Prepare Your Business During National Small Business Week

You can use National Small Business Week, April 30 – May 6, to prepare your organization for a variety of emergencies like fires, floods, cyber threats, and other disasters.

Start by completing a Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).The SBA also highlights other resources to help you protect employees, lessen the financial impact of disasters, and quickly re-open.

Use these Resources
Create a preparedness program for your business
Identify critical business systems
Create an emergency communications plan
Test your business systems
Enroll in the Red Cross Ready Rating Program
Build a disaster preparedness kit

For more information on disaster assistance, loan programs, and emergency preparedness for small businesses visit the SBA Emergency Preparedness page.

FEMA Seeks Comments on Nationwide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on the National Flood Insurance Program

On April 7, FEMA published a Federal Register notice to seek public comment on a draft Nationwide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (NPEIS) about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). As required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), FEMA developed this draft NPEIS to examine the impacts of proposed improvements and modifications to the NFIP. This draft NPEIS includes an evaluation of the potential impacts to the natural and human environment associated with the NFIP at a programmatic level, as well as an evaluation of impacts of alternative proposals to modify the NFIP.

The NFIP proposed modifications are needed to implement the legislative requirements of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA), and to demonstrate compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Today, more than 22,000 communities participate in the NFIP, with more than 5.1 million NFIP policies in effect, providing over $1.2 trillion in insurance coverage. The NFIP serves as the foundation for national efforts to reduce the loss of life and property from flood disaster.

The public comment period is open for 60 days from April 7, 2017 to June 6, 2017. Download a copy of the draft NPEIS and provide comments directly to FEMA via www.regulations.gov. Search for Docket ID FEMA-2012-0012. In addition, public meetings and webinars are scheduled by FEMA to allow the public an opportunity to learn more about the project and to provide comments on the NFIP draft NPEIS. For a list of locations and webinar dates and times, visit www.fema.gov/programmatic-environmental-impact-statement.

New Fact Sheet Available on Salvaging Family Valuables and Heirlooms Damaged by Disasters

When homes are flooded and lives are upended, treasured keepsakes such as photos, artwork, quilts and family heirlooms become more cherished. Although they may have been damaged in the flood, these treasures may be salvageable. Over the years, preservation experts have been resources at Disaster Recovery Centers offering practical tips and steps on how to handle, dry and clean damaged objects, and share tips on personal safety, setting priorities and other preservation options.

FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution co-sponsor the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a partnership of 42 national service organizations and federal agencies created to protect cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies. In addition to a new fact sheet, the Task Force’s efforts on salvaging water-damaged, important personal belongings is also featured in a post titled “Safeguarding Memories” on the FEMA blog.

Increasing Engagement With Faith-based Organizations in Disaster Preparedness Webinar

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is hosting a webinar emphasizing the value of increasing engagement with faith-based organizations for disaster preparedness on April 12 at 2-3:30 p.m. ET. The webinar is a joint effort between the DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and FEMA’s Higher Education Program. The event will provide a forum to help to ensure emergency managers, faith-based and community organizations are aware of academic partner resources and engagement opportunities.

Participants can register for the webinar online and use the conference call-in (800) 320-4330; PIN: 376368#. The webinar presenters are Marcus Coleman, Special Assistant, DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Brie Loskota, Executive Director of the Center for Religious and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles; and Jamie Aten, Ph.D., Founder and Co-Director, Wheaton College Humanitarian Disaster Institute.

FEMA Announces Release of the Flood Insurance Advocate’s Annual Report

FEMA is pleased to announce the release of the 2016 Annual Report of the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate (OFIA). This report is being publicly released to further OFIA’s goal of transparency, and is available on OFIA’s webpage and clicking on the Annual Report.

 OFIA identified six primary National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholder and property owner topics in 2016 that present opportunities for ongoing program improvement. They include:  erroneous severe repetitive loss property designations; gaps in flood insurance agent education; the need for consistency across FEMA regions in public mapping outreach; difficulties in accessing Increased Cost of Compliance coverage; difficulties with multiple and conflicting flood zone determinations; and the inability to obtain a refund of the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 surcharge when cancelling an NFIP policy.

 The issues identified in this report are based on the observations of OFIA through the hundreds of inquiries submitted to the office this past year. These issues represent areas of concern that have a long-term impact to a broad population of NFIP customers. The Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration’s (FIMA) program areas were provided an opportunity to respond to these findings, and the programs’ responses are included with this report.

OFIA is an independent office within FEMA and reports to the FIMA Deputy Associate Administrator. The Office also has direct access to FEMA’s Administrator. OFIA’s mission is to advocate for the fair treatment of policyholders and property owners by providing education and guidance on all aspects of the NFIP, identifying trends affecting the public, and making recommendations for program improvements to FEMA leadership. Policyholders may seek assistance from the OFIA by visiting their webpage and clicking on “Ask the Advocate”.

