External Affairs Bulletin Week of August 31, 2015

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Week of August 31, 2015

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

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

National Preparedness Month Kicks Off on September 1

Disasters like floods, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, and earthquakes are a harsh and frequent reality for much of the country. According to a recent survey conducted by FEMA, progress continues to be made; however, fewer than half of Americans have discussed and developed an emergency plan with their household.

Today, FEMA and the Ad Council launched a new series of public service announcements (PSAs) to encourage families to develop an emergency communication plan before a disaster occurs. An extension of the national Ready campaign, the new PSAs launch in conjunction with the 12th annual National Preparedness Month, serving as a reminder to take action to prepare for the types of hazards that could impact where you live, work, and visit.

The new campaign includes English and Spanish-language TV, radio, outdoor, print and digital PSAs. Created pro bono by Chicago-based advertising agency Schafer Condon Carter, the PSAs illustrate the importance of having a family plan in the event of an emergency by showing real emergency moments and asking the question, “when is the right time to prepare?”  The viewer is encouraged to develop a family emergency communication plan through the clear message, “Don’t wait. Communicate.” The PSAs direct audiences to Ready.gov/communicate for tools and resources to help develop and practice a family emergency communication plan.

Localized television and radio PSAs were created and will be available for 27 states, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington D.C., and New York City as part of an ongoing collaboration with state and local emergency management partners. These PSAs drive audiences to their local organization’s website for resources and information pertinent to their area.

As an extension of the national Ready campaign, versions of the PSAs were created for Ready New York, a local initiative that was launched in partnership with the New York City Office of Emergency Management in 2009. Tailoring the message to the unique challenges faced by people living in New York City, audiences are directed to call 311 or visit NYC.gov/readyny, where they can find preparedness resources, including 11 Ready New York guides in 13 languages and audio format.

Managed and sponsored by the Ready campaign, National Preparedness Month is designed to raise awareness and encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, organizations, businesses, and places of worship. National Preparedness Month is an opportunity to share emergency preparedness information and host activities across the country to help Americans understand what it truly means to be ready.


National Preparedness Month Weekly Themes

- Week 1 (September 1–5)  Flood

- Week 2 (September 6–12)  Wildfire

- Week 3 (September 13–19)  Hurricane

- Week 4 (September 20–26)  Power Outage

- Week 5 (September 27–30)  Lead up to National PrepareAthon! Day, September 30


National Preparedness Month culminates with National PrepareAthon! Day on September 30 when cities and counties across the country are planning community-wide events bringing together schools, their business community, government, faith leaders, hospitals, individuals and families, and others to participate in community-wide preparedness drills and activities for hazards that are relevant to their area.


For more information, visit Ready.gov/September or follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about National PrepareAthon! Day, visit www.ready.gov/prepare.

National Preparedness Month Logo

FEMA and Airbnb Partnering to Promote Disaster Preparedness

In efforts to strengthen their Disaster Response Program and the safety of their hosts and guests, Airbnb began collaborating with FEMA and the Ready campaign to better educate hosts on how to prepare for and respond to disasters. 


As a first step, over 100,000 Airbnb hosts in hurricane-prone regions across the United States received hurricane preparedness information, including links to FEMA’s Ready.gov website and simple steps to prepare themselves in the event a hurricane approaches their area. The company will also work with FEMA’s private sector liaisons to receive real-time information during disasters, allowing them to more effectively deploy the Disaster Response Program in the areas where Airbnb hosts can be of the most help to survivors and responders.


Kellie Bentz, Airbnb’s new Head of Global Disaster Relief, describes this as “a real opportunity to use our disaster response program to help these communities in a time of need.” The Disaster Response Program makes it easier for Airbnb hosts to offer their space for free, supporting neighbors and relief workers following emergencies or disasters in their community. The program has been activated in places such as Texas, Oklahoma, New York, and Nepal. 


Read more at http://abnb.co/qASisw.

FEMA and Airbnb Partnering to Promote Disaster Preparedness

Emergency Management Institute’s Virtual Tabletop Exercise Series Announced for Fiscal Year 2016

The Emergency Management Institute’s (EMI) Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX) program continues to evolve and grow to meet the demands of the emergency management community. A new VTTX schedule is available for emergency managers and agencies planning ahead for EMI’s tabletop broadcasts in the coming fiscal year. The first VTTX series will occur on October 6, 7, and 8, 2015, focusing on a cyber-related scenario. The second VTTX series will occur on October 20, 21, and 22, 2015, focusing on public health. Subsequent broadcasts will highlight winter storms on November 3, 4, and 5, and power outages on November 17, 18, and 19. Broadcasts will occur from 12-4 p.m. EST.


EMI conducts a monthly series of VTTX using a video teleconference platform to provide a virtual forum for disaster training and discussion for community-based audiences around the country. The VTTX programs are designed for a community-based group of ten or more personnel from local, state, or tribal 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.   


The VTTX exercises are designed to enable the participants to practice their knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively conduct all-hazards emergency mitigation, response and recovery operations. The goal is to provide a virtual environment for participants to improve collective performance of critical tasks for a designated hazard or disaster affecting their community and strengthen coordination among counterparts representing agencies at all levels of government, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations.                    


EMI will conduct the following VTTX programs in the coming months in 2015:

- September 8, 9, 10:  Recovery

- October 6, 7, 8Cyber

- October 20, 21, 22:  Public Health

- November 3, 4, 5:  Winter Storms

- November 17, 18, 19:  Power Outages           


To apply for a VTTX event, please submit an email request to Doug Kahn at douglas.kahn@fema.dhs.gov or call 301-447-7645. The application deadline is four weeks prior to the start date. Additional information on FY 2016 VTTX broadcasts is available on the EMI Website at www.training.fema.gov/emi.aspx.

Last Chance to Experience “Designing for Disasters” Exhibition

The National Building Museum's multimedia exhibition "Designing for Disaster," is a call-to-action for citizen preparedness -- from design professionals and local decision-makers to homeowners and school kids. FEMA proudly supports the "Designing for Disaster" exhibit as it explores strategies that communities are using to reduce their risks and build more disaster resilient communities. The exhibition closes on September 14, after a year and a half run with nearly 75,000 visitors.


Visitors to "Designing for Disaster" will explore new approaches in design and engineering to protect life and property against a range of natural hazards. The exhibition is organized by the destructive forces associated with each of the elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Artifacts from past disasters, such as a door marked after Hurricane Katrina, singed opera glasses from the Waldo Canyon wildfire, and stone fragments from the earthquake damaged National Cathedral, express the destructive power of natural. Multimedia components include expert profiles, interviews with industry leaders, and powerful films like the testing video from the Insurance Industry for Business and Home Safety Research Center in Richburg, South Carolina, where experts test the effect of gale force winds on residential structures.


To learn more about the "Designing for Disaster" exhibit, please visit the National Building Museum website. For more information on how to plan, prepare, and mitigate a community's hazard risk, please visit www.fema.gov/plan-prepare-mitigate. For more information on FEMA's Building Science branch on creating disaster resilient communities, visit www.fema.gov/building-sciences.

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 October 27, 2012 and November 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.