External Affairs Bulletin Week of September 21, 2015

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Week of September 21, 2015

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

National PrepareAthon! Day

National PrepareAthon! Day

Preliminary Damage Assessment Manual Open Comment Period Deadline

Preliminary Damage Assessment Manual Open Comment Period Deadline

National Preparedness Month: Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). All across the country, federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, community organizations, and members of the private sector have embraced NPM and America's PrepareAthon! by planning events that will help their community be more prepared. You can take the lead in planning an activity for National PrepareAthon! Day in your organization or community. The America's PrepareAthon! website has many resources available to help plan a successful event.


Congressional Support for National Preparedness Month

FEMA appreciates the support of the Members of Congress who are serving as 2015 co-sponsors for National Preparedness Month. Throughout September, the External Affairs Bulletin is featuring statements from these members.


“Disaster can strike anywhere, at any moment, and without any warning. In the case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack, it is vital for families and community leaders to have a plan of action. There is an abundance of information on FEMA’s Ready.gov website to help you develop a comprehensive emergency response plan and emergency kit in case of a man-made disaster, terrorist attack, or natural disaster. September is National Preparedness Month, and I encourage you all to take the time to speak with your loved ones to ensure they are prepared in an emergency.”

Representative John Carter, Chairman, Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Homeland Security

“We can’t control when disaster strikes, but we can strengthen our preparedness so we are able to bounce back from tragedy. Training first responders and having emergency plans in place is one of the best ways to keep our communities safe and strong. Since the derailment of a crude oil train in Casselton, North Dakota in 2013, I’ve fought to get first responders in my state and across the country the resources and training they need to handle such hazardous situations. That’s why I introduced my RESPONSE Act – to build bipartisan momentum for helping first responders prepare for incidents related to increased transport of energy by rail. Preventing accidents in the first place is critical, but it’s just as important to make sure the brave men and women who respond are well-prepared to protect themselves and our communities.”

Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management

"As the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, I am a firm believer that taking actions today to prepare for emergencies will make a world of difference if disaster strikes tomorrow. There are simple things you can do to enhance your preparedness. Learn more about the hazards affecting your community. Make a preparedness kit and plan that includes your whole family, whether they have feet, paws, hooves, or claws. This National Preparedness Month, 'Don’t Wait: Communicate.'  Preparedness saves lives." 

Representative Martha E. McSally, Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications

“Preparation must occur before disaster strikes! I have seen firsthand in my district in Pennsylvania the devastation that natural disasters can cause in our communities, leaving people without food, water, or shelter until help arrives. As Co-Chairman of National Preparedness Month, I cannot stress enough to all American families, our neighbors and friends, the importance of developing, reviewing and practicing their emergency plans and ensuring they have emergency kits on hand so they are ready in advance of a disaster. Proper preparation is crucial to saving lives, protecting families, and helping communities recover after a disaster. “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.”

Representative Lou Barletta, Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management

National Preparedness Month Logo

FEMA and Operation HOPE Renew Collaboration During September’s National Preparedness Month

FEMA and HOPE Coalition America (HCA), the emergency preparedness and financial recovery division of Operation HOPE, signed a memorandum of agreement on September 9 renewing their 11-year collaboration to promote financial preparedness and support for recovery after emergencies and disasters.


The memorandum of agreement outlines a wide array of collaborative actions between FEMA and Operation HOPE, including efforts to: provide pre-disaster financial education materials and information to communities; establish and update procedures to provide free financial guidance; provide case management to survivors in the event of a major disaster or emergency; and recruit and train volunteers to provide financial preparation and recovery guidance to survivors.


Over the past several years, FEMA and HCA have leveraged resources from each other to help individuals and families prepare for disasters, or recover from disasters in the shortest possible time. FEMA has also partnered with Operation HOPE to encourage individuals, families and businesses to collect and safeguard the critical documents they will need to help them start the process through the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK). The EFFAK is a resource for financial preparedness, providing step-by-step instructions on the protection of personal assets and financial information to reduce vulnerability after a disaster. This simple tool can help Americans identify and organize key financial, insurance, medical and legal records, and is available at www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness.

FEMA Congratulates Executive Academy Graduates

FEMA congratulates 33 students who graduated from the National Emergency Management Executive Academy on September 17, 2015. Graduates represented emergency management professionals from 12 state and local governments, ten federal government, two private sector, three academic institutions, five non-governmental organizations, and one foreign government.

FEMA’s National Emergency Management Executive Academy instills emergency management leaders with a deeper understanding of contemporary and emerging emergency management issues, debates, and public policy. Students learn skills that provide insights, theories, tools, and resources that enable decision-makers to think and act more strategically and to build capacity to protect against, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all types of disasters. The Executive Academy provides the opportunity to work collaboratively, share smart practices, and participate in exercises with other senior leaders facing similar challenges.

FEMA’s National Emergency Management Executive Academy is for senior executives at the pinnacle of their careers. It’s the final phase of FEMA’s Emergency Management Professional Program (EMPP). The curriculum is designed to provide a lifetime of learning for emergency managers and includes three separate, but closely related, training programs including the National Emergency Management Basic Academy, a specialized and technical training program to develop specific skill sets; the National Emergency Management Advanced Academy, a program to develop the next generation of emergency management leaders who are trained in advanced concepts and issues, to include advanced leadership and management, critical thinking, and problem solving; and, the National Emergency Management Executive Academy, a program designed to challenge and enhance the talents of emergency management senior executives through critical thinking, visionary strategic planning, 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 Executive Academy Graduates

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 programs in the coming months in 2015:

- October 6, 7, 8:  Cyber

- 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.

REMINDER: FEMA Seeks Comments on Preliminary Damage Assessment Manual

FEMA seeks comments from state, local, tribal, and territorial emergency management practitioners on the draft FEMA Damage Assessment Operating Manual. The manual establishes national damage assessment standards developed from historic lessons learned and best-practices already in use by local, state, tribal, territorial, and federal emergency management agencies.


The draft manual and comment matrix is posted in the FEMA library. Comments should be added into the comment matrix and submitted to Mr. Ryan Buras, Senior Program Advisor, Public Assistance, Recovery Directorate, no later than November 14, 2015. FEMA asks that comments on the manual be sent either by email to  PDAmanual@fema.dhs.gov or by mail to Mr. Ryan Buras, Senior Program Advisor, Public Assistance, Recovery Directorate, FEMA, 500 C Street, SW, Mail Stop 3163, Washington, DC 20472.


The FEMA Damage Assessment Operating Manual is built using a framework that encourages local information collection, state, tribal or territorial verification, and federal validation. This document better highlights and provides guidance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments on their role in the assessment. This version of the PDA manual also clarifies the types of damage that will qualify under the descriptors of destroyed, major damage, minor damage, or affected.