FEMA External Affairs Bulletin Week of March 2, 2015


Week of March 2, 2015

View as Webpage | Subscribe

In this Edition: Table of Contents Arrow

Important Dates & Deadlines

March 4

National Advisory Council Meeting

March 6

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants Application Deadline

March 6

Senior Executive Service Deputy Regional Administrators Application Deadline

March 12

Fiscal Year 2015 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program Guidance Changes Webinar (multiple dates)

April 6

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Draft Implementing Guidelines Open Comment Period Deadline

Continuing Resolution Until 11:59 p.m. on March 6

Last week, Congress passed an agreement to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for one week under the current Continuing Resolution. If funding is not appropriated after 11:59 p.m. on March 6, FEMA will have to furlough the majority of its permanent employees due to the lapse in appropriations.

Without an annual appropriation, the small number of impacted FEMA staff who are exempt from furlough may only provide services that directly apply to the protection of human life, safety or the protection of property. For more information on these impacts, please see last week's EA Bulletin.

Next Meeting of the National Advisory Council

FEMA will be holding the next National Advisory Council (NAC) public meeting in Jackson Barracks at 6400 St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana 70117, from March 4-5, 2015. During the meeting, the NAC will meet with the FEMA Administrator and Deputy Administrator, receive program briefings from agency leadership, and review the progress and potential recommendations of its three subcommittees: Preparedness and Protection, Response and Recovery, and Federal Insurance and Mitigation.

Members of the public are invited to provide public comments after each subcommittee report-out and between 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Directions on how to submit public comments can be found on the NAC webpage.

For those planning to attend in person and for additional information on facilities or services for individuals with disabilities or to request special assistance at the meeting, please contact the Office of the NAC by email at FEMA-NAC@fema.dhs.gov


More information on the NAC is available at www.fema.gov/national-advisory-council.

Webinars Available to Discuss Fiscal Year 2015 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program Guidance Changes

Significant changes have been made to the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Guidance, a comprehensive document that details the specific criteria of the three HMA programs: the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) programs. The Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) HMA Guidance provides stakeholders with updates and refinements of program policies and practice. These enhancements will promote resilience, and streamline application review, eligibility requirements, project cost estimates, and implementation.

The changes apply to the HMGP for disasters declared on or after the date of publication, as well as the upcoming PDM and FMA application cycles. Since the last update to the HMA Guidance in 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) developed regulations that streamline language from eight existing OMB Circulars. DHS adopted the Super Circular on December 26, 2014, and FEMA has implemented these changes in the updated guidance.


FEMA will be hosting three webinars to discuss the new guidance on March 12, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ET, March 18, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ET and March 19. 1:30-2:45 p.m. ET. Participants can dial-in using conference number 1 (800) 320-4330 and 031-155 for the conference PIN and join the webinar via Adobe Connect.

Changes to the HMA Program Guidance include:

- Climate Change/Resilience:

Recognizes challenges posed by climate change that may have impacts on mitigation. Applicants and sub-applicants can use the additional HMGP 5 percent initiative toward adopting and/or incorporating disaster resistant building codes.

- 2 Code of Federal Regulations Part 200: The OMB Super Circular:

Adopts the regulations in the OMB Super Circular that outlines the federal government’s framework for grants management, and are applicable to FEMA awards issued on or after December 26, 2014.

- Mitigation Planning Changes:

Requires states to update mitigation plans every five years, which provides the applicant with greater flexibility to shift their resources to other important or pending mitigation activities listed in the plan.

- New Benefit-Cost Analysis Methodologies:

Incorporates new methodologies for residential hurricane wind projects and the acquisition of properties in landslide hazard areas that are at risk of immediate threat.

- Various Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) Clarifications:

Enhances efforts to streamline the EHP review process, including defining the frontloading process (promoting the fuller consideration of EHP compliance requirements and impacts to a proposed project during project development).

- Resources and Job Aids:

Includes 23 resources and job aids to assist in HMA program delivery.  Examples are:

-- Homeowner’s Guide to the HMGP answers some common questions that homeowners have about implementing post-disaster projects.

-- Federally Recognized Tribes and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program discusses benefits and responsibilities of federally-recognized tribes if they become an applicant or sub-applicant. 

-- Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation job aid discusses FEMA programs designed to promote community resilience.

-- Closeout Toolkit includes frequently asked questions and a checklist to help recipients prepare for sub-award closeout activities.

-- EHP Section 106 Overview includes process flowchart and information on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) decision making process.

The HMA Guidance consolidates each program’s eligibility information, outlines the common elements, and spells out the unique requirements among the programs so that federal, state, federally recognized tribal, territorial, and local officials can easily identify key similarities between the various programs. For more information, visit www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance.

