FEMA Bulletin Week of September 7, 2020

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Week of September 7, 2020

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Reminders

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Webinar on Disaster Public Assistance Purchasing 2 p.m. ET

Sept 9

Webinar on Mitigation Planning at 1 p.m. ET.

Sept 17

Comment Period for Debris Monitoring Guide Closes.

National Preparedness Month: Build a Kit

September is National Preparedness Month. Each week this month, National Preparedness Month will highlight easy-to-follow steps that your family can take to improve preparedness at home. This week, the theme is Make A Kit.


After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for several days for each person in your home. An emergency supply kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency or available “to go” if you have to evacuate in a hurry.


Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with essential items, including items that can protect you and your family from coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, such as masks, hand sanitizer and other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, consider the unique needs of each member in your household, such as supplies for seniors, individuals with disabilities and even pets. For families with infants, be sure to include formula, bottles, diapers and wipes.


Store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supply kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers, such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.


Having an emergency supply kit stocked with essential items allows you to be better prepared, no matter where or when disaster strikes. Visit Ready.gov/Kit for more information on what to include in your kit.


Congressional Support for National Preparedness Month

Thirteen members of Congress are serving as 2020 co-sponsors for the 2020 National Preparedness Month. Throughout September, the FEMA Bulletin will feature statements from these members.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs:

“In a year with unprecedented disasters across our country, it is imperative that Americans plan ahead before disasters strike. As our first responders work to assist with COVID-19, wildfires in California and hurricane recovery operations in the Gulf states, it is critical that Americans heed the warnings of public safety officials. No action is more important than preparedness, and I am honored to serve as congressional co-chair for the 2020 National Preparedness Month.”

Oregon Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:

“September marks another National Preparedness Month, reminding us all to take precautions to prepare for natural disasters like earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis and hurricanes that can wreak havoc on our communities. Natural disasters are nothing new, but the extreme weather events of the last several years have resulted in devastating and catastrophic hurricanes, wildfires and floods, which are only becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change.

No community is immune to natural disaster – it’s critically important that we develop updated strategies to better protect and prepare our communities for emergencies. During National Preparedness Month, I encourage all of us to take the time to refresh our own personal plans and learn what we can do now to help protect ourselves and loved ones in case disaster strikes.”


Visit Ready.gov to see the list of 13 congressional co-chairs who are helping promote National Preparedness Month throughout the country.  You too can help share preparedness messaging by using the social media safety graphics and various public service announcements during the month of September.

FEMA Releases COVID-19 Policy

FEMA released an interim policy to clarify eligible work under the Public Assistance program as part of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The interim policy "COVID-19 Pandemic: Work Eligible for Public Assistance" is applicable to eligible applicants only and is exclusive to emergency and major disaster declarations for the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy applies to work performed on or after Sept. 15.

In the clarified policy for COVID-19 declarations, FEMA will continue to provide funding for emergency measures to protect public health and safety, including medical care, medical sheltering, emergency feeding, mass mortuary services, emergency operation centers and emergency communications.

This includes funding for PPE and disinfection when necessary to carry out the specified emergency protective measures. Under the updated policy, Public Assistance provides additional clarification on eligible work and costs related to emergency protective measures.

FEMA Releases COVID-19 Supplement to Planning Consideration: Evacuations and Shelter-in-Place

Earlier this summer, FEMA released the "COVID-19 Supplement for Planning Considerations: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place". The supplement is intended to help communities plan for evacuations and shelter-in-place operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.  


Many threats and hazards may warrant use of these protective actions as many jurisdictions across the nation navigate widespread concerns and impacts due to COVID-19. The supplement provides COVID-19 related questions to key principles and critical considerations from the 2019 "Planning Considerations: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place" 


These questions can assist emergency management planners as they review, revise and implement evacuation or shelter-in-place plans. The supplement focuses on ensuring planners consider the potential impacts and constraints resulting from COVID-19 and make necessary adjustments in order to ensure continuity of essential functions and services.  


To download the document, visit FEMA.gov. 

FEMA Releases Two NQS Documents

FEMA is releasing two Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) National Qualification System (NQS) documents that define minimum qualification criteria or are used to categorize the resources requested, deployed and used in incidents. The releases include:

  • US&R Task Force Leader job title/position qualification and Position Task Book.
  • US&R Task Force resource typing document.


