See What’s New with the 2016 FEMA Awards

March 3, 2016

What’s New: The 2016 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards

Have you heard? The FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards are back! There are three new categories to highlight even more of the actions you take to make your communities safer, better prepared, and more resilient. Take a look below to learn more about the new categories and a few others.

Be sure to check out the list of FAQs for information about all the award categories. Read the guidance for applying, and apply today! All applications must be sent to by Monday, March 28 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Outstanding Inclusive Initiatives in Emergency Management (new)

Presented to an organization, program, or jurisdiction that has excelled in working with populations that are disproportionately impacted by disasters due to risks associated with economic status, limited English proficiency, cultural diversity, or access and functional needs in order to better prepare them for disasters.

Outstanding Private Sector Initiatives (new)

This award is presented to a small business that has demonstrated outstanding creativity and made a measurable impact in engaging employees and local communities to improve disaster preparedness and resilience. “Small business” applicants must comply with business size standards provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

America’s PrepareAthon! in Action (new)

Presented to an organization or community that has implemented a registered America’s PrepareAthon! event using America’s PrepareAthon! resources, which incorporates specific actions taken by individuals to strengthen preparedness and resilience in the face of disasters. Activities may include any of the America’s PrepareAthon! 10 Ways to Participate or other initiatives, which showcase individual preparedness.

Outstanding Citizen Corps Council

Presented to a Citizen Corps Council (community, county, regional, territory, tribal, or state) that demonstrates whole community collaboration to achieve innovative and sustainable practices in emergency management to make the jurisdiction safer, stronger, better prepared, and more resilient.

Outstanding Citizen Corps Partner Program

Presented to a Citizen Corps Partner Program that demonstrates excellence and innovation in achieving the program’s mission. Eligible programs include Fire Corps, Neighborhood Watch, Medical Reserve Corps, Community Emergency Response Team, and Volunteers in Police Service. Volunteer recruitment and sustainment, capacity building, and return on investment are factors for evaluation.  

Technological Innovation

Presented for creative and effective use of current technology, newly developed technology, or social media that improves the ability of individuals and communities to prepare for, respond to, or recover from disasters.

Throughout the awards application period, the FEMA eBrief will showcase past winners.

In 2015, FEMA recognized the collaborative work of three programs in the New York City Emergency Management’s Community Outreach Unit – Ready New York, NYC Citizen Corps, and the NYC Community Emergency Response Team. To help immigrant and limited English proficiency communities during disaster, the three programs worked together to provide customized tools and information to millions of New Yorkers with limited English proficiency. From distributing preparedness toolkits to producing a film for an Emmy award-winning series, the programs created a successful outreach model for individual emergency preparedness education that addresses the needs of communities that are often difficult to reach.

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Webinar: Community Discussion: 2016 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards Overview

On Tuesday, March 15, FEMA will host a webinar providing an overview of the 2016 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards and highlighting the benefits of winning this prestigious honor. This webinar will also feature past winners who will discuss how the awards impacted their programs and communities.

Title: Community Discussion: 2016 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards Overview
Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 
Time: 2:00–3:00 p.m. EDT

Featured Speakers:                                 

  • Iskra Gencheva, Ready New York, NYC Citizen Corps, NYC Community Emergency Response Team; 2015 winner of Outstanding Citizen Corps Council.
  • Brenda Emrick, Orange County, California CERT Mutual Aid Program; 2015 winner of the Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team Initiatives.
  •  Betsy Miller, Whole Community Disaster Simulation, Ready Montana; 2015 winner of the John D. Solomon Whole Community Preparedness Award.
  • Craig Wolfe, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Hull, MA; 2015 winner of the Community Preparedness Heroes.
  • Yuri Graves, City of Henderson, NV Get READY! Stay READY! Campaign; 2015 winner of Awareness to Action.


How to Join the Webinar:


We hope that you will be able to join us on March 15! 

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Deadline Extension for Youth Preparedness Council Applications

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is extending the deadline for Youth Preparedness Council applications to Sunday, March 20, 11:59 p.m. PDT, due to numerous requests. FEMA will also accept applications for students currently in 8th, 9th, or 10th grade that are engaged in individual and community preparedness, or have experienced a disaster that motivated him or her to make a positive difference in their community.

Youth interested in applying to the Council must submit a completed application form, two letters of recommendation, and academic records. Specific information about completing and submitting the application and attachments can be found in the application instructions. All applications and supporting materials must be received no later than March 20, 2016, 11:59 p.m. PDT in order to be eligible. New Youth Preparedness Council members will be announced in May 2016.

For more information about the Youth Preparedness Council and to access the application materials, please visit

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Buncombe County Holds North Carolina’s First PrepareAthon! Event

On Wednesday, March 9, Buncombe County will host an America’s PrepareAthon! event – becoming the first county in North Carolina to do so. 

The Department of Emergency Services of Buncombe County (EMS) will hold a county-wide tornado drill in coordination with North Carolina’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. On the day of the drill, more than 20,000 students and employees in Buncombe County and the City of Asheville schools and government offices, The Biltmore Group LLC, Ingles Markets, and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College will practice going to their protective location.

The day will kick off with a media event at the EMS office. Following the media event, Biltmore Estate employees will move to their designated safe area as part of the tornado drill.

The National Weather Service will simulate a tornado warning using its routine weekly test for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio network. Students and school faculty also plan to participate in the drill and will immediately move to their designated safe areas and crouch with their hands over their heads until school officials announce the all-clear. City of Asheville employees will practice going to the location that provides the highest available level of protection. The day’s drill will conclude at Ingles Markets.

Buncombe County residents can also register for the county’s notification system, Nixle, to receive emergency alerts and other official announcements. Text BCALERT to 88877 to begin receiving the county's text notifications.

You can find more information about tornado preparedness resources on the America’s PrepareAthon! website. 

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Webinar: Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Outreach and Promotion

On Thursday, March 10, FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division invites you to a webinar featuring several local Community Emergency Response Team programs that developed creative methods to connect with their communities. The webinar will focus on the rewarding and challenging work of CERT programs to increase awareness and conduct promotional activity.

Title: CERT Outreach and Promotion
Date: Thursday, March 10, 2016
Time:  3:00–4:30 p.m. EST

This webinar will feature guest speakers from CERT programs in the following jurisdictions:

  • Tim Tutak, Farmington Hills Emergency Preparedness Commission, MI
  • Kevin Mercier, Sturbridge CERT, MA
  • Ellen Seeley, Cape Coral CERT, FL  


How to Join the Webinar:

We hope to that you will be able to join us on March 10!

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Dates for Your Calendar!

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Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting