FEMA Bulletin Week of October 1, 2018

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October 1, 2018

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines 

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Mandatory Nationwide Test of the Wireless Emergency Alert and Emergency Alert System

Nationwide Test of Emergency Alerting Systems to Be Held Oct. 3

FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct a nationwide test of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Oct.3.The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test, and the first national WEA test.

The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test. The WEA test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" and text that says: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar.

For more information, go to the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System National Test page at https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test.

Wireless Emergency Alert. Example of a Presidential Alert

Annual Update: National Flood Insurance Program Rate Changes Effective April 1, 2019

As announced on Oct. 1, 2018, key changes being made to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on Apr. 1, 2019, include updated Insurance Policy Premium Increases conforming to the premium rate caps established by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA).


Premiums will increase upon renewal an average of 8.2 percent beginning Apr. 1, 2019. These amounts do not include the HFIAA Surcharge, or the Federal Policy Fee (FPF). It is important to note that nearly 80 percent of NFIP policyholders already pay a full-risk rate. 


Annual premium increases of 5 percent for Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) and 15 percent for Newly Mapped procedure policies will become effective Jan. 1, 2020.


Effective Apr. 1, 2019, FEMA will introduce a Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) Premium for all policies covering properties with an SRL designation. The SRL Premium will be 5 percent for all SRL policies.

Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Application Period Now Open

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant program provides funding to state, local, tribal and territorial governments for eligible mitigation activities that strengthen our nation’s ability to reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages.



The open application period for two competitive Hazard Mitigation Assistance grants began on Oct.1.


Flood Mitigation Assistance grants provide funds on an annual basis so that measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  For fiscal year 2018, $160 million is available, including $70 million for community flood mitigation activities. The remaining $90 million will be used for mitigation planning, technical assistance and projects that reduce or eliminate claims under the NFIP.



Pre-Disaster Mitigation grants are awarded annually for all-hazard mitigation planning and projects, such as the construction of community and residential safe rooms and wind retrofits. Pre-Disaster Mitigation grants help state, local, tribal and territorial governments build resiliency through measures that reduce risk to lives and property. For fiscal year 2018, $235.2 million in grants funding is available, of which $15 million is set aside for federally-recognized tribes.



The remainder of the funds will be awarded on a competitive basis. Eligible state, local, tribal and territorial governments applicants may apply for up to $575,000, federal share for projects that reduce risk pre-disaster.


Eligible applicants may apply for the Flood Mitigation Assistance and Pre-Disaster Mitigation grants at https://portal.fema.gov through 3 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, 2019.



For more information, visit www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance.

FEMA Releases Further Guidance on Emergency Operations Centers

FEMA’s National Integration Center released documents addressing the need for flexibility in Emergency Operations Center (EOC) guidance, and EOC Skillsets standardizing EOC personnel qualifications under the National Qualification System (NQS).



As a part of NQS, EOC Skillsets support standardized qualifications for EOC personnel, and are flexible to accommodate any EOC. EOC Skillsets let individual EOC leaders build position qualifications according to their organization’s needs and resources, while building a national vocabulary for EOC personnel qualifications.


The EOC Skillset documents include:



- 20 EOC Skillsets define demonstrable tasks associated with common EOC functions;


- The EOC Skillsets User Guide explains EOC Skillsets, and how to use them to construct EOC Position Task Books (PTB);


- EOC Position Task Books (PTB) provides modified language from the standard NQS PTB introductory language, in order to be more applicable for the EOC environment; and


- EOC Skillset Blank Template allows EOC leaders to add additional tasks, and make the EOC PTBs reflect the full range of tasks for their specific positions.



FEMA developed the EOC Skillsets collaboratively with leaders from local, state, tribal, and territorial EOCs. FEMA is hosting a series of 60-minute webinars to discuss the EOC Skillsets and answer questions. To view the documents and for additional webinar information, visit:




Please contact FEMA-NIMS@fema.dhs.gov with any questions or concerns.

Participate in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

The 2018 Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill is coming soon. FEMA, in partnership with ShakeOut, encourages everyone to take action and register their participation in Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. 


The 2018 International ShakeOut day is Oct. 18, when millions of people worldwide will drop, cover, and hold on during earthquake drills in schools, organizations, communities, and households at 10:18 a.m. local time. Earthquakes can happen where we work, live, or travel, and earthquake drills are an opportunity for everyone, everywhere, to practice earthquake safety and other aspects of emergency plans. Visit ShakeOut.org to register your participation, find resources, and learn more.


To learn more about earthquake safety, watch the video, When the Earth Shakes, and visit Ready.gov


October 18 2018 Great ShakeOut graphics

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is commemorating its 15th year as an annual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. It's a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online, while increasing the resiliency of the Nation during cyber-threats.

The theme for the first week of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Oct. 1-5, is Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety.

Learn the basics of cybersecurity safety:

Basic Cybersecurity Safety Tips and Advice from STOP. THINK. CONNECT.  The cybersecurity awareness campaign from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

- Secure key accounts and devices. Use strong passwords, passcodes, or other features such as touch identification to lock your devices. Review these tips for passwords and securing your accounts.

- Lock Down Your Login Protect accounts with strong authentication.

When in doubt, throw it out – Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to compromise your information. If it looks suspicious, delete it.

- Back It Up – Protect against data loss by making electronic copies of important files.

- Manage Your Privacy – Information about you, such as your purchase history and location, is valuable. Protect your data by being cautious about how your information is collected by apps and websites.

- Respond to identify theft, fraud, and crime – If you are the victim of cybercrime, you need to know what to do and respond quickly.

Learn how to keep your personal data safe during a Twitter chat on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 3 p.m. ET. Use #ChatSTC to join.


DHS Cyber Security Month graphic

Reminder of Upcoming Deadlines

FEMA Announces Notice of Funding Opportunity for Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program

FEMA announced the annual funding opportunity for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) is now open. The application period will close at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 26.


The FY 2018 AFG program will award $315 million to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters against fire-related deaths and hazards.

FEMA awards AFG funding to fire departments, non-affiliated EMS organizations, and state fire- training academies. FEMA also awards funding to nonprofit organizations with experience and expertise in fire prevention, fire safety programs and activities, or firefighter research and development programs.


Since 2002, FEMA has awarded $7.4 billion in fire grants. Historically, 84 percent of awards go towards purchasing personal protective equipment, vehicles and other operational equipment.


Applicant tools, including the Notice of Funding Opportunity, and information about application webinars are available at www.fema.gov/welcome-assistance-firefighters-grant-program. The AFG Notice of Funding Opportunity is also available at www.grants.gov.