and simulation exercises, drills, and discussions focused on emergency preparedness and lessening the impact of disasters;

- Share operational practices that work well and that may be adapted to make improvements in service delivery and support community resilience and accessibility for people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs; and

- Share research-based emergency management data and information and training experience and expertise before, during, and after disasters.

As part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 25th anniversary, FEMA’s Office of Disabilities and Integration Coordination (ODIC) director Marcie Roth spoke at Portlight’s “Getting It Right” workshop on July 31. The workshop provided tools to facilitate full integration and inclusion in all emergency preparedness and response. More information about ADA and ODIC can be found at www.ada.gov and www.ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs.

FEMA and Portlight Strategies Sign Memorandum of Agreement
Beth Zimmerman, Associate Administrator, FEMA's Office of Response & Recovery, and Paul Timmons, CEO of Portlight Strategies, sign the Memorandum of Agreement.

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.