External Affairs Bulletin Week of December 14, 2015

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Week of December 14, 2015

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

December 16 -- Tools for Creating Campus Resilience Webinar

Tools for Creating Campus Resilience Webinar

Dec 16 -- Partnership Resources to Help Prepare Houses of Worship for Emergencies Webinar

Partnership Resources to Help Prepare Houses of Worship for Emergencies Webinar

Dec 17 -- Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Implementation Open Comment Period

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Implementation Open Comment Period

Jan 1 -- New "Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide" Effective

New "Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide" Effective

Jan 11 -- Individual Assistance Declaration Criteria for States Open Comment Period

Individual Assistance Declaration Criteria for States Open Comment Period

January 15 -- Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Application Deadline

Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Application Deadline

Children Found Due to Wireless Emergency Alerts

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) directly attributed FEMA's Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) with saving the lives of 21 children since 2012 by providing information to instantly inform citizens to assist in the search for and in safe recovery of  missing children. AMBER Alerts are urgent bulletins issued in the most serious child-abduction cases, and can be sent straight to cell phones via WEA without the need to download an app or subscribe to a service.

WEA look like a text message. If you have a WEA-enabled cell phone, you are automatically enrolled for three types of alerts: Presidential, Imminent Threat, and AMBER. While your cell phone may permit the settings to opt-out of receiving WEA for imminent threats and AMBER alerts, you cannot opt out of a Presidential messages. FEMA encourages everyone to not opt out as it could save your life or the life of a child.

NCMEC issues AMBER Alerts through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) to WEA on cell phones since December 2012. To find out if your mobile device is capable of receiving WEA alerts, contact your cellular service and for more information on WEA alerts, visit www.ready.gov/warning-systems-signals.

The FEMA Region 9 El Niño Task Force and Rehearsal of Concept Exercise

FEMA Region 9 (R9) established an El Niño Task Force charged with preparing the regional office and its partners for the impacts of El Niño. The task force consists of subject matter experts from the R9 office as well as other federal, state, local, tribal and community partners. On December 9, 2015, the task force released its Severe El Niño Disaster Response plan and convened a Regional Interagency Steering Committee (RISC) meeting in Northern California to exercise the plan.


The task force evaluated the core capabilities needed to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against El Niño related incidents that could occur across the office’s area of responsibility. They focused on interpreting data in areas of California, Arizona, and Nevada that have proven to be historically vulnerable to develop risk projections of current El Niño events.  The task force then used these projections to develop an Executive Decision Support Guide /Response Plan, and an interactive flood decision support tool to assistR9 leadership in making critical decisions during all phases of an incident from pre-incident, incident onset, response, and recovery.

The Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) exercise allowed the task force to exercise the response plan and its flood decision support tools. During this exercise, participants identified issues, gaps, and shortfalls that could enhance the plan. The task force leveraged best available data from predictive modeling and other analytical tools to keep senior decision makers informed throughout potential El Niño events.

Members of the media were invited to attend portions of the ROC and participate in a Virtual Telephonic Press Conference, including a question and answer session with Regional Administrator (RA) Robert Fenton. More than 200 reporters requested copies of the task force’s report or took part in the media opportunities.

For more information about El Niño, including the best and most current information and resources needed to be ready for this weather event, visit www.fema.gov/el-nino.

R9 RA Robert Fenton speaks to reporters at the El Niño  press conference.
R9 RA Robert Fenton speaks to reporters at the El Niño press conference.

Continuity of Operations and Emergency Services Sector Working Group to Focus on Continuity for Local Jurisdictions

FEMA’s National Continuity Programs’ (NCP) Continuity of Operations (COOP) Division, and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate’s Office of Infrastructure Protection’s Emergency Services Sector (ESS) partnered to form a working group that will collaborate to better assist local governments and industries in developing effective continuity plans and programs.

The NCP COOP Division provides the foundation for ensuring the constitutional government under all conditions and ensures that federal executive branch departments and agencies, including FEMA, continue to perform their mission essential functions and primary mission essential functions during a wide range of emergencies. Global events, including natural disasters and terrorist attacks, reinforce the need for the federal government to develop partnerships with other non-federal government entities and private sector owners and operators. These partnerships assist with: identifying continuity needs for local jurisdictions; exchanging continuity information, ideas, lessons learned, and experiences; and sharing tools and programs.

The COOP/ESS working group is comprised of Government Coordinating Council and Sector Coordinating Council partners, and will begin in January 2016. The working group goal will be to further COOP and ESS continuity outreach through one-pagers, hosting/presenting at various conferences, hands on teaching and webinars. For more information, please contact ESSTeam@hq.dhs.gov.

Partnership Resources to Help Prepare Houses of Worship for Emergencies Webinar

FEMA is hosting a "Partnership Resources to Help Prepare Houses of Worship for Emergencies" webinar on December 16, 2015 from 2:00 - 3:15 p.m. ET to help connect faith-based and community organizations with federal government tools, resources, and partners to better prepare their houses of worship for all hazards, including active shooter incidents. This webinar is a collaborative effort between the DHS’s Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, a center of the White House Office of Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, and FEMA.

For more faith-based resources, recorded webinars, and training, please visit www.fema.gov/protecting-houses-worship.

