FEMA External Affairs Bulletin Week of March 9, 2015

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Week of March 9, 2015

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Important Dates & Deadlines

March 12

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

March 25

Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Listening Session Webinar

April 6

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

Passage of a Full-Year Appropriations Bill for Department of Homeland Security

Last week, Congress passed and the President signed an appropriations bill funding the Department of Homeland Security for the entire Fiscal Year 2015. Secretary Jeh Johnson's statement on the passage of the bill can be found on DHS.gov.

FEMA Announces Release of the New State Mitigation Plan Review Guide

FEMA announced the release of the new State Mitigation Plan Review Guide (“Guide”). The updated Guide clarifies federal regulations that apply to FEMA; policy; and guidance around state hazard mitigation plan for state agencies and other officials developing mitigation plans. The Guide helps ensure a consistent plan review process for FEMA and the states that aim to improve the analysis and integration of evolving risks, such as climate change. The Guide will go into effect in approximately one year on March 6, 2016, for all state mitigation plans submitted to FEMA for review and approval. The transitional period allows time for FEMA and the states to work together to support their familiarity and understanding of the updated Guide. Indian tribal governments should follow the “Tribal Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance.”

Mitigation plans help state, tribal, and local governments identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters and establish a long-term strategy for protecting people and property in future hazards events. The Stafford Act requires an approved hazard mitigation plan as a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance, including funding for mitigation projects.

Some of the most recent updates to the Guide include the following:

- States must continue to enhance risk assessments by considering how future risk and vulnerability may be affected by changing climatic conditions, new community development patterns, and population growth.

- To better reduce risk and enhance resilience, states must take a holistic approach and include not only emergency management, but also the sectors of economic development, land use and development, housing, health and social services, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources, in their planning process and mitigation program, where practicable.

- Hazard mitigation plans must now be adopted by the highest elected official or designee in the state.

- A mitigation program consultation will be available to states to promote dialogue between FEMA and the state and to identify progress and challenges, as well as specific needs and opportunities for achieving mitigation goals.

- The updated Guide also sets forth the standard operating procedures for the submission and review of both the standard and enhanced state mitigation plans.

- Lastly, the Guide’s requirements section have been streamlined and a state mitigation plan review “tool”  has been developed to offer an opportunity to provide more comprehensive feedback to the state during the review process.

Visit www.fema.gov/multi-hazard-mitigation-planning to view the Guide and for additional resources to support states in updating state mitigation plans as well as building and maintaining statewide mitigation programs.

Tabletop Exercise Conducted to Measure Disability Inclusion Performance

FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC), the National Exercise Division (NED) and a team of fellows from the Partnership for Public Service Excellence in Government Fellows program conducted a Tabletop Exercise on Thursday, February 17.


The exercise was the culmination of a project the fellows led to advance the use of performance measurement during disaster situations to ensure the needs of all disaster survivors are met, especially people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. The team worked with ODIC to develop a tool named RAPTORRapid Assessment Performance Tracking for Optimizing Resources toolto measure disability inclusion performance in FEMA's emergency management efforts. During the exercise, ODIC tested four different data collection procedures in areas of physical, program, and effective communication accessibility.


The team exercised the RAPTOR tool during disaster response and recovery associated with a Category 4 hurricane, which caused widespread damage on the Carolina coast. Much of the exercise focused on accessibility data collection at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs), which are one-stop centers in communities where disaster survivors can obtain information about recovery resources.

Celebrating it’s 5th year, ODIC leads FEMA’s commitment to whole community emergency preparedness and the integration of individuals with disabilities into every aspect of emergency management. More information about ODIC can be found at www.fema.gov/office-disability-integration-and-coordination and the FEMA library.

Flood Safety Toolkit Now Available

Floods are the most common hazard in the United States. However, not all floods are alike. Floods typically occur when too much rain falls or snow melts too quickly. Chunks of ice from a thawing river can block its normal flow and force water out of its banks. While some floods develop slowly, flash floods develop suddenly. Hurricanes can bring flooding to areas far inland from where they first hit the coast.


There are simple steps citizens can take today to reduce their risk to all types of floods. The Ready Campaign's flood safety toolkit contains social media shareables to help promote flood safety awareness.

Turn Around, Don't Drown

FEMA Regional Overview: Region 2

FEMA Region II serves New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight federally recognized Tribal Nations in their on-going efforts to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate disasters. Located in New York, NY, the Region II office has roughly 130 fulltime employees who carry out the FEMA mission on a daily basis. Jerome Hatfield serves as the regional administrator.


FEMA Region II has experienced 29 major disaster declarations since 2010, including Hurricane Sandy, the second costliest disaster in FEMA history.


FEMA Region II has a population of approximately 32 million people with New Jersey and New York among the nation’s most densely populated states. From the offices in New York City and the Caribbean Area Division Office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the region coordinates with state, local and tribal emergency management officials, as well as non-governmental and private sector partners, to administer FEMA programs.


Collectively, Region II is threatened by various hazards of natural, technological, and terrorism categories. More information about FEMA Region II is available online.

FEMA Regional Map

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

FEMA will be hosting three webinars to discuss the Fiscal Year 2015 Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Program Guidance changes: 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 800-320-4330 and 031-155 for the conference PIN and join the webinar via Adobe Connect.


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.

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. Upcoming sessions will be held in Mather, California; Norfolk, Virginia; and Fairfax, 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.


For those unable to attend a listening session, there will be an FFRMS webinar on March 25, 3-6 p.m. ET. The webinar address will be provided after an RSVP is submitted to 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.