FEMA Finalizes Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Local Governments

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) finalized the Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Local Governments. This guide is designed to prepare local governments for recovery efforts from future disasters by engaging with the whole community and planning for recovery activities that are comprehensive and long term. The guide also provides tools for public engagement and identifying existing recovery resources outside partnerships that could help local governments build resilience.

The Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide was developed by the Community Planning and Capacity Building Branch as a component of the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), and is the second in a series of three. The Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for States was released at the end of 2016 and a guide for tribes is currently being developed.

You can view the Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Local Governments at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/129203.

FEMA Seeks Applicants for National Advisory Council

FEMA is requesting individuals who are interested in serving on the FEMA National Advisory Council (NAC) to apply to be considered for appointment. The NAC is a federal advisory committee established to ensure effective and ongoing coordination of federal preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation for natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters. The NAC is a geographically diverse mix of officials, emergency managers, and emergency response providers from state, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations who advise the FEMA Administrator on all aspects of emergency management.

FEMA is accepting applications for open positions in the following discipline areas:
Elected Tribal Government Executive (one representative appointment); Non-elected Tribal Government Official (one representative appointment); Emergency Management Field (one representative appointment); Emergency Response Providers, which includes fire, law enforcement, hazardous materials response, emergency medical services, and organizations representing emergency response providers (one representative appointment); Standards Setting and Accrediting Organizations, which includes the voluntary consensus codes and standards development community (one representative appointment); Individuals with Disabilities (one representative appointment); Health Scientist (one SGE appointment); Infrastructure Protection Expert (one SGE appointment); Administrator Selections (up to five SGE appointments)

All appointments are for three-year terms starting in September 2017. Applications must be received by the close of business on March 15, 2017. Qualified individuals interested in serving on the NAC are invited to apply for appointment. More information can be found at https://www.fema.gov/membership-applications.

 

Emergency Preparedness for Seniors

Basic emergency preparations are important at any age. Older adults and seniors may need to update their preparations as their needs change.

What would you or any older adults in your household need in an emergency? Evaluate those needs, include them in your emergency plan and add any necessary items to your emergency supply kit. Ready.gov recommends that older Americans also consider the following measures:

• Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers to aid you in an emergency. Discuss your needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment. If appropriate, discuss your needs with your employer.
• Keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, food for service animals and any other items you might need.
• Keep written copies of your prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and orders for medical equipment, including dosage, treatment and allergy information in your emergency kit.
• Make a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices you require.
• Talk with your service provider about their emergency plans if you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation. Work with them to identify back-up service providers and incorporate them into your personal support network.
• Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference.
• Coordinate with friends, family or specialty transportation service providers in the event of a mandatory evacuation.

Find more information on creating an emergency plan, building an emergency kit, or planning for a specific disaster at Ready.gov or Ready.gov/Seniors.

Upcoming workshop: Science You Can Use: Sustaining New Jersey Marshes for Coastal Resilience

The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR) in conjunction with other local partners is presenting two upcoming workshops “Science You Can Use: Sustaining New Jersey Marshes for Coastal Resilience.”

Workshop Purpose:

To convey how ongoing research informs the understanding of:
•How do saltmarshes aid coastal resilience?
•How can salt marshes be sustained into the future?
•What management tools and best practices are available for aiding decision-making on nature-based and other management strategies?
•How might we apply them locally?

This workshop will help you design shovel-ready projects to be competitive for funding and to demonstrate the priorities for undertaking specified management interventions at particular locations.

Coastal decision-makers will gain a better understanding of the benefits, costs and trade-offs to restoring and sustaining tidal salt marshes for our back-bay coastal communities.

Who should participate

Municipal, county, state and federal coastal decision-makers, including: municipal and county planners and officials, park and floodplain managers, state permitting officers, consultants, NGO staff, contractors.

The two workshops will provide the same content, but will feature different case study areas.

The workshops will be held on March 14th at the JCNERR Coastal Center in Tuckerton, NJ  and April 3rd at the Cumberland County Community College in Vineland.

For more information and to register, visit: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07edqke9mld0be0a57&llr=e4svqyeab.

 

FEMA Finalizes the Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for State Governments

At the end of 2016, FEMA finalized the Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for State Governments. This Guide is the first in a series of three that will be released in the next year that will include a guide for local governments and a guide for tribal governments.

 

FEMA designed these planning guides to help states and territories prepare for recovery by developing pre-disaster recovery plans that follow a process to engage members of the whole community, develop recovery capabilities across State government and nongovernmental partners, and ultimately create an organizational framework for comprehensive state recovery efforts.

 

A pre-disaster recovery plan, and the inclusive process used to develop it, establishes resilience through state-level leadership and structure, forms communication channels, and builds whole-community partnerships to support recovery efforts.

 

The Guide provides useful information that will support the preparation of state agencies to more easily adapt to new post-disaster roles needed to manage new or modified sources of state and Federal recovery resources. 

 

You can view the Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for State Governments at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/128572. For any questions regarding this guide, please reach out to cpcb-rsf@fema.dhs.gov.