External Affairs Bulletin Week of October 5, 2015

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Week of October 5, 2015

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Water Resources Council Meeting

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Water Resources Council Meeting

The Great ShakeOut

The Great ShakeOut

Proposed Stafford Act Section 705 Policy Open Comment Period Deadline

Proposed Stafford Act Section 705 Policy Open Comment Period Deadline

Preliminary Damage Assessment Manual Open Comment Period Deadline

Preliminary Damage Assessment Manual Open Comment Period Deadline

Signing Ceremony Highlights First Tribal Individual Assistance Declaration

Tuesday, September 22, 2015, was a big day for the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The tribe hosted a signing ceremony for the federal – tribal agreement with FEMA to commemorate the first ever Individual Assistance declaration (DR-4237) issued directly to a federally recognized tribe. The tribe received the presidential disaster declaration on August 7 due to severe storms, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of May 8-29, 2015.


Since the declaration, FEMA has had a continued presence on the reservation, despite a number of logistical challenges. The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is located in the southwest corner of South Dakota, served only by a two-lane highway. Due to the impact and magnitude of damage to the reservation, FEMA established the Joint Field Office, Disaster Recovery Center, and Forward Field Office in support of the recovery operation in Hot Springs, South Dakota, the nearest community, which is more than 60 miles away. The tribe brought on tribal member and former FEMA reservist, Delbert Brewer, as its Tribal Coordinating Officer for the event.


This ceremony provided an opportunity for both the Oglala Sioux Tribe and FEMA to acknowledge the partnership established and the accomplishments achieved thus far. Oglala Sioux President, John Yellow Bird Steele, and Region VIII Acting Administrator, Sharon Loper, signed the agreement. Also representing the agency were Federal Coordinating Officer Gary Stanley, Individual Assistance Division Director Chris Smith, National Tribal Affairs Advisor Milo Booth, and other FEMA staff who have been working diligently to support the recovery efforts.

Signing Ceremony Highlights First Tribal Individual Assistance Declaration
Federal Coordinating Officer Gary Stanley, Oglala Sioux President John Yellow Bird Steele, Acting Region VIII Administrator Sharon Loper, Former President and Elder Wilbur Between Lodges, and Elder Melvin Lone Hill just after the completion of the signing ceremony for the Oglala Sioux/FEMA Federal Tribal Agreement on September 22 in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

Fire Prevention Week 2015

Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2015. This year’s theme is: “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm!” This message encourages everyone to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep.

This year, USFA is dedicating the month of October to providing fire safety tips. USFA is using hashtag #firesafein31 throughout the 31 days of October to share daily tips to help make homes and families safer. Follow #firesafein31 on Twitter at @usfire and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usfire, and download the Fire Prevention Week infographic to share important fire safety tips with family and friends.


Fire safety is something everyone can practice. More information about Fire Prevention Week is available at www.nfpa.org/safety-information/fire-prevention-week.

Fire Prevention Week 2015

The Great ShakeOut

Everyone should know how to protect ourselves in an earthquake. Even if earthquakes are rare where you live, they may happen where you or your family travel. Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools, and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes, and to improve preparedness.

ShakeOut Drills are scheduled for 10:15 a.m. local time on October 15. However, organizations may hold a ShakeOut drill on another date with in two weeks of this date. Anyone can participate, from a single individual at his or her home to a major company at the office. Talk to your coworkers, neighbors and friends about the ShakeOut and encourage their participation. Sign up for free at www.shakeout.org/register to be counted in the ShakeOut Drill, get email updates, and more.

The Great ShakeOut

Amendments Made to Public Assistance and Individual Assistance Program for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16)

FEMA amended several important indicators for the Public Assistance and Individual Assistance program for fiscal year (FY) 2016. Under the Individual Assistance program the maximum grant award was amended to $33,000 (+$100). Under the Public Assistance program, the statewide per capita indicator remains at $1.41 and the countywide per capita indicator was amended to $3.57 (+$0.01). The minimum amount to process a Project Worksheet was amended to $3,050 (+$10.00), and the maximum dollar amount for a project to be considered a small project was amended to $121,800 (+$200). Projects over $121,800 will be processed as a large project. These changes are effective for disasters declared on or after October 1, 2015.

National Flood Insurance Program Bulletin Announces Rate Changes Effective April 1, 2016

FEMA, through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), provides the opportunity for homeowners, renters, and businesses to purchase flood insurance for financial protection against flooding. FEMA also works with communities to update and develop flood maps to inform the community of their current flood risk. These actions allow community members to take important steps to prepare for flooding risk in their area.

FEMA continues to take important steps to implement changes to the NFIP as called upon by the 2012 and 2014 flood insurance reform legislation (Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Biggert-Waters)) and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA)). In addition to the incremental rate increases required by law to bring rates to full risk, the NFIP is also putting processes in place in order to more clearly communicate flood risk to policyholders. It is important to note that nearly 80 percent of NFIP policyholders are minimally impacted by either law because they already paid a full-risk rate prior to the passage of Biggert-Waters or HFIAA.

The NFIP is working with Write Your Own insurance companies to better inform insurance agents and other stakeholders on the changes that take effect on April 1, 2016, for new business and renewals beginning on and after April 1, 2015. For key changes being made to the program, visit www.nfipiservice.com/bulletin_2015.html.

REMINDER: Emergency Management Institute Offers Virtual Tabletop Exercises

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) conducts a monthly series of Virtual Tabletop Exercises (VTTX) trainings 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 state, local, tribal, or territorial 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 early FY 2016:

- 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 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.

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.