FEMA Bulletin Week of November 7, 2023

Seal of the Department of Homeland Security


Week of November 7, 2023

View as Webpage | Subscribe 

In this Edition:

Important Deadlines & Reminders

Nov. 8 Calendar

Attend FEMA Webinar Focusing on Disaster Resources for Caregivers.

Nov. 23 Calendar

Comment Period Closes for Resource Typing for Emergency Medical Services.

December 1

Comment Period Closes for the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard on Floodplain Management Regulations.

Feedback Due TODAY on Simplifying FEMA Preparedness Grants

FEMA published a notice in the Federal Register seeking input on how to enhance the management and administration of our preparedness grant programs. Comments are due no later than 5 p.m. ET, Nov. 7.


This national engagement will help us better understand how to continue to assist the nation and first responders in building, sustaining and improving our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate terrorism and other high-consequence disasters and emergencies.


The Notice and Request for Information (RFI) is in line with both the Department of Homeland Security 2023 Priorities and with the 2022-2026 FEMA Strategic Plan to enhance customer service by soliciting stakeholder feedback.


FEMA is seeking suggestions on how to:

  • Improve the management and administration of grant programs by simplifying application processes and improving customer service.
  • Ensure greater accessibility and equity for under resourced populations.


For this RFI, you can submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions for submitting comments and use Docket ID: FEMA-2023-0024. Submitting this information makes it public; you may wish to read the Privacy and Security Notice. Comments can also be submitted to FEMA by emailing FEMA-Grants-Feedback@fema.dhs.gov.

FEMA Announces $211M to Fund Dam Safety Grants

FEMA will commit more than $211 million in funding to enhance dam safety efforts across the nation to ensure that communities have the critical infrastructure needed to protect against disasters and prevent flooding.


Dams are a critical part of the nation’s infrastructure, yet many are aging and deteriorating, and dam failure may occur within hours of the first signs of breaching because of intense storms. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is providing nearly $6.8 billion toward communitywide resilience to reduce disaster suffering and avoid future disaster costs. This includes a total $733 million for two dam safety programs over five years to help state, territorial and local governments take action to address high hazard potential dams that pose dangers to life and property if they fail.


The Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams program is making about $185 million available and another approximate $26 million available through the National Dam Safety State Assistance Grant Program. The investments funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help protect communities from flooding, avoid disaster costs and strengthen resilience to climate change.


Grants through the Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams program are available to non-federal governments and nonprofits for the technical expertise, planning, design and construction needed to rehabilitate eligible, non-federal high hazard potential dams.


Eligible non-federal dams are:

  • Located in a state or territory with a dam safety program.
  • Classified as high hazard potential by the dam safety agency in the state or territory where the dam is located.
  • Current in their emergency action plan, which must be approved by the state or territorial dam safety agency.
  • Failing to meet minimum dam safety standards of the state or territory poses an unacceptable risk to the public.


National Dam Safety State Assistance Grant Program is available for any state or territory with an enacted dam safety program. These grants establish and maintain effective state programs to ensure dam safety and protect human life and property. The state administrative agency, or an equivalent state agency, is eligible to apply. Each eligible state or territory may submit only one grant application. The funding opportunities are open now and will close on Feb. 29, 2024. Available opportunities may be found on Grants.gov.

Individual Assistance Improves Application Process for Disaster Survivors

Individual Assistance is rolling out improvements to the application process for disaster assistance. This new, streamlined process will improve the experience for disaster survivors who apply by phone or on DisasterAssistance.gov. The updates provide a simpler, more intuitive application process while reducing the burden of applying for disaster assistance.


The updates on DisasterAssistance.gov began Oct. 30 using a phased implementation approach with an initial 2% of applicants directed to the new registration intake process, which will increase to 100% in the coming months. The measured ramp-up will ensure applicants are not affected by any technical issues that may come up. Updates to the call center registration intake also began Oct. 30 and will continue into 2024.


This initiative aligns with Executive Order 14058Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government.

FEMA and CISA Release a Cyber Incident Planning Guide for Emergency Managers

FEMA released “Planning Considerations for Cyber Incidents: Guidance for Emergency Managers,” a foundational product developed in coordination with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). 


An interruption to one organization or system can have widespread impacts across a network. These can stem from natural hazards, human error, equipment failure or malicious attacks. In the worst cases, lives are put at risk and significant economic challenges arise. When an incident occurs, organizations and jurisdictions must have a cybersecurity program to protect against disruptions and a cyber incident response plan for swift and effective resolutions to address potential threats.


The guide is designed to help state, local, Tribal and territorial emergency management personnel plan for the consequences of a cyber incident. It provides a roadmap for personnel to work through steps in developing a cyber incident response plan. The guide may also benefit emergency managers in academia, nonprofits or the private sector, primarily if they serve on a jurisdiction’s planning team.


Key aspects of cyber incident preparedness outlined in the document include:

  • Understanding the types of cyber incidents likely to occur.
  • Engaging service owners and operators.
  • Identifying cyber-dependent critical services and related dependencies.
  • Prioritizing and planning for service and system disruptions.
  • Identifying roles and responsibilities.
  • Providing integrated communication and public messaging.
  • Developing a cyber incident response plan.


FEMA, in cooperation with CISA, will host several 60-minute webinars to provide an overview of the guide and supporting materials. To learn more about the webinar sessions and to download the guide and supporting materials, visit Planning Guides | FEMA.gov.

Attend FEMA’s Webinar on Action Tracking

FEMA's Continuous Improvement Technical Assistance Program (CITAP) will host a webinar on best practices for tracking actions following real-world incident after-action reviews from 1-2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Nov. 15.


