FEMA Bulletin Week of September 4, 2017

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Week of September 4, 2017

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

October 5

FEMA Fiscal Year 2018-2022 Strategic Plan Open Comment Period

FEMA and Federal Partners Continue Coordinated Response to Hurricane Harvey

FEMA and its federal partners continue the coordinated federal response to Hurricane Harvey.  Life-saving efforts continue in some areas, especially around Beaumont, Texas, where there are still evacuations.


President Donald J. Trump made additional disaster assistance available on September 2 to Texas by authorizing an increase in federal funding for certain eligible costs. The President’s action authorized 90-percent federal cost share for debris removal, including direct federal assistance; and a 100-percent federal cost share for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for 30 days from the start of the incident period, August 25, and then a 90-percent federal cost share thereafter.


In many areas of Texas and Louisiana, survivors are now able to return home. In these areas, FEMA, along with federal, state, local, and tribal partners, are able to move forward toward the longer-term recovery process. There are more than 30,000 federal partners working on the response and recovery efforts in wake of Hurricane Harvey.


FEMA continues to urge survivors to register online www.DisasterAssistance.gov as this is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance. Tangible signs of the recovery phase include Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) in Texas, to support disaster survivors; a Joint Field Office (JFO) that has opened in Austin, Texas, to support recovery efforts; and the appointment of Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator (FDRC) Mike Byrne. Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSATs) are also in the field, registering survivors and addressing both immediate and emerging needs.

FEMA Prepares for Hurricane Irma

FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., its Regional Response Coordination Centers (RRCC) in New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta, and FEMA liaisons to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, are working with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to prepare for Hurricane Irma.

According to the National Hurricane Center, as of September 5 at 9 a.m. Eastern, Hurricane Irma is an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane with winds of 175 mph moving closer to the Caribbean. FEMA staff are deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands emergency operations centers on St. Thomas and St. Croix to support any requests for federal assistance. Additionally, two Regional Incident Management Teams are on the ground in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Staff from the FEMA Caribbean Area Division are on the ground in Puerto Rico to provide support to commonwealth and local officials as requested.  Additionally, a Regional Incident Management Assistance Team is on the ground in San Juan.

FEMA maintains commodities strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories, including in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where more than 600,000 liters of water and 290,000 meals are available, if needed and requested.  In the U.S. Virgin Islands, there are more than 115,000 liters of water and 210,000 meals pre-staged.

History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly. Residents and visitors in areas potentially affected by the severe weather should continue to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information, and follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal officials. Download the FEMA mobile app (available in English and Spanish) for a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.

FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program Enhances the Flood Claims Process and Extends Grace Period for Policy Renewals

To support the ongoing disaster recovery in Texas, FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is enhancing the flood insurance claims process and extending the grace period for paying policy renewal premiums for insured survivors affected by Hurricane Harvey.


Due to the wide-spread catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, FEMA implemented temporary changes to rush recovery money into the hands of NFIP policyholders, for repair and replacement of flood-damaged properties. FEMA also wants to ensure continuous flood insurance coverage for current NFIP policyholders affected by this storm, even if the renewed policy premium cannot be paid at this time. FEMA is directing all NFIP private insurance partners to:

- Provide advance payments on flood claims, even before visits by an adjuster;

- Increase the advance payment allowable for policyholders who provide photographs or video depicting flood  damage and expenses, or a contractor’s itemized estimate;

- Waive use of the initial Proof of Loss (POL) form; and,

- Extend the grace period for payment of NFIP flood insurance policy renewal premiums to 120 days. This applies to policies covering properties in Texas counties that are designated under the Presidential Disaster Declaration, and were set to renew July 24 through September 27, 2017.


The NFIP has implemented a number of changes to the program over the past two years, and these enhanced claims processes are part of FEMA's ongoing effort to make the program easier for policyholders to navigate and use. More information about this grace period extension is available online.

September is National Preparedness Month: Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends.

National Preparedness Month Logo

National Preparedness Month raises public awareness about the need be prepared for emergencies and disasters that could affect us. The 2017 theme is Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can. The first week of National Preparedness Month focuses on simple, no-cost steps you can take to be prepared.

- Make an emergency communication plan so your family will know how to get in touch with each other if you are not all together in an emergency. Encourage friends to make their plans too!

- Identify an out of town contact to help your household reconnect.  Learn what disasters can happen in your community, and know your evacuation routes.

- Stay informed by signing up to receive local alerts and warnings and by downloading the FEMA App. Check your insurance policy protections and ensure you are covered for all hazards, including floods and earthquakes.

Remember, National Prepareathon Day is September 15 when the nation will come together to take action and practice preparedness in advance of an emergency. For more information about National Preparedness Month, go to www.ready.gov/september.

Congressional Support for National Preparedness Month

FEMA appreciates the support of the Members of Congress who are serving as 2017 co-sponsors for National Preparedness Month. Throughout September, the FEMA Bulletin will feature statements from these members.

Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

“As we have seen in Wisconsin and throughout the United States, disasters can strike without warning. Being prepared for potential emergencies and natural disasters is very important. As Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I am honored to participate as a Congressional Co-Chair for the 2017 National Preparedness Month,” said Chairman Johnson.”

Representative Michael McCaul, Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security

“Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can. This National Preparedness Month, I encourage all individuals, families, and communities to take proactive steps to prepare for a disaster. Make an emergency kit and plan. Download the FEMA App and follow your local emergency response officials. If you see something, say something. Working together, we can ensure our communities are well prepared.”

Fiscal Year 2017 DHS Competitive Preparedness Grant Programs Final Allocations Announced

As part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ongoing efforts to support state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, Acting Secretary Elaine Duke announced final allocations of $288 million for six Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 DHS competitive preparedness grant programs. These allocations, in addition to the more than $1.3 billion in non-competitive grant funding announced by DHS and FEMA in June, total more than $1.6 billion in FY 2017 to assist states, urban areas, tribal and territorial governments, nonprofit agencies, and the private sector with their preparedness efforts.

Together with previous grant funding awarded since 2002, DHS has awarded more than $49 billion to these partners. Preparedness grants strengthen our nation’s ability to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

Also, $8 million of funding was announced for Homeland Security National Training Program/Continuing Training Grants, to be used in accordance with congressional guidance to develop and deliver training that addresses priority gaps in core capabilities and responds to specific threats and hazards.

Reminder of Upcoming Deadlines

FEMA Seeks Input on Fiscal Year 2018-2022 FEMA Strategic Plan

FEMA Administrator Long strongly believes in the importance of hearing external partners’ perspectives to help FEMA improve the way business is done. Throughout the next few months, FEMA is inviting its stakeholders and partners from across the whole community to help shape the Fiscal Year 2018-2022 FEMA Strategic Plan. In an effort to reach as many stakeholders and partners as possible, FEMA is accepting feedback via IdeaScale – an interactive, web-based application that allows idea sharing, collaboration and engagement.

FEMA is looking for input and engagement on:

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

- How can FEMA simplify recovery programs and reduce disaster costs while ensuring accountability, customer service, and fiscal stewardship?

Buying Down Risk through Preparedness and Mitigation

- How should risk be calculated in awarding grants?

- What type of grants are best suited for effectively reducing risk?

- How do we incentivize more investment in preparedness/mitigation prior to a disaster (not only federal investment)?

- How should the nation, including but not limited to FEMA, train and credential a surge disaster workforce ahead of major disasters?

- What are new ways to think about a true culture of preparedness?

We value the input and diverse perspectives that you bring to help inform this process, the final product, and our efforts. Our IdeaScale campaigns will be open until October 5, 2017. We look forward to your ideas and suggestions.