External Affairs Bulletin Week of February 2, 2015


Week of February 2, 2015

View as Webpage | Subscribe

In this Edition: Table of Contents Arrow

Important Dates & Deadlines

February 16

National Advisory Council Application Deadline

March 2

Youth Preparedness Council Application Deadline

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and the Implementation Open Comment Period

Floods, the most common natural disaster, damage public health and safety, as well as economic prosperity. They can also threaten national security. Between 1980 and 2013, the United States suffered more than $260 billion in flood-related damages. With climate change and other threats, flooding risks are expected to increase over time. Sea level rise, storm surge, and heavy downpours, along with extensive development in coastal areas, increase the risk of damage due to flooding. That damage can be particularly severe for infrastructure, including buildings, roads, ports, industrial facilities, and even coastal military installations.

On January 30, the President issued an Executive Order, “Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input.” Future federal investments in and affecting floodplains will be required to meet the level of resilience established in the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. This includes projects where federal funds are used to build new structures and facilities or to rebuild those that have been damaged. These projects make sure that buildings are constructed to withstand the impacts of flooding, improves the resilience of communities, and protects federal investments.

This Standard requires agencies to consider the best available, actionable science of both current and future risk when taxpayer dollars are used to build or rebuild in floodplains. On average, more people die annually from flooding than any other natural hazard. Further, the costs borne by the federal government are more than any other hazard. Water-related disasters account for approximately 85% of all disaster declarations.

The Standard establishes the flood level to which new and rebuilt federally funded structures or facilities must be resilient. In implementing the Standard, agencies will be given the flexibility to select one of three approaches for establishing the flood elevation and hazard area they use in siting, design, and construction:

- Utilizing best available, actionable data and methods that integrate current and future changes in flooding based on climate science;

- Two or three feet of elevation, depending on the criticality of the building, above the 100-year, or 1%-annual-chance, flood elevation; or

- 500-year, or 0.2%-annual-chance, flood elevation.

The Executive Order states that prior to implementation of the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, additional input from stakeholders will be solicited and considered. To carry out this process, FEMA, on behalf of the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG), published a draft version of Implementing Guidelines that is open for comment. FEMA will also be holding public meetings to further solicit stakeholder input. The MitFLG will accept written comments via e-mail from those unable to attend the public meetings and will also host a virtual listening session in the coming months. At the conclusion of the public comment period, the MitFLG will revise the draft Implementing Guidelines, based on input received, and provide recommendations to the Water Resources Council.

The Water Resources Council will, after considering the recommendations of the MitFLG, issue amended guidelines to provide guidance to federal agencies on the implementation of the Standard. Agencies will not issue or amend existing regulations or program procedures until the Water Resources Council issues amended guidelines that are informed by stakeholder input.

FEMA looks forward to participation and input in the process as part of the work towards reducing flood risk, increasing resilience, cutting future economic losses, and potentially saving lives.

Be an Affirmer of the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness

In July, FEMA announced a new strategy for youth preparedness education nation-wide. Since then, 49 organizations with a demonstrated commitment to preparing our Nation’s youth for emergencies have affirmed their support for the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education: Empowering, Educating and Building Resilience (National Strategy). The National Strategy couples attention on emergency and disaster preparedness with community action that focuses specifically on youth readiness for disasters and related events. The National Strategy was developed in partnership with the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Education.


These affirmers were recognized at the White House on January 28, and re-convened to discuss success stories, lessons learned, and opportunities for collaboration. Affirming partners will now work as a unified network to propel a national behavior change campaign focused on youth preparedness.

National Strategy Affirmers Group

Research shows that it is important to educate and empower young people to prepare for disasters. A 2010 study from Oregon State University showed that 14 percent of children and teens experienced a disaster during their lifetime, and four percent had been in a disaster within the past year. Of those who had experience with disaster, a quarter reported experiencing more than one. Children who are preparedness are less likely to experience anxiety and are more confident during emergencies. Research has also showed that children share important messages with their families and communities, making them a strong ally for preparedness education.

The National Strategy presents nine priority steps to further youth preparedness education including: building partnerships to enhance, increase and implement youth preparedness learning programs; connecting young people with their families, communities, first responders and other youth; and increasing school preparedness. More information about these steps--as well as the national organizations that have affirmed their support--is available in the FEMA Youth Technical Assistance Center at www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness. More information about emergency preparedness is available at www.ready.gov. If interested in becoming an affirmer, please contact the FEMA Youth Technical Assistance Center at FEMA-Youth-Preparedness@fema.dhs.gov.

More Data Visualization Available to Explore

On January 7, FEMA launched a new interactive tool to allow the public to explore currently-available FEMA grant data.  This week, FEMA added Individual Assistance to the data visualization, which includes financial grants from the Individuals and Households Program. This program provides financial help or direct services to survivors if they are unable to meet their needs through other means through Housing Assistance and Other Needs Assistance (including personal property and other items).


The data visualization tool is available at www.fema.gov/data-visualization. To explore the data, visit OpenFEMA at www.fema.gov/data-feeds.

Individual Assistance Data Visualization

Adjustment of Public Assistance Cost Share Per Capita

Based on an increase of 0.8 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the 12-month period that ended December 2014, FEMA adjusted the calendar year 2015 statewide per capita indicator for recommending a cost share adjustment for the public assistance program to $136.


FEMA will recommend an increase in the standard 75 percent federal cost share to not more than 90 percent of eligible costs when a disaster is so extraordinary that actual federal obligations under the Stafford Act, excluding administrative costs, meet or exceed $136 per capita of state population. This adjustment applies to all disasters declared on or after January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.

REMINDER: FEMA Seeks Applicants for National Advisory Council

FEMA seeks experienced individuals who are interested in serving on the National Advisory Council (NAC) to apply. All applications must be received on Monday, February 16, 2015 by 5 p.m. ET. Appointments are for three-year terms to end August 15, 2018. The Administrator may also appoint additional candidates to serve as a FEMA Administrator Selection, which are also for three-year terms.


Individuals interested in serving on the NAC are invited to apply to be considered for appointment by submitting a Cover Letter and a Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) to the Office of the NAC by email, mail, or fax, with email as the preferred method of submission. Letters of recommendation may also be provided, but are not required. The Cover Letter must include, at a minimum: the discipline area(s) of interest; current position title and organization; mailing address; a current telephone number; and email address. A complete application must be submitted to be considered for appointment. Application criteria, submission information, and contact information can be found at www.fema.gov/national-advisory-council.

REMINDER: FEMA Encourages Young People to Join Youth Preparedness Council

FEMA announced it is seeking applicants for its Youth Preparedness Council. The Council supports FEMA’s commitment to involving youth in preparedness-related activities and provides an opportunity for young people to offer their perspectives, feedback and insights on how to help make America more resilient.


To apply, Youth Preparedness Council applicants must be 13 to 17 years old. They must also be engaged in individual and community preparedness or have experienced a disaster that motivated them to make a positive difference in their community. Individuals who applied for 2014 are encouraged to apply again. Current Council members have an option to extend for an additional year, upon FEMA request. Adults working with youth or on community preparedness are encouraged to share the application with young people who might be interested in applying for the Youth Preparedness Council.


To be eligible for consideration, applicants must submit a completed application form and two letters of recommendation. Completed applications and all supporting materials must be received no later than March 2, 2015 by 11:59 p.m. ET. New Youth Preparedness Council members will be announced in May 2015.