FEMA Bulletin Week of April 9, 2018

Seal of the Department of Homeland Security


April 9, 2018

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines 

April 27

Staffing for Adequate and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants Application Period

April 30

Property Acquisition Open Space Collection Open Comment Period Deadline

May 9

National Incident Management System Resource Management Documents National Engagement Period Deadline

FEMA Approves $53.7 Million in Disaster Community Loans for Municipalities in Puerto Rico

FEMA approved $53.7 million in low-interest Community Disaster Loans (CDL) to 12 municipalities in Puerto Rico. The funds will be used to assist these communities with providing necessary services and perform essential municipal functions as they recover from the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and María.

On Oct. 26, 2017, President Trump signed supplemental appropriations funding permitting the transfer of up to $4.6 billion to FEMA’s Community Disaster Loan Program. CDLs help local governments continue to provide essential operating services after a major disaster. These funds will help Puerto Rico municipalities continue performing essential government functions as they recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria.

To date, the municipalities that will benefit from the Community Disaster Loan Program are: Bayamon, Caguas, Humacao, Juncos, Ponce, Río Grande, Sábana Grande, Salinas, San Lorenzo, Toa Baja, Trujillo Alto and Yabucoa. Another 65 municipalities are in different stages of the application process.

For more information on Hurricane María recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4339.

A young boy carries the Puerto Rico flag up a dirt road near the Arecibo River to his home in the Rio Abajo region of Utuado.
A young boy carries the Puerto Rico flag up a dirt road near the Arecibo River to his home in the Rio Abajo region of Utuado. Photo by Andrea Booher.

FEMA Webinars for Tribal Partners on the Changes to the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

FEMA updated the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA)/Stakeholder Preparedness Review (SPR) methodology for the 2018 submission cycle. Fiscal Year 18 (FY18) Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP) recipients will be required to complete both the THIRA and SPR, but only for eight core capabilities in 2018.

Communities use the THIRA to better understand their risks and determine the level of capability needed to address those risks. Communities use the SPR to estimate their current capabilities, identify capability gaps and their intended approaches for addressing them, and report the impact of FEMA grants on building and sustaining their capabilities. Communities can use their THIRA and SPR data to support a variety of emergency management efforts, including planning, training, exercises, and response and recovery operations.

FEMA is hosting two webinars to help Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP) recipients understand the new methodology and reporting requirements. These webinars will also include an opportunity for participants to ask questions about the updated methodology and reporting cycle. The conference line and Adobe Connect information are below:

WHAT:  FEMA Webinar on Changes to the THIRA and SPR for Tribes

WHO:  FEMA National Preparedness Assessment Division

WHEN:  Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 4:00 PM EDT


Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 12:00 PM EDT



Dial in: 800-320-4330

Participant passcode: 671556

Adobe Connect: https://fema.connectsolutions.com/rer0n9ep6t3e/

Please sign in as a “Guest” and remember to mute your line if not speaking.

Test your Adobe Connect connection prior to the meeting by clicking here.

In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to the THIRA/SPR Helpdesk by email (FEMA-SPR@fema.dhs.gov) or by phone (202-786-9576) if you have any questions.

FEMA Announces the Release of the Annual Report of the Flood Insurance Advocate

FEMA is pleased to announce the release of the 2017 Annual Report of the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate (OFIA). The report is intended to increase transparency, and to support the ongoing improvements to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with the goal of reducing its complexity. A copy of the Annual Report and Summary can be found on FEMA’s website at www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-flood-insurance-advocate.

In 2017, the OFIA identified eight primary policyholder and property owner challenges, which include recommendations that present opportunities for reducing the complexity of FEMA:

- Challenges to customer communication during the claims process;

- Effectiveness of map change communications;

- Misunderstandings regarding Zone A;

- Lack of premium reduction following a lower-level abandonment of a building;

- Basement determination made at the time of loss;

- Lack of refunds for duplicate coverage with private insurance;

- Severe repetitive loss mitigation; and,

- Lenders requiring coverage where a claim would not be paid.

New to this year’s report is the identification of two external trends (affordability and the complexity of the NFIP) that may require legislative or funding action solutions to resolve. The issues identified in this report are based on the observations of the roughly 500 inquiries the Office received, about 25 percent more than last year’s total.

OFIA's mission is to advocate for the fair treatment of policyholders and property owners by providing education and guidance on all aspects of the NFIP, identifying trends affecting the public, and making recommendations for program improvements to FEMA leadership. Policyholders and property owners who are confused and frustrated may seek assistance from the OFIA by visiting their webpage and clicking on “Ask the Advocate”.

FEMA Launches New FloodSmart.gov

FEMA launched the first phase of the new FloodSmart.gov website.

The updates to FloodSmart.gov incorporates social science and website usage research as well as best practices for a streamlined and customer-centric experience. The next phase of the website launch will include insurance agent toolkits, social media templates, marketing tools, and flood map change toolkits.

