FEMA Bulletin Week of May 25, 2020

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Week of May 25, 2020

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Reminders

May 29

Application period ends for FP&S grants.

June 17

Feedback period for NIMS updates ends at 5 p.m.

June 26

Application period ends for High Hazard Potential Dam Grant.

FEMA Releases COVID-19 Operational Guidance for Hurricane Season

FEMA released "COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season" to help emergency managers and public health officials best prepare for disasters, while continuing to respond to and recover from COVID-19. 


The guide provides actions emergency managers and public officials can take to prepare for response and recovery operations during ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. Specifically, the guidance:

  • Describes anticipated challenges to disaster operations posed by COVID-19.
  • Highlights planning considerations for emergency managers based on current challenges.
  • Outlines how FEMA plans to adapt response and recovery operations.
  • Creates a shared understanding of expectations between FEMA and emergency managers.
  • Includes guidance, checklists and resources to support emergency managers response and recovery planning.

Private sector and non-governmental organizations can use the guidance to gain an understanding of the government’s posture, planning and readiness efforts.


To expand awareness and understanding of the guidance, FEMA’s National Preparedness Directorate is conducting four webinars. The webinars will allow emergency managers an opportunity to discuss how the guidance can assist jurisdictions review and modify their plans given the constraints and limitations of the ongoing pandemic. To register:



Download the COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season on the FEMA website.

NOAA Releases Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season. Visit the NOAA website for more information.

Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

FEMA Announces Funding for Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program

FEMA released the Notice of Funding Opportunity for $10 million in funding for the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program. The program provides funding to eligible states and local governments to close known preparedness capability gaps, encourage innovative regional solutions to issues related to catastrophic incidents and build on existing regional preparedness efforts, including pandemic preparedness. 


Changes to the 2020 funding include regional pandemic preparedness as a program objective, with specific focus on pandemic planning activities. This is to address the Community Lifelines and Core Capabilities that are essential to pandemic preparedness.


The application period closes 5 p.m. ET on July 15. Submissions must be made through Grants.gov. The funding notice and additional information is available on the FEMA website as well as on Grants.gov, under Assistance Listings Number 97.111.

FEMA Provides Grants for Food Assistance

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FEMA's Public Assistance program is reimbursing eligible states for the purchase and distribution of food as an emergency protective measure.


The pandemic has exacerbated the need for food assistance, especially to people who have difficulties obtaining and preparing food and those individuals considered high-risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Many states used Public Assistance funding to purchase and distribute millions of pounds of food to their networks of food banks to help feed those who cannot otherwise prepare or obtain needed food due to the pandemic. States like Arizona are using their National Guard troops to help package and deliver meals. Pennsylvania state agencies partnered with Operation BBQ Relief to provide freshly prepared meals using the power of closed restaurants, available restaurant workers and available commercial-sized food products to produce family style meals. In California, the Great Plates Program helped seniors and other adults at high risk of COVID-19 infection to stay home and healthy by delivering three nutritional meals a day.


Food insecurity is not limited to any one region or state, and almost all states are supporting the purchase and distribution of food to vulnerable and high-risk populations to save lives and protect public health during this pandemic. You can learn more about the purchase and distribution of food eligible for Public Assistance on the FEMA website.

Packaging food

Pennsylvania state agencies partnered with Operation BBQ Relief to provide 180,000 freshly prepared and pre-packaged meals per week to individuals, seniors and families in need.

FEMA Releases Revised NIMS Training Program

FEMA released the revised National Incident Management System (NIMS) Training Program, which provides a structure for national training and strengthens the nation's ability to manage incidents, events and emergencies.


The training program establishes the roles and responsibilities of FEMA and members of the NIMS stakeholder community. It identifies specific activities for developing, maintaining and sustaining a training program that prepares all incident personnel to understand their respective responsibilities and work together during incidents. The focus areas of the program include the Incident Command System, Joint Information System, Emergency Operation Center and the Multiagency Coordination Group. 


The document is available on the FEMA website.

FEMA Seeks Comments on Voluntary Agreement

On May 21, FEMA hosted a virtual public meeting on developing a voluntary agreement under the Defense Production Action. The voluntary agreement will help maximize the effectiveness of the distribution of critical medical resources nationwide to respond to pandemics, specifically to the coronavirus pandemic. FEMA is now seeking comments on the development of the voluntary agreement. 