This webinar will outline three action tracking approaches and considerations associated with each stage, from development through completion, as described in FEMA’s National Continuous Improvement Guidance.


Action tracking is the process of monitoring the status of actions resulting from after-action reviews. The process can be challenging due to resource constraints and the need to foster stakeholder buy-in to complete actions.


During this webinar, FEMA will equip participants with the fundamental concepts for effective action tracking. Building knowledge of how to approach action tracking can help sustain strengths, codify best practices and address areas for improvement identified during real-world incident after-action reviews.


Participants will also be introduced to action tracking resources available on the CITAP’s website on the FEMA Preparedness Toolkit.


The webinar is designed for state, local, tribal and territorial partners, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other entities involved in emergency management functions engaged in continuous improvement efforts.


To attend the webinar, register in advance by visiting the event page on FEMA.gov and clicking the "Register Here" button. For registration or login issues, attendees can contact the FEMA CITAP team at FEMA-CITAP@fema.dhs.gov.

FEMA Releases New Online Course for Chemical Incidents

A new virtual distance learning course is now available: Key Planning Factors and Considerations for Response to and Recovery from a Chemical Incident (Chem KPF).


Chemical incidents create many distinct and unique challenges for communities due to the nature of the agents involved, public health issues and economic consequences. The Chem KPF course is designed to provide education, awareness and guidance to support the development of effective federal, regional, state, local, tribal and territorial chemical incident response and recovery plans. This course is based on the similarly named guidance document, available on FEMA's Office of Emerging Threats webpage.


Take the Chem KPF course through the Center for Domestic Preparedness by visiting: https://cdp.dhs.gov/training/course/AWR-947-W. 

FEMA Participates in First North American Leaders’ Emergency Management Conference

On Oct. 25-26, FEMA staff coordinated and participated in the North American Leaders’ Emergency Management Conference in San Pedro Garza García, Mexico.


The conference brought together emergency management leaders from Mexico, Canada and the United States to discuss challenges, lessons learned and share priorities and objectives to align future efforts. Topics of discussion included inclusion and gender equity in emergency management, international assistance and community support during disasters.


Roger Rigaud, U.S. Consul General for the United States in Monterrey, Mexico helped open the ceremony and discussed the importance of regional cooperation, especially as natural disasters are occurring with more frequency and intensity.


FEMA in-person participants included:

  • Office of Policy and Program Analysis Associate Administrator Cynthia Spishak.
  • Region 6 Regional Deputy Administrator Traci Brasher (Acting).
  • National Exercise Division Director Shawn Lenore.
  • U.S. Fire Administration, International Affairs Director Lamar González Medlock.
  • International Relations Specialist Will Wepsala.


USAID Mission Disaster Relief Officer for Mexico, Jason Bennett, also gave timely remarks as USAID coordinates U.S. humanitarian assistance abroad after disasters and is coordinating our support for Mexico following Hurricane Otis, the area’s first category 5 hurricane.


Over 300 people tuned into the conference, both in-person and online. These engagements show the importance of collaborating with our international partners. FEMA remains committed to further collaboration and the relationships established during this conference will lead to closer ties in the future. This is essential as we confront the same emergency management challenges.

NAL Conference

Left to Right: FEMA Office of Policy and Program Analysis Associate Administrator Cynthia Spishak; Public Safety Canada Policy and Outreach Directorate Director General Kenza El Bied; Business and Government Continuity Consultant Crisis, Disaster and Risk Manager Ana Lucía Hill Mayoral.

Upcoming Deadlines and Reminders


FEMA Webinar Focusing on Disaster Resources for Caregivers

FEMA will host a webinar on Nov. 8, focusing on caregivers in disasters. The event will provide an opportunity for FEMA, the private sector, academia and nonprofit partners to engage with each other and enhance their mutual understanding of disaster assistance resources, capabilities and mechanisms that support caregivers.


The agenda also features “Take Control in 1, 2, 3—Disaster Preparedness Guide for Older Adults,” and a “Guide to Expanding Mitigation: Making the Connection to Older Adults (fema.gov).”


Webinar Information: 

  • Topic: Disaster Resources for Caregivers
  • Date: Nov. 8
  • Time: 1-2:30 p.m. ET 
  • Location: Please register at ZOOM
  • Passcode: FEMAVAL

For further questions, email FEMA-VAL@fema.dhs.gov.


FEMA Seeks Feedback on Resource Typing for Emergency Medical Services

FEMA is seeking public input on 12 draft documents related to ground Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and ambulance response as part of the National Incident Management System (NIMS)—the documents focus on public health, healthcare and EMS, including paramedics and ambulances. 


These resource typing documents aim to enhance interoperability, developed to improve how different systems work together effectively to provide mutual aid where needed. They establish baseline qualifications and facilitate sharing resources that can be deployed across all jurisdiction levels. 


National engagement provides an opportunity for stakeholders to review and comment on the draft documents, ensuring their relevance to all implementing partners. 


To provide comments on the draft documents during the 30-day comment period, visit National Incident Management System | FEMA.gov, under the Public Feedback and Engagement section, then complete and submit the feedback form to FEMA-NIMS@fema.dhs.gov no later than 5 p.m. ET, Nov. 23. 


FEMA Publishes a Proposed Rule for Public Comment on the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard

FEMA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register for revisions to its floodplain management regulations at Title 44 Part 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): Floodplain Management and Protection of Wetlands. 


This 60-day public comment period closes Dec. 1. The proposed revisions fully implement the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS). The FFRMS increases the resilience of federally funded projects by incorporating anticipated changes in future flood risk into certain federally funded projects to ensure that those projects last as long as intended.