FEMA Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual, national campaign to increase awareness and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme, "Increasing Access and Opportunity," reflects FEMA’s commitment to inclusion in the workplace.
Throughout the month, FEMA will engage in activities that educate employees on disability employment issues and the role they play in fostering a disability-friendly culture.
In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, please watch a video about FEMA’s commitment to foster an inclusive workplace. Our agency is one of the leaders in the Department of Homeland Security for employing individuals with targeted disabilities. We value the diversity, unique experiences and abilities our employees bring to FEMA and the people we serve.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy but is observed at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers and employees can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month during October and throughout the year by going to dol.gov/NDEAM
FEMA Holds Public Meeting for Pandemic Preparedness
FEMA held a virtual public meeting on Oct. 13 to provide an overview of a voluntary agreement initiated under the authority of the Defense Production Act. The voluntary agreement will enhance coordination between the federal government and private industry to respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics.
Participants included manufacturers and distributors of critical healthcare and medical equipment and resources, trade associations and partner agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense and the Veteran’s Affairs.
FEMA published a draft agreement in the Federal Register in August after receiving feedback from the private sector and consulting with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. Under the agreement, private companies will be granted certain antitrust protections for specific actions taken to carry out plans of action.
Different plans will be drawn up to address specific challenges that arise in ensuring a steady flow of critical supplies in the domestic market during a pandemic. Each plan of action will include the appropriate companies and partners that can best address and solve each challenge.
Additional public meetings will be announced in the future to address the different plans of action. FEMA plans to list of all participating companies in the Federal Register.
New Preparedness Grants Training Now Available
FEMA posted a video to teach grant applicants how to apply for preparedness or mitigation grants. The video, "Non-Disaster Grants: How to Submit an Application," demonstrates how to complete the two-step process of applying.
The process begins in Grants.gov and continues in the Non-Disaster Grants Management System, otherwise known as ND Grants. The video also covers the communications grant recipients can expect to receive from FEMA, Grants.gov, and ND Grants during the application process.
Grant programs that use Non-Disaster Grants include the Emergency Management Performance Grants Program, the Homeland Security Grant Program, the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program, the Intercity Bus Security Grant Program, the Intercity Passenger Rail - Amtrak, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, the Port Security Grant Program, the Presidential Residence Protection Assistance Grant, and the Transit Security Grant Program.
For a full list of grant programs that use the ND Grants System, Frequently Asked Questions, and instructional guides, please visit the Non-Disaster Grants Management System webpage on FEMA.gov.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Week Three: Securing Internet-Connected Devices
Week 3 of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month focuses on the theme “Securing Internet-Connected Devices.”
We rely on Internet-connected devices every day with little concern of how these devices stay connected to the Internet. We wear smartwatches and fitness devices to track our steps, use smartphones for many tasks, and may even have virtual medical appointments.
Do you know what actions are needed to protect your privacy in these situations? Do you know how to update your devices?
Visit DHS’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and Stop. Think. Connect. TM. Campaign websites to learn more about what you can do to improve cybersecurity.
The Office of Equal Rights Announces Civil Rights Stakeholder Summit Series
On Nov. 12, FEMA's Office of Equal Rights (OER) will host the first of three Civil Rights Stakeholder Summits. The first summit, “Multi-Cultural Summit: Equity Throughout Disasters,” is an opportunity for FEMA and our stakeholders to participate in a crucial conversation on equity in disasters. Motivated by FEMA’s core values of compassion, fairness, integrity and respect, the goal of this summit is to strengthen the foundation for an inclusive, whole-community based approach to emergency management.
The summit is designed to foster a collaborative dialogue to identify actual and perceived biases impacting equal access to programs and services before, during and after disasters.
FEMA understands that disasters impact individuals and communities differently. To foster a more inclusive, prepared and resilient nation, OER seeks to strengthen the agency’s communication with members of underserved and historically marginalized communities, such as those with low income, differing ethnic groups and limited English proficiency.
Perspectives and feedback from the public are critical to ensure FEMA effectively prepares and serves all communities.
Register in advance to join the summit discussion!