To request a copy of the draft voluntary agreement, send an email to FEMA. The deadline to submit comments is 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, May 29. All comments can be submitted to the Federal Register Docket ID FEMA-2020-0016 or by email to FEMA.

FEMA Holds Webinars on Updated Preliminary Damage Assessment Guide

Earlier this month, FEMA released the agency’s updated Preliminary Damage Assessment Guide (PDA Guide) and its accompanying Preliminary Damage Assessment Pocket Guide (PDA Pocket Guide). A one-year comment period for the PDA Guide will begin June 8, 2020 and close on June 8, 2021.  To provide additional information on the guide, FEMA is holding three separate webinars at 2 p.m. on May 26, May 27 and May 28.


To register:


Find the PDA Guide and PDA Pocket Guide and comment matrices on the FEMA website. Use the appropriate comment matrix and submit comments to the FEMA Recovery Policy Inbox.

FEMA Highlights Community Efforts


In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, nonprofit and voluntary organizations work together with the federal, state, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector to address needs of those communities most affected. FEMA is highlighting stories from our partners that show how communities are addressing the needs of the most vulnerable population by providing food, emotional and spiritual care, and other resources during the pandemic. 


One organization on the frontlines of these efforts is the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). To date, more than 8,502 AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers have served in direct response to COVID-19. They have assisted nearly 1.4 million people, provided 2.4 million meals and distributed nearly 15 million pounds of food.


AmeriCorps in St. Louis, MO is supporting the St. Louis COVID-19 Homeless Outreach Coalition in partnership with the City of St. Louis to provide outreach services to the unhoused population of St. Louis. In partnership with The Salvation Army, they are delivering food prepared by local caterers to congregate shelters and the homes of the elderly and those with access and functional needs.


In Michigan, Senior Corps members have partnered with the United Way to reach out to vulnerable populations, provide transportation to medical appointments and sew homemade face masks for anyone who needs one. They have also brought comfort and companionship to assisted living residents through letter writing.


Visit FEMA Best Practices page to read more stories about communities making a difference.

Stay Updated with FEMA COVID-19 Information Hub

To ensure access to critical information for everyone, the agency has updated the FEMA website with coronavirus (COVID-19) response-specific pages that include critical information for the general public, as well as various federal, state, tribal and territorial stakeholders.


All COVID-19 webpages were available in Spanish a week after the initial launch, and additional languages of Haitian Creole, Vietnamese and Simplified Chinese are being added for all items related to various stakeholders, to ensure information in the top four languages in the country is available. News releases and fact sheets that provide critical information to the general public are also being translated into an additional eight languages.

FEMA Alert System Used During Coronavirus Response

Emergency officials across the country have sent over 338 important safety messages on the coronavirus pandemic to their residents using the FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).


As of Tuesday, May 26, 93 agencies across 29 states and the District of Columbia, as well as two Indian tribes and one U.S. territory, have sent a total of 338 messages. This includes 275 alerts containing information on COVID-19 to cell phones and other wireless devices via the Wireless Emergency Alerts and 63 alerts to radios/televisions via the Emergency Alert System. For more information on IPAWS and how to be able to use the system to send alerts, visit the FEMA website.


IPAWS is a national system for local alerting that provides authenticated emergency alert and information messaging to the public through cell phones and internet applications using Wireless Emergency Alerts and to radio and television via the Emergency Alert System.

Upcoming Deadlines and Reminders

Application Period Closes Friday for Fire Prevention and Safety Grants

The application period for Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grants closes at 5 p.m. ET this Friday, May 29. The grants support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards within the areas of fire prevention and firefighter safety research and development. There is $35 million in funding available.


FEMA Seeks Feedback on NIMS Update

FEMA is seeking public feedback for an update of the 2009 National Incident Management System (NIMS) Implementation Objectives for federal departments and agencies. National engagement provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the draft implementation objectives to ensure they are relevant for all implementing partners. The national engagement period will conclude at 5 p.m. ET on June 17. For more information on the webinars and to review the draft objectives, visit the FEMA website.


FEMA Accepts Applications for High Hazard Potential Dam Grants

The application period is open for the Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dam Grant Program. The grant program provides technical, planning, design and construction assistance in the form of grants for the rehabilitation of eligible high hazard potential dams. Eligible applicants must be non-federal sponsors, which include non-federal governments and non-profit organizations. Applicants can apply on Grants.gov by the June 26 deadline. For more information about the Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams Grant Program, visit the FEMA website.