FEMA Bulletin Week of October 3, 2017

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Week of October 3, 2017

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines 


 FEMA Fiscal Year 2018-2022 Strategic Plan Open Comment Period

FEMA and Federal Partners Provide Unified Response to Support Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

Earlier this week, FEMA Administrator Brock Long met with Governor Ricardo Rosselló and other federal partners in Puerto Rico for the third time since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the islands.  The focus of the federal efforts remain on making roads accessible, and providing emergency power for the purposes of life sustaining activities. The entire federal family, working in tandem with partners in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) are engaging in a unified effort for stabilization and recovery.

Recent progress in Puerto Rico includes:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is working with Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and representatives from Department of Energy on power restoration, and the installation of emergency generators throughout the island. USACE is also undertaking debris clearance efforts and bolstering dams weakened by the storms. Power is restored to the business district in San Juan.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues working with volunteers, FEMA Urban Search and Rescue, and Department of Defense (DoD) on hospital stabilization, inspection, and patient care. Commodities continue to be distributed through Commonwealth Regional Staging Areas.

The United States Forest Service is clearing the roads with contracted partners in the area, and with members from DoD, while Customs and Border Patrol continues to make targeted flights over the island to check on the well-being of survivors and providing security to responders on the ground. As a result of their work, major highways and state roads are now open.

The United States Coast Guard continues to assist with port assessments, communications, support for federal response, and transporting lifesaving and life sustaining commodities. 

The private sector plays a key role in helping to stabilize commodities. More than 65 percent of grocery and big box stores are open, and more than 65 percent of Puerto Rico’s gas stations are open. All airports are open, and commercial air traffic resumed last week.

Recent progress in the U.S. Virgin Islands includes:

- The USACE is installing generators at critical facilities. Also, through the Blue Roof Program, USACE is providing temporary roofing to survivors.

- The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing to conduct port assessments and supporting interagency efforts. The ports of Crown Bay, Charlotte Amalie, East Gregerie Channel, West Gregerie Channel, and Red Hook Bay on St. Thomas, the ports of Frederiksted, Krause Lagoon, Limetree Bay, St. Croix, and the port of Cruz Bay on St. John are open with restrictions.

- The U.S. Postal Service is providing mail for pickup or delivery to post office boxes at offices in St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John.

Have you heard FEMA Administrator Brock Long speak about ongoing federal response support to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, following Hurricane Maria?  Here are just a few of his recent media interviews. Administrator Long spoke with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News This Week about the value of a strong unified command, and the work being done with local and Commonwealth officials. On FOX News Sunday, Administrator Long spoke about the complexity of response after Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were hit not just by one major hurricane, but two, within a 10-day period.

Information to include news, rumor control, how you can help, safety tips and more can be found at http://www.fema.gov/hurricane-maria.

How You Can Help

The fastest way to help the survivors of the hurricanes, whether through financial donation or personal volunteerism is through a trusted organization.

Donations - cash is best: The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) lists trusted organizations receiving donations, many of which are already coordinating relief and response efforts in the Caribbean. The NVOAD website has information on non-profit organizations accepting or registering individual in-kind donations here. For corporate donations connect here. You may also make financial donations to a National VOAD member organization to help voluntary or charitable organizations continue to provide services to Hurricane Maria survivors.

NVOAD is coordinating closely with the Puerto Rico Governor’s Office on offers of assistance. To make a cash donation directly to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, visit www.unitedforpuertorico.com. Donations for the USVI can be made to 

Volunteering: Anyone seeking an opportunity to get involved in response and recovery operations is encouraged to volunteer with local and nationally known organizations. A list of volunteer websites is available at www.nvoad.org. Those who wish to register to volunteer to support response efforts for Hurricane Maria can go here for Puerto Rico (https://prvoad.communityos.org/cms/irma) and here: (https://usvivoad.communityos.org/cms/irma) for the U.S. Virgin Islands. To register as an affiliated volunteer with a voluntary or charitable organization, visit the National 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.

For more information, go to https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-maria. 

Beware of Fraud After a Disaster

After a disaster, be alert for false rumors, scams, identity theft, and fraud just at the time when many Americans are working hard to help themselves and their families and neighbors.

For information about false rumors circulating on the internet and social media, go to FEMA's Hurricane Rumor Control page. If you suspect fraud, you can contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud’s hotline at 1-866-720-5721, send an email to disaster@leo.gov, or contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.  Learn more about the National Center for Disaster Fraud at www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud.

National Flood Insurance Program Bulletin Announces Rate Changes Effective April 2018

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides the opportunity for homeowners, renters, and businesses to purchase flood insurance for financial protection against flooding.  FEMA continues to take important steps to comply with flood insurance reform legislation outlined in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) (P.L. 112-141)  and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA) (P.L. 113-89).

One way to comply is by implementing the incremental rate increases needed to bring rates to full risk.  Presently, 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 BW-12 or HFIAA.

The NFIP is working with the Write Your Own (WYO) insurance companies to inform insurance agents and other stakeholders on the changes that will take effect next year on April 1, 2018.  A couple of key changes being made to the program include updated Insurance Policy Premium Increases conforming to the premium rate caps established by BW-12 (Section 100205) and HFIAA (Section 5).

Premiums will increase from an average of 8 percent  beginning April 1, 2018. These amounts do not include the HFIAA surcharge or the Federal Policy Fee. For more specific information on individual policy rate changes, please view the WYO Program Bulletin which is available at http://www.nfipiservice.com/Bulletin_2017.html.  

Fiscal Year 2018 Consumer Price Index Adjustments

FEMA is adjusting the following based on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Consumer Price Index (CPI): statewide per capita indicator, the countywide per capita indicator, the maximum amount for small project grants, the minimum amount for project worksheets, and the maximum amount of assistance under the Individuals and Households Program. These adjustments will impact all disasters declared on or after October 1, 2017.

- Statewide Per Capita Impact Indicator: Used to evaluate impact of disaster at state level -- $1.46

- Countywide Per Capita Indicator: Used to evaluate impact of disaster at county level -- $3.68

- Maximum amount for small project grants: Maximum grant made under Public Assistance Simplified Procedures -- $125,500

- Minimum amount for Project Worksheets: Minimum amount that will be approved for any Project Worksheet under the Public Assistance Program -- $3,140

- Maximum amount of assistance under the Individuals and Households Program: Maximum amount of financial assistance provided to an individual or household under the Individuals and Households Program -- $34,000

For additional information about these adjustments, review the notices on the Federal Register.

FEMA Urges Participation in ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

FEMA is urging all Americans to participate in the 2017 Great ShakeOut, the largest annual earthquake drill, as a way of learning how to react in the event of an earthquake. The Great ShakeOut is the annual earthquake drill held on the third Thursday of October. It is coordinated across all states and territories with support from the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, the Southern California Earthquake Center, the Ready Campaign, Prepareathon, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation, ShakeOut.org, and others.

The Great ShakeOut will be on October 19 at 10:19 a.m. local time. At that time, participants will "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" as practice for what to do in the event of an earthquake. Quakes could happen in at least 33 states and territories that have moderate to very high risk of earthquake, in addition other states also at risk nationwide. Knowing what to do before an earthquake could determine how well you survive and recover. Learn steps that you can take with the Earthquake Safety Checklist. Learn more about how to register and participate in the ShakeOut drill at www.ShakeOut.org. 

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 31, 2017. We look forward to your ideas and suggestions.