These positions enable the sharing of deployable US&R positions at all jurisdictional levels and bolster of the FEMA workforce during disaster operations.

To review the US&R Task Force Leader documents, visit NIMS Components - Guidance and Tools.

To review the US&R Task Force resource typing document, visit FEMA's Resource Typing Library Tool.

FEMA Offering Webinars on Disaster Public Assistance Purchasing

FEMA is offering free webinars for Public Assistance applicants impacted by Hurricane Laura. This one-hour training will help participants understand how to purchase in compliance with federal rules during emergencies such as Hurricane Laura and other exigent circumstances.


FEMA provides financial assistance to state, local, tribal and territorial governments, houses of worship and other non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education and other non-federal entities. All FEMA grant programs are subject to the federal procurement rules. The rules simplify and expedite the procurement process in order to more quickly meet recovery needs in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.


These webinars are open to the whole community and will be offered though Adobe Connect. Content is the same for each session. The phone-only conference line and access code for all webinars is 1-800-320-4330, 428092#.


Webinar dates, times and training links:


  • 11 a.m. ET on Sept. 9: Training Link                   
  • 2 p.m. ET on Sept. 10: Training Link                    
  • 3 p.m. ET on Sept. 11: Training Link     

FEMA Launches New Preparedness Training for Community-Based Organizations

FEMA launched a new preparedness training, “Organizations Preparing for Emergency Needs,” or OPEN. The new training is designed to empower Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to prepare for incidents and increase resilience in the face of a disaster. CBOs play a huge role in the daily lives of millions of Americans. They are the food banks, childcare centers, shelters and houses of worship that make communities stronger.  


OPEN is both a self-guided online course for individuals and a downloadable instructor-led course designed to help organizations take preparedness steps. The OPEN training will walk participants through 10 preparedness actions. CBOs can take these preparedness actions to improve their organization’s resilience.


The 10 preparedness actions are:


  • Understand risks
  • Mitigate risks
  • Identify the people you serve
  • Determine essential activities
  • Consider the supply chain
  • Safeguard critical information
  • Establish a communications plan
  • Cross-train key individuals
  • Formalize plans
  • Regularly test and update plans


If participants wish to learn more about a certain preparedness action, they can refer to one of the many resources listed in the training. Some resources include:


Learn how you can empower your CBO to prepare for disasters by visiting Ready.gov.


Community Based Organization Disaster Training graphic

FEMA Announces Regulation Update for the FMA Grant and Mitigation Planning Programs

On Aug. 28, FEMA published updates to the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and mitigation planning regulations for public comment in the Federal Register. The updates synchronize the requirements enacted by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12). 


In addition, FEMA is replacing substantially similar terms and definitions in BW-12 to better align with the Code of Federal Regulations Title 2 part 200: Uniform Administrative Guidance.


This update of outdated terms and definitions also impacts FEMA's Property Acquisition and Relocation for Open Space, mitigation planning and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program regulations.


Since the passage of BW-12, FEMA has implemented these updates and is in now making the changes administratively in statute.


The 60-day public comment period is open until Oct. 27. Visit  Regulations.gov and provide comments to Docket ID: FEMA-2019-0011.

Upcoming Deadlines and Reminders

FEMA Co-Hosts a Webinar for Mitigation Planning

On Sept. 9 from 1 - 2 p.m. ET, the Natural Hazards Center and FEMA is hosting a mitigation webinar highlighting how ArcGIS can assist with mitigation plans. The webinar, “ArcGIS Capabilities for Mitigation Planning: A StoryMap and Other Technological Advances" features the state of Indiana's planning efforts.


The presentation will focus on how ArcGIS capabilities support each phase of a hazard mitigation planning process, from performing a detailed risk assessment, to collaborating across stakeholder groups and sharing mitigation project information with the public.

Registration is required through the National Hazards Center.


FEMA Public Comment Period for Debris Monitoring Guide

FEMA is releasing an interim "Debris Monitoring Guide." The guidance is now open for public comment. It includes several changes that incorporate updated requirements to comply with the "Procurement Disaster Assistance Team 2019 Field Manual."


The interim guide and accompanying comments matrix are available on the FEMA website. FEMA will accept public comments submitted using the accompanying comments matrix until Sept. 17. For questions or suggestions about the guide, send an email to FEMA-Recovery-Pa-Policy@fema.dhs.gov.