FEMA Seeks Feedback on National Incident Management System Resource Management Documents

FEMA’s National Integration Center released for public feedback a number of National Incident Management System (NIMS) Resource Management component documents that will enhance interoperability and the effectiveness of mutual aid. This National Engagement Period will conclude at 5 p.m. EDT on May 9, 2018. The National Engagement Period provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on newly developed supplemental guidance.


NIMS provides a nationwide approach to resource management, enabling stakeholders to work together to manage all threats and hazards, regardless of the incident’s cause or size. FEMA developed and released in May 2017 the National Qualification System (NQS), which provides a foundational guideline on the qualification of personnel resources within the NIMS framework, plus supporting tools. FEMA has now crafted two new NIMS Job Titles/Position Qualifications and accompanying Position Task Books, 17 EOC Skillsets, and an accompanying NIMS Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Skillsets User Guide.

The NQS supporting tools for the NIMS Resource Management Component are for use by all levels of government and organizations – including private-sector entities and non-governmental organizations ­– with incident management and support responsibilities.

FEMA will host a series of 60-minute webinars to discuss the NQS supplemental guidance and answer questions. The first of these webinars is Thursday, April 12, beginning at 2 p.m. ET. For more information, go to the NIMS National Engagement webpage.

Save for Your Financial Future

Save for a rainy day because you never know when it may pour.


Begin saving for your financial future during the second week of National Financial Capability Month, April 8-14. Learn how to create a rainy day fund to cover emergency expenses, prepare yourself financially and deal with debt.


FEMA and the U.S. Department of the Treasury will focus on financial preparedness throughout the month. Share the content in the Financial Preparedness Social Media Toolkit and use #FinancialFuture2018 to join the conversation. FEMA will host a Twitter Chat with @Prepareathon on Wednesday, April 11 at 1 p.m. ET to share ways to prepare for your financial future.


On Wednesday, April 18 at 3 p.m. ET, join the Facebook Live – Money: Build it, Grow It, and Secure It to:

- Hear stories of people overcoming financial challenges;

- Discuss practical tips to planning, budgeting, saving, and protecting assets;

- Highlight what organizations are doing to help community members improve their financial well-being; and

- Provide resources to help individuals and families improve their financial future.


Find out more by following #FinancialFuture2018 and visiting Ready.gov/financial-preparedness or MyMoney.gov.


Are you interested in spreading the word about financial preparedness within your community this April? Please visit Ready.gov/financial-toolkit to borrow sample messages and graphics.

Financial preparedness

FEMA Releases Updated Continuity Guidance Circular

FEMA released the Continuity Guidance Circular (CGC) following a nationwide, whole community effort to review and revise the guidance. The CGC guides efforts to develop and maintain the capability to ensure continuity of operations, continuity of government, and enduring constitutional government during an emergency that disrupts normal operations.  Development and maintenance of continuity capabilities helps build and sustain a more resilient nation that is equipped to sustain essential functions and core capabilities and deliver critical services under all conditions.

Last revised in 2013, the CGC describes federal and non-federal continuity efforts; outlines whole community continuity roles, responsibilities, and coordinating structures; and describes the process for building and maintaining capabilities to ensure the performance of essential functions and delivery of critical services and core capabilities.

Organizations and governments at all levels can draw upon the CGC as a reference when creating or revising continuity plans, programs, and processes. Many jurisdictions and organizations already have an existing continuity program and plan, and will use the Circular to refine capabilities and processes.

FEMA offers training, technical assistance, and outreach to assist organizations and governments develop and maintain a continuity plan and program and implement the concepts found within the CGC.  The Continuity Resource Toolkit, found at www.fema.gov/continuity-resource-toolkit, contains these additional tools, templates, and resources. Please direct additional inquiries to FEMA-CGC@fema.dhs.gov.

Reminder of Upcoming Deadlines

Staffing for Adequate and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants Application Period

The application period for the Fiscal Year 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants is open, with $345 million in funding available to enhance the ability of recipients to attain and maintain 24-hour fire department staffing and to assure that their communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Applications are being accepted through 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 27, 2018.


Volunteer, career, and combination fire departments are eligible to apply under the Hiring of Firefighters. Municipalities and fire districts may submit applications on behalf of fire departments when the fire department lacks the legal status to do so, e.g., when the fire department falls within the auspices of the municipality or district. Eligibility for Recruitment and Retention of Firefighters funding is limited to volunteer and combination fire departments. National, state, local, or tribal organizations representing the interests of volunteer firefighters and individual fire departments (volunteer or combination) may apply for assistance for regional projects.

Property Acquisition Open Space Collection Comment Period

FEMA recently listed a Federal Register Notice for public comments about information collection. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice seeks comments concerning the process of property acquisition and relocation for open space as part of FEMA's mitigation grant programs, monitoring requirements after a receiving a grant, and a direct grant to property owners for acquisition and demolition of severe repetitive loss structures. Comments may be submitted through the Federal Register at www.federalregister.gov/d/2018-03949 until April 30, 2018.