External Affairs Bulletin Week of August 24, 2015

Seal of the Department of Homeland Security


Week of August 24, 2015

View as Webpage | Subscribe

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

National PrepareAthon! Day

National PrepareAthon! Day

September Is National Preparedness Month

Each year, September is recognized as National Preparedness Month, which serves as a call to action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and visit.


This year’s National Preparedness Month theme is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” Don’t wait! Make a plan with your family and friends for how you will stay safe and communicate during an emergency or disaster that can affect your community. Download the Family Communication Plan for Parents and Kids and fill out the sections before printing or emailing it to your family and friends.


The themes for four of the five weeks in September raise awareness about disasters including floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and power outages. The themes call attention to emergencies and disasters that could happen across the country this time of year. The fifth week leads up to National PrepareAthon! Day on September 30, when the nation will come together to take action and practice their preparedness in advance of an emergency.


Download the digital toolkit and become involved with promoting National Preparedness Month by visiting www.ready.gov/september. More information about National Preparedness Month will be included in September editions of the External Affairs Bulletin.

National Preparedness Month Logo

FEMA Congratulates National Emergency Management Basic Academy Graduates

FEMA congratulates the 41 students who graduated from the National Emergency Management Basic Academy on August 20, 2015.These students completed the full curriculum which provides the basic knowledge and skills to help meet the unpredictable challenges in the field of emergency management. Graduates represented emergency management professionals from federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governments and the private sector.

FEMA’s National Emergency Management Basic Academy is the entry-point for individuals pursuing a career in emergency management, offering the tools to develop the needed comprehensive foundational skills. For those who are new to emergency management, the Basic Academy also provides a unique opportunity to build camaraderie, to establish professional contacts, and to understand the roles, responsibilities, and legal boundaries associated with emergency management.


The Basic Academy is the first of a three-level Academy series in the Emergency Management Professional Program (EMPP). The EMPP curriculum is designed to guide and educate emergency management professionals as they progress through their careers, providing a lifetime of learning. The EMPP includes three separate, but closely threaded, training programs; building from the Basic Academy; to the National Emergency Management Advanced Academy, and culminating in the National Emergency Management Executive Academy. The Advanced Academy is a program to develop the next generation of emergency management leaders who are trained in advanced concepts and issues, advanced leadership and management, and critical thinking and problem solving. The Executive Academy is a program designed to challenge and enhance the talents of the nation’s emergency management senior executives through critical thinking, visionary strategic planning, challenging conventional concepts, and negotiation and conflict resolution applied to complex real-world problems. 


Emergency management professionals should visit www.training.fema.gov/empp for more information about which academy best suits their needs.


Congratulations, graduates!

FEMA Congratulates National Emergency Management Basic Academy Graduates

Campus Fire Safety Tips

As college students head back to school, take a moment to talk with them about fire safety. Each year, on-and off-campus college and university students have hundreds of fire emergencies. Most of these fires are caused by smoking materials and cooking. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) suggests the following campus fire safety tips:

When cooking:

- Cook only where it is permitted.

- Keep cooking area clean and uncluttered.

- Keep an eye on what's being cooked, especially if cooking at high temperatures.

- If a fire starts in a microwave, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.


If smoking:

- Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.

- After a party, check for cigarette butts, especially under cushions because chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast.

- Be aware of how risky it is to smoke when drinking or drowsy.


Never disable or remove batteries from smoke alarms. Smoke alarms can provide the crucial extra minutes necessary to escape from the fire. Have a plan that includes multiple escape routes for the same location.


Visit the USFA website at www.usfa.fema.gov for more information on fire safe college housing.

FEMA Amends Dispute Resolution Pilot Program Threshold

On August 17, 2015, FEMA published a Federal Register Notice formally adjusting the legitimate amount in dispute for the Dispute Resolution Pilot Program for Public Assistance appeals. FEMA has increased the legitimate amount in dispute to $1,031,000 for all disasters declared on or after October 30, 2012. FEMA bases the adjustment on an increase in the consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers provided by The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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: Emergency Management Institute Offers Virtual Tabletop Exercises

The Emergency Management Institute (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.

EMI will conduct the following VTTX program in September 2015:

- 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: 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 has already validated and begun providing additional funds to policyholders taking part in the Hurricane Sandy Claims Review.

To be eligible, policyholders must have experienced flood damage between Oct. 27, 2012 and Nov. 6, 2012. Policyholders can call the NFIP’s Hurricane Sandy claims center at 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 completed form may be emailed to FEMA-sandyclaimsreview@fema.dhs.gov to start the process. For individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use 711 or VRS, please call 866-337-4262. For individuals using a TTY, please call 800-462-7585 to begin the review process.

When policyholders call, they should have available the name on the policy, address of the damaged property, the name of the insurance company and the policy number that was in effect at the time of the loss. Policyholders will be asked a series of questions to determine whether they qualify for review. Once qualified, policyholders will be called by an adjuster, acting as a case worker, to begin the review. The timing of the adjuster’s initial call may be affected by the volume of requests for review. Most reviews can be concluded within 90 days.

Files will be assigned to an NFIP-certified adjuster who will review the claim file. Adjusters will contact policyholders to guide them through the review process. Policyholders who have already requested their review can call 866-337-4262 if they have questions or need more information.

After a policyholder receives the results of their claims review in writing from FEMA, they may seek reconsideration by a neutral third party reviewer if they are dissatisfied with the result. The review is an optional process established by FEMA to give policyholders an opportunity to seek further reexamination of their claim file by a neutral third party reviewer. FEMA will give substantial weight to the recommendation made by the officials in making its final determination on the file.

Policyholders who have already requested a Hurricane Sandy claims review do not need to take any additional action and can expect to be contacted by their adjuster.

The Sandy claims review process is intended to be simple for the policyholder and does not require paid legal assistance. 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/advocacy-groups-and-services-referral-list.