FEMA Bulletin Week of September 11, 2017

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Week of September 11, 2017

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines

October 5

FEMA Fiscal Year 2018-2022 Strategic Plan Open Comment Period

Federal Response to Hurricane Irma

FEMA and its federal partners continue the coordinated federal response to Hurricane Irma and support to local authorities as they respond to the damage already caused in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), and Puerto Rico.

More than 32,600 federal personnel are working in support of preparedness and response to Hurricane Irma, including more than 2,300 FEMA staff. Additional staff continue to deploy.

Now, Tropical Depression Irma remains dangerous, and Flash Flood Warnings remain in effect for some areas. Those in the storm’s path must stay vigilant and continue to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information, and follow the direction of state, tribal, and local officials.

Local curfews may be lifted, but survivors should expect and prepare for significant, ongoing impacts, and disruptions to daily activities, and remember that returning home, before storm debris is cleared, is dangerous. FEMA recommends survivors return to their homes only when authorities indicate it is safe, as preemptively returning can pose significant safety risks to both survivors’ safety, as well as that of first responders. People who have evacuated should continue to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information.

Shelters remain open across the affected areas. Download the FEMA mobile app (available in English and Spanish) for a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, directions to open shelters, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) remains open 24/7 to help people cope with the stress of the storm.

As of September 11, FEMA transferred approximately 2.4 million meals and 1.4 million liters of water to the state of Florida, at their request. FEMA also transferred more than 628,000 meals and 900,000 liters of water to the state of Georgia, at their request.  In addition, nearly 443,000 meals, 146,000 liters of water, 56 rolls of blue tarps, and 13 infant/ toddler kits were transferred to St. Thomas and St. John, per their request.

FEMA also continues to coordinate the federal government's efforts to support Commonwealth, territorial, local, private sector, and non-profit partners, as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) continue response and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Teams are already staffing emergency shelters, providing meals, and offering comfort. To those affected by the storm, please visit the following sites for up-to-date information on the response and recovery to Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands:

- VIalert.gov 

- USVIupdate.com
- InformationUSVI.com
- InformUSVI.com     

FEMA continues to urge survivors to register online www.DisasterAssistance.gov as this is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance.

Texas Recovery From Hurricane Harvey Continues

Texas recovery continues, and more than $547 million in federal disaster assistance is provided directly to survivors. That total includes FEMA grants to homeowners and renters, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims paid to policyholders, and low-interest disaster loans for businesses of all sizes, non-profits, homeowners, and renters from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

In partnership with the State of Texas, FEMA is hiring workers across the state for administrative, logistical and technical jobs related to hurricane recovery.

Those hired will join the recovery team – local, state and federal workers, voluntary agencies and community organizations – already in place. Through temporary local employees, FEMA gains valuable community insights, provides jobs and puts Texans to work helping Texans.

Jobs posted recently pay between $14 and $34 per hour. Some of the jobs include: administrative support assistant, civil engineer, communications specialist, construction cost estimator, courier, crisis counselor, customer service specialist, environmental specialist, floodplain management specialist, graphics specialist, hazard mitigation outreach specialist, historic preservation specialist, registered nurse, and voluntary agency liaison, among others.

The first step is to register at WorkinTexas.com, the Texas Workforce Commission’s website, where application instructions are posted. FEMA will announce more jobs soon.

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey - How You Can Help

    The compassion of the American people is evident in their response by volunteering hours to support shelters and preparedness efforts. To donate or volunteer, contact the voluntary or charitable organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org.   For those who wish to help survivors in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, and other impacted states, cash donations offer voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover.  For more information about Hurricane Irma, go to https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-irma. For more information about Hurricane Harvey, go to https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4332.

    In Florida, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FEDM) is coordinating with volunteer organizations across the state and partnering with the American Red Cross to provide shelter operations training to volunteers and AmeriCorps grantees. To volunteer, go to www.volunteerflorida.org or call 1-800-FL-Help-1.

    In Texas, to register as an affiliated volunteer with a voluntary or charitable organization, visit the National VOAD or Texas VOAD for a list of partners active in disaster. Alternatively, you may register your interest to volunteer here for partner organizations to reach out to you. Continue monitoring traditional and social media channels, including www.volunteertx.org for the latest information. You may make a financial donation to a Texas VOAD Member or a National VOAD Member to help voluntary or charitable organizations continue to provide services to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

      September is National Preparedness Month: Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community

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      National Preparedness Month Logo

      Each year, September is recognized as National Preparedness Month reminding us that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and visit. The 2017 theme is Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.

      This week of National Preparedness Month focuses on learning skills that you need to help yourself and others. Life-threatening emergencies happen fast, and emergency responders aren't always nearby. Neighbors and coworkers are often the first to take action immediately after a disaster strikes.

      Train to be a citizen responder through CPR and first aid training or learn how to be the help Until Help Arrives.

      Join a local Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT). CERT will teach you about disaster preparedness and train you in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

      Learn basic actions you can take to prevent injury and property loss. Simple tasks, such as knowing how to shut off your utilities could ensure you’re able to help yourself, and your neighbors after a disaster; talk with your Power Company about utility safety. For more information about National Preparedness Month, go to www.ready.gov/september.

      National Prepareathon Day is September 15. It’s a day of action when families, organizations, and entire communities get better prepared for hazards and other emergencies, and the perfect time to take a few minutes to discuss and practice your emergency plan with your family at home or in a business or organization. Find an event near you. 

      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.

      Representative Bill Shuster, Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

      “Every year, disaster affects families and individuals across every community in America. I am honored to participate in the National Preparedness Month as a Congressional Co-Chair this year. We must help promote the importance of preparing for the next disaster without any notice to ensure the safety of each American is a top priority.”

      Senator Claire McCaskill, Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

      “It’s critical we work to ensure families, friends and communities have a plan in place to stay safe when unexpected disasters strike,” said Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "I'm glad to join FEMA and other agencies during National Preparedness Month to spread the word across Missouri and our nation about the importance of emergency preparedness."

      Representative Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security

      "Ten years ago, Congress passed the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.  As a result of the policies and programs put in place under that law, America is more secure and better prepared to respond to manmade and natural disasters than it was a decade ago.  But, as we witness the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey on the people of Houston, we are reminded that our work is never done.  We have made important improvements to critical capabilities, such as emergency communications, but as climate change continues to bring with it more frequent, more severe weather, we must act more aggressively to maintain a robust preparedness posture and implement meaningful mitigation strategies.  This National Preparedness Month, I urge government officials at the Federal, State, and local level and the public alike to prioritize preparedness efforts and to act proactively to anticipate the evolving threats they face and how to protect their communities."

      Senator John Boozman, Chairman, Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Homeland Security

      “We all have a role to play in preparing for emergencies. Planning ahead is key to keeping our families, communities and nation safe,” said Boozman, Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

      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.