Upcoming summits dates and topics:
- Disability Summit: "Accessibility Throughout Disasters," Thursday, Nov. 19
- Environmental Justice Summit: "Implementation Throughout Disasters," Thursday, Dec. 3
FEMA Holds Disability Stakeholder Call to Share Resources on Mitigation Planning
October is National Community Planning Month, an opportunity to promote awareness of community mitigation planning actions. Hazard mitigation planning reduces loss of life and property by minimizing the impact of disasters. It begins with state, local, tribal and territorial governments identifying natural disaster risks and vulnerabilities that are common in their area. After identifying these risks, they develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from future events. Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction and repeated damage. Considering the needs of people with disabilities in mitigation planning is vital for life-sustaining recovery operations.
FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC) is hosting a conference call, “Planning is Essential to Recovery,” on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. ET, to discuss:
- What is Hazard Mitigation and Mitigation Planning?
- Who has a Local Mitigation Plan?
- What are the Benefits of Mitigation Planning?
Please join the moderated conference line 5 to 10 minutes early using the participant passcode below:
- Call: (855) 490-5692 (toll free)
- Participant Passcode: 664443
- Captioning link
FEMA Implements New Policy as Part of Disaster Reform Recovery Act
FEMA announced the release of a policy to provide communities with resources to enforce building codes and floodplain management for up to 180 days following a major disaster declaration.
The “Building Code and Floodplain Management Administration and Enforcement” policy will help governments speed the overall recovery from a disaster by providing resources to ensure compliance with codes and floodplain management.
For the first 180 days following a major declaration, the policy can provide funding for:
- Hiring and training staff to conduct activities.
- Reviewing and processing building permits and occupancy and compliance certificates.
- Conducting building inspections.
- Reviewing disaster-related development in the floodplain.
- Providing educational services to the public on floodplain requirements.
This policy is a result of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018, Section 1206. This policy applies to all major disaster declarations declared on or after Aug. 1, 2017.
FEMA Shares Case Studies for Interagency Disaster Recovery Coordination
Flash floods in 2016 and 2018 ravaged Ellicott City, Maryland. Thanks to proactive local leadership, however, this tight-knit community rallied to support its historic city center and main street economy. The recovery remains underway.
FEMA develops Interagency Recovery Coordination case studies on communities like Ellicott City to share stories of recovery coordination solutions, lessons learned and best practices. These case studies highlight challenging scenarios faced during disaster recovery efforts and details how emergency managers collaborated with federal, state, local, tribal, territorial and private partners to overcome those challenges. The studies are available to practitioners, members of academia and the public through the fema.gov Case Study Library.
Given complex and unique challenges faced during disaster recovery, success stories are critical resources for practitioners preparing for and managing disasters. Additionally, case studies give readers insight on a variety of real-life incidents. The recovery case studies also support continuous learning for FEMA employees, their partners and the higher education community.
Upcoming Deadlines and Reminders
FEMA Co-Hosts Webinar Series on Equity
FEMA partners with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to host a virtual webinar series on "Alliances for Equity." Every Wednesday in October, this series will discuss current efforts to adopt equitable practices across the field of resilience. Each session is from 1 to 3:30 p.m. ET. The topics include:
- Oct 21 – Planning for an Equitable Future
- Oct 28 – Building a Foundation for Action
Visit the event website for more information about the series, register and to review the agenda and speakers schedule.
FEMA Accepts Nominations to the National Exercise Program
FEMA Holds Comment Period for Mitigation Planning Updates
On Aug. 28, FEMA published updates to the Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program and mitigation planning regulations for public comment in the Federal Register. The updates synchronize the requirements enacted by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.
The 60-day public comment period is open until Oct. 27. Visit Regulations.gov and provide comments to Docket ID: FEMA-2019-0011.
FEMA Offers Comment Period on Public Works Resource Types
FEMA’s National Integration Center is seeking public feedback on 18 resource typing documents that enhance interoperability and the effectiveness of mutual aid. This national engagement period will conclude at 5 p.m. ET on Nov 6.
The 18 various positions and teams for public works includes engineers and debris and damage assessment specialists. These resource typing documents will facilitate the sharing of deployable public works positions and teams at all jurisdictional levels and will support the augmentation of the FEMA workforce during disaster operations.