This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. It only takes one hurricane to change your life and your community. Hurricanes are one of nature’s most powerful and destructive events that the nation faces, and the cause behind eight of the ten costliest disasters in U.S. history. Hurricanes are not just a coastal concern. High winds, heavy rainfall, tornadoes, and flooding can be felt hundreds of miles inland, potentially causing loss of life and catastrophic damage to property.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30. Now is the time to prepare, if you — or a close family member — live in an area prone to hurricanes or inland flooding. Make a family emergency communication plan. Don’t forget to include your pets in your emergency preparedness planning. Identify an out of town emergency contact to coordinate information with family and friends. Keep an emergency kit where you spend time — home, car, work. Download the FEMA app and set up local alerts for you or your loved ones. Practice your preparedness plans with a drill or exercise.
Visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes for more information about hurricane preparedness.
The 2017 CRS Coordinator’s Manual (Expiration date March 31, 2020) has been approved in accordance with requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act. The revised manual will be implemented by FEMA immediately. However, changes will not take effect for any community until that community’s next CRS cycle verification visit.
Changes from previous editions of the Coordinator’s Manual will be marked with vertical bars in the margins of the pages of the updated manual. Most changes are clarification and improvements.
The CRS Webinars series for 2017 will include training courses on the new items in the manual and other topics to assist communities. Visit http://crsresources.org/training/ to see webinar dates and to register.
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.
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.
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.
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 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”.
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 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.
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.