External Affairs Bulletin Week of August 17, 2015

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Week of August 17, 2015

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

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 Hosts Webinars to Receive Input on the Federal Interagency Operational Plans

FEMA is hosting a series of 60-90 minute engagement webinars to discuss the update effort on the Federal Interagency Operational Plans (FIOPs). 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.

In order to facilitate a detailed discussion, each webinar will cover a specific FIOP. The general overview webinars will provide information on proposed high-level changes to all FIOPs. Advance registration is required due to space limitations. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. To register, please visit www.vjpo.org/private/ppd8/events/fiops-update.

Download the working drafts of the FIOPs at www.fema.gov/ppd-8-news-updates-announcements and submit comments using the provided feedback submission forms.

Summertime Burn Safety Tips

Summer is the time to enjoy vacations, camping, picnics, and barbecues. However, the summertime also brings fires and burn injuries due to fireworks and outdoor cooking. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) suggests these safety tips to prevent or reduce the risk of summertime burns:

- Wear short sleeves or roll them up when cooking on the grill.

- Use long-handled barbecue tools.

- Keep a 3-foot safe zone around grills, fire pits and campfires.

- Attend public fireworks displays; this leaves the lighting to the professionals.

- Build campfires at least 15 feet away from tent walls, shrubs or other materials that burn.

If you get a burn, you should act fast.

- Place the burn in cool water for three to five minutes to cool it. Don’t put ice on the burn, as that can damage the skin more.

- Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth.

- See a doctor if the burn is larger size than a palm or it is blistering.

Visit the USFA website to learn more about summertime fire safety.

Emergency Management Institute’s Virtual Table Top Exercise Focuses on Critical Incident Stress Management

The Emergency Management Institute’s (EMI) Virtual Table Top Exercise (VTTX) program continues to evolve and grow to meet the demands of the emergency management community, reaching more than 500 different agencies within this fiscal year. The latest VTTX broadcasts in July were based on “The Psychology of Disaster: Managing Behavioral Issues in Disasters and Providing Crisis Support.”


EMI conducts a monthly series of VTTX training using a video teleconference platform to reach community-based training audiences around the country and to provide a virtual forum for disaster training and discussion. 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.   


The Psychology of Disaster VTTX broadcast July 28-30, 2015, focused on Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), which helps to manage traumatic experiences within organizations and communities after a disaster. The seminars, hosted by Dr. Jeffery T. Mitchell, a professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and an active EMI adjunct professor, were the result of several stakeholders’ request for a CISM-focused event. In response to the request, FEMA produced, scheduled, and delivered the VTTX broadcasts to more than 800 participants from around the United States and Canada. Participants represented large and small communities, health care facilities, first responders, volunteer agencies, universities and colleges, and a variety of other emergency management professionals.


The goals of the VTTX Psychology of Disaster broadcasts included providing information to assist participants in understanding the psychology of disasters before, during, and after they occur; assisting emergency managers in understanding the psychological stages of disasters; aiding emergency personnel in establishing an appropriate strategic crisis action plan for supporting emergency management officials and citizens, and providing a better understanding of an effective CISM crisis intervention program to help improve the emergency management community.


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

- August 25, 26, 27:  Building Collapse Focused

- September 8, 9, 10:  Recovery


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. Additional information on this VTTX can be found at https://training.fema.gov/programs/emivttx.aspx.

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 Approaching

FEMA is reminding National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders, who filed a claim as a result of Hurricane Sandy, they have until September 15, 2015, to register to have their claim files reviewed if they believe their claims were underpaid.

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 agency established a process for Hurricane Sandy survivors to have their claims reviewed, and 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.