Emergency Management Institute Offers a Public Health Chlorine Spill Incident Virtual Tabletop Exercise

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is offering a virtual tabletop exercise (VTTX) on January 26-28, 2016, involving a chlorine contamination scenario. The VTTX is public health focused and addresses contamination recognition response and recovery efforts to assist affected communities. The exercise allows participating communities to share public health details regarding protective zones, protective actions, personal protective equipment, hospital triage, latent effects, decontamination issues pertaining to patients, environmental concerns, and re-entry.

EMI conducts a monthly series of VTTXs using a teleconference platform to reach community based training audiences around the country providing a virtual forum for disaster training. The design of the VTTX is for a group of ten or more representatives from state and local Emergency Management Community of Practice. Participants must have an appropriate site equipped with video teleconference capability.


The goals of the VTTX are to test the participants’ knowledge, skills, and abilities to conduct all-hazards emergency response and recovery effectively. The VTTXs also enable coordination response operations with counterparts from Federal agencies, state and local governments, private sector organizations, non-governmental agencies, and other whole community partners. The VTTX occurs 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ET.

EMI will conduct the following VTTX programs in February and March:

- February 9, 10, 11, 2016:  Cyber scenario (course number V0015B)

- February 23, 24, 25, 2016:  Tornado scenario (course numvber V0005A)

- March 8, 9, 10, 2016:  Tornado scenario (course number V0005B)

- March 22, 23, 24, 2016:  Flood scenario (course number V0007)

To participate in a VTTX, submit an email request to Doug Kahn at douglas.kahn@fema.dhs.gov or call 301-447-7645.  Please send a courtesy copy email to the Integrated Emergency Management Branch at FEMA-EMI-IEMB@fema.dhs.gov or call 301-447-1381.  The deadline for applying to a VTTX is four weeks prior to the start date. Additional information is available at https://training.fema.gov/programs/emivttx.aspx.

REMINDER: Tools for Creating Campus Resilience Webinar

FEMA's EMI, in partnership with the DHS’s Office of Academic Engagement, FEMA Region VII, and U.S. Fire Administration, will present a webinar titled "Tools for Creating Campus Resilience" on December 16 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET. The webinar will discuss ReadyCampus, the DHS Campus Resilience Pilot Program for Colleges and Universities. This student-centered program brings together many prominent organizations, private sector, and local volunteer organizations to teach general preparedness and the U.S. Fire Administration's Campus Fire Safety Program to students and staff. Natural, technological, and health hazards could all affect daily campus operations. Institutions are encouraged to regularly review, update, and exercise their emergency plans.

Participants should register in advance for the online webinar. Closed captioning will be provided.

REMINDER: FEMA's Intent to Implement the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration released FEMA’s Leadership Intent to implement the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS). The Intent describes the framework FEMA is proposing to implement for Executive Order (E.O.) 13690 and the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. E.O. 13690 provides federal agencies flexibility to choose from one or more approaches to identify an elevation requirement above the base flood elevation. Additionally, E.O. 13690 amended E.O. 11988 to set forth a higher level of resilience for activities where even a slight chance of flooding is too great. The Intent outlines FEMA’s approach to standardize its use of the multiple elevation requirements above the base flood elevation.

Continuing our commitment to an open, collaborative, stakeholder-focused process in implementing the FFRMS, FEMA is sharing this framework for public comment on FEMA’s website. Public comments received will continue to inform the regulatory and policy development process. For more information, visit www.fema.gov/federal-flood-risk-management-standard-ffrms or send comments by December 17, 2015, to FEMA-EO11988-13690@fema.dhs.gov.

REMINDER: FEMA Seeks Input on Individual Assistance Declaration Criteria for States

FEMA is seeking public comment on proposed changes to regulation describing FEMA’s Individual Assistance (IA) declarations criteria. FEMA published the proposed rule in the Federal Register, and is seeking comments by January 11, 2016.

The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (SRIA) requires FEMA to review, update and revise, through rulemaking, the factors it uses to measure the severity, magnitude, and impact of a disaster. The proposed rule, which has a 60 day public comment period, is intended to provide more objective and clear IA declaration factors and speed the declaration process, including FEMA’s recommendation to the President on whether a major disaster declaration authorizing IA is warranted.

The proposed rule largely expands and clarifies current factors and aligns them with the data presently collected to support the evaluation process and adds additional data sets easily accessible by states. FEMA reviewed the current factors and the proposed rule intends to revise the current factors by including:  State Fiscal Capacity and Resource Availability, Uninsured Home and Personal Property Losses, Disaster Impacted Population Profile, Impact to Community Infrastructure, Casualties, and Disaster Related Unemployment.

Comments are due on January 11, 2016, and can be submitted online.

REMINDER: Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program Application Period Open

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) opened for applications on Monday, December 7, and will close on Friday, January 15, 2016, at 5 p.m. ET. Grant guidance for this program is available at www.grants.gov and www.fema.gov/firegrants/afggrants/index.shtm. The “Get Ready Guide” may also be useful for potential applicants and is provided to answer questions and to help prepare grant applications.


The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, (Pub. L. 113-76) provides $306,000,000 in AFG Program funding to assist fire departments and nonaffiliated ambulance and emergency medical service organizations meet their firefighting and emergency response needs. The AFG Program enables these organizations to obtain the tools and resources necessary to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public and emergency response personnel.