FEMA and the YMCA Collaborate on Community Disaster Response & Preparedness

On February 24, FEMA and YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) announced a new partnership that will help communities across the nation better prepare for, and respond to disasters by building on existing relationships and enhancing coordination across national, regional, state and local levels.

Speaking to YMCA state and youth leaders from across the nation, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and YMCA Chief Operating Officer Kent Johnson stressed that while the organizations have different missions, both support youth engagement programs and focus on building community resilience. The new Memorandum of Understanding capitalizes on each organization’s strengths and resources – including the YMCA’s networks in 10,000 communities nationwide, and FEMA’s relationships with emergency management authorities and voluntary organizations active in disasters – to build resiliency and support communities when they are most vulnerable.

Kevin Washington, President and Chief Executive Officer, YMCA of the USA with Administrator Craig Fugate. Photo courtesy of YMCA of the USA/Liz Roll.
Kevin Washington, President and Chief Executive Officer, YMCA of the USA with Administrator Craig Fugate. Photo courtesy of YMCA of the USA/Liz Roll.

While the collaboration might look different in each community, Y-USA and FEMA will work together to disseminate information to the public (including at-risk populations, disaster survivors, and volunteers); share best practices and training resources; and engage in community, state, and regional emergency management activities such as planning and exercise efforts.

For more information, please view the full press release online, visit ymca.net, or contact VAL-Team@fema.dhs.gov.

Don’t Forget to Test Your Smoke Alarm

A smoke alarm with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) recommends you test your smoke alarms each month, replace the batteries at least once every year, and replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years. For more information, visit USFA’s website.

Smoke alarm battery replacement

New Fire Safety Toolkit Available

The U.S. Fire Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Fire Safety Program Toolkit is a comprehensive resource for fire safety educators of all levels. This toolkit covers the five basic steps to create or enhance a fire safety education program for the community, including how to develop tools that will help assess program effectiveness.

Fire Safety Toolkit

FEMA Regional Overview: Region 3

FEMA Region 3 serves Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Region III is close to historically rich symbols of early America, such as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Led by Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, Region III’s 185 employees provide critical preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery support to the region every day. Region III is in the unique position of working with two of the four Commonwealth states (PA and VA) in the U.S., as well as with the National Capital Region and Washington, D.C. Serving close to 31 million people, Region III is made up of multiple major metropolitan areas as well as thousands of smaller communities. Region III borders the Atlantic Ocean through DE, MD, and VA, and Lake Erie in PA.


FEMA Region III most commonly experiences severe storms, but disasters such as flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and winter storms have also resulted in declarations. FEMA Region III employees have taken their expertise to other regions and disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, to assist in relief efforts.


One of the many unique elements of Region III is its role in the Presidential Inauguration and State of the Union Address. As National Special Security Events (NSSEs) taking place in Washington, D.C., the Regional Office works with other members of the federal family to ensure these events run smoothly. Region III will also perform a pivotal role in the upcoming World Meeting of Families and the first official visit to the U.S. by Pope Francis.

FEMA Regional Map

REMINDER: Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants Open for Applications

FEMA announced the opening of the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) application, which will close on March 6, 2015 at 5 p.m. ET. The SAFER grant program comprises of two categories: hiring of firefighters; and the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.

To receive a SAFER grant award, applicants must be registered and have up-to-date information in the online System for Award Management. Registration is required of all Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program applicants and awardees.

REMINDER: FEMA Senior Executive Leadership Announcements and Postings

FEMA is currently recruiting for eight SES Deputy Regional Administrators. This announcement closes March 6, 2015. For information on these and other careers opportunities within FEMA, visit www.fema.gov/careers.

REMINDER: Register for a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Listening Session

FEMA and federal partners are providing a series of listening sessions on the implementation guidelines of the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS). These sessions provide the opportunity to learn more about the Standard, ask questions, and provide feedback on how federal agencies implement the Standard. Sessions will be held in Ames, Iowa; Biloxi, Mississippi; Mather, California; and Norfolk, Virginia; with additional sessions to be announced soon. Listening session dates and locations are available online.

Due to space constraints of the facilities, seating may be limited. To reserve a seat in advance, please provide a request via email at least three days in advance with the contact information of the participant (including name, mailing address, and e-mail address), and the meeting to be attended to FEMA-FFRMS@fema.dhs.gov and include the subject/attention line: Reservation Request for FFRMS. For anyone attending the meetings who is hearing or visually impaired, or who requires special assistance or accommodations, please also contact FEMA-FFRMS@fema.dhs.gov.


A draft version of Implementing Guidelines is open for comment until April 6, 2015. Questions and comments may be submitted to FEMA-FFRMS@fema.dhs.gov.