FEMA Bulletin Week of October 8, 2018

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October 8, 2018

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Deadlines 

October 18

2018 Great ShakeOut

Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 Transforms Field of Emergency Management

On Oct. 5, 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA) into law as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018.



As the 2017 hurricane season and California wildfires demonstrated, impacts from a disaster can be devastating. With the economic disruption and the cost of disasters on the rise nationwide, FEMA worked closely with Congress over the past year as they considered, and ultimately passed, important reforms to federal disaster programs.


These reforms acknowledge the shared responsibility of disaster response and recovery, aim to reduce the complexity of FEMA and build the nation’s capacity for the next catastrophic event.


Highlights from the DRRA include:



Greater investment in mitigation, before a disaster: Authorizing the National Public Infrastructure Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, funded through the Disaster Relief Fund as a six percent set aside from disaster expenses. 


Reducing risk from future disasters after fire: Providing hazard mitigation grant funding in areas that received Fire Management Assistance Grants as a result of wildfire.  Adding 14 new mitigation project types associated with wildfires and windstorms.


Increasing state capacity to manage disaster recovery: Allowing for higher rates of reimbursement to state, local, tribal and territorial partners for their administrative costs when implementing public assistance and hazard mitigation projects. Additionally, the legislation provides flexibility for states and tribes to administer their own post-disaster housing missions, while encouraging the development of disaster housing strategies.


Providing greater flexibility to survivors with disabilities: Increasing the amount of assistance available to individuals and households affected by disasters, including allowing accessibility repairs for people with disabilities, without counting those repairs against their maximum disaster assistance grant award.


Retaining skilled response and recovery personnel: Authorizing FEMA to appoint certain types of temporary employees who have been with the agency for three continuous years to full time positions in the same manner as federal employees with competitive status. This allows the agency to retain and promote talented, experienced emergency managers.


The full text of the bill can be found at www.congress.gov.

FEMA Releases Spanish Translation of the Continuity Guidance Circular

FEMA released the Spanish-language version of the Continuity Guidance Circular (CGC). The Spanish translation, titled Circular de Guías de Continuidad, will ensure that critical segments of the whole community can use the document to enhance continuity planning, operations and capabilities.


Development and maintenance of continuity capabilities help build a more resilient nation equipped to sustain essential functions and core capabilities and deliver critical services under all conditions. Organizations and governments at all levels can draw upon the CGC as a reference when creating or revising continuity plans, programs and processes.


The effort to translate the document was spearheaded by the Puerto Rico Capacity Building Sector and local translation team. The document translation will further capacity building efforts following Hurricane Maria by providing guidance and resources in the native language of territorial and local emergency managers. 


Please direct any inquiries on the CGC to FEMA-CGC@fema.dhs.gov.

Nationwide Test of Emergency Alerting Systems Complete

The Oct. 3 national Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) test messages were successfully originated and sent through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. All wireless provider gateways acknowledged receipt of the test message. 



Only WEA compatible cell phones that were switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA were capable of receiving the test message.



This was the fourth nationwide EAS test and the first nationwide WEA test. FEMA is committed to continuously improving the national alert and warning systems and supporting local authorities in getting effective and timely warning to people. 



FEMA will collect additional results from wireless providers that participated in the EAS test over the next month, and will report the results compared against previous EAS tests.   



FEMA invites the public to send information on the reach and effectiveness of the nationwide WEA test to FEMA-National-Test@fema.dhs.gov. Valuable information includes:



- Whether your mobile device displayed a WEA test message;


- The make, model and operating system version of your mobile device;

- Your wireless service provider;


- Confirmation that the device was turned on and in the same location for at least 30 minutes after the start of the test (2:18 p.m. ET);


- The location of the device, including the device’s environment (e.g. indoors or outdoors, rural or urban, mobile or stationary);


- Confirmation that you are normally able to make calls, receive texts, or use apps at that location;


- Confirm the mobile device in use at the time of the alert (for a call or other use); and


- Confirmation that others at your location received the WEA test alert message.

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 everyone has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online, while increasing the resiliency of the nation during cyber-threats.



The second week of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), October 8-12, is Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity.

The demand for well-trained cyber pros is at an all-time high. DHS is working with our nation’s private industry, academia, non-profit organizations, and governments at all levels to develop and maintain an unrivaled, globally competitive cybersecurity workforce.

From young students learning to code, to teachers promoting educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, and working professionals preparing for certifications, there is a role in cybersecurity for everyone. This October, everyone is encouraged to get involved in learning about their role in increasing the pipeline of future cybersecurity professionals.

The NICCS Education and Training Catalog is a central location where cybersecurity professionals across the nation can find over 3,000 cybersecurity-related courses.

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies has tools and resources available for anyone seeking to know more about the cybersecurity field, how to advance a cybersecurity career, and more.

The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center provides hands-on professional development, free cybersecurity curricula to K-12 teachers, and programs and competitions to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education mission is to energize and promote a robust network and an ecosystem of cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development.

DHS Cyber Security Month graphic

Home Fire Drill Day

Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, is the last day of National Fire Prevention Week. The Ready Campaign is partnering with Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen to support Home Fire Drill Day. The partners created TV and radio public service announcements to highlight the importance of making and practicing family fire evacuation plans. Home Fire Drill Day encourages everyone to practice a fire drill and know what to do in the event of a home fire. 

With a home fire occurring approximately every 90 seconds, they are one of the biggest life safety threats facing families in America today. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, less than half of Americans who have a plan have practiced it. It takes only two minutes to practice your plan, which is roughly the same amount of time it should take to safely escape a home fire.

Here are some basics to know before you practice:

- Know where to go.

- Check your smoke alarms.

- Do the drills.


- On Oct. 13, make a family fire safety plan.

- Visit Home Fire Drill Day and pledge to conduct drills twice a year.  

- To learn more about fire safety, download a home safety checklist.

Download FEMA’s Life Saving Skills Social Media Toolkit to help you prepare for and protect against disasters, as well as increase your awareness about common household hazards.

FEMA to Host National Response Framework Update Webinars

As part of FEMA’s renewed effort to build a national culture of preparedness, the agency is updating the National Response Framework (NRF) to incorporate lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane and wildfire season.



The updated NRF will be scalable, flexible and adaptable, using the core capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal and will continue to focus on the capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs during disasters.

FEMA is hosting a series of one-hour engagement webinars to describe the update and answer participants’ questions. These webinars are intended for the whole community, including individuals and communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners.

The schedule and webinar details are below. All times listed are Eastern Time:


Webinar 1: 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15.



Webinar 2: Noon Thursday, Oct.18.


Webinar 3: 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24.


Webinar 4: 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. 




Advance registration is required and on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, request assistive accommodations, or for more information, please contact: NRF@fema.dhs.gov.

For more information on the update, visit www.fema.gov/national-planning-frameworks.

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.


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 government 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.