Congressional Support for National Preparedness Month
Thirteen members of Congress are serving as 2020 co-sponsors for the 2020 National Preparedness Month. Throughout September, the FEMA Bulletin will feature statements from these members.
California Rep. Maxine Waters, Chairwoman, Committee on Financial Services
“As our nation continues to struggle with the impacts of COVID-19 in the middle of the current hurricane season, the importance of disaster preparedness should be apparent to all of us. Science tells us that natural disasters are only getting stronger and happening more often, but as a country we are not prepared to confront this reality. For decades, we have underinvested in flood mapping and mitigation, and there are still far too many households and businesses that go without the insurance coverage that they need. As Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, I have been working to pass a comprehensive reform of the National Flood Insurance Program that will make important progress toward greater national preparedness and provide for a long-term reauthorization of the program. I am pleased to participate as a 2020 National Preparedness Month Congressional Co-Chair to raise awareness about the importance of flood insurance and other forms of emergency and disaster preparedness.”
Missouri Rep. Sam Graves, Ranking Member, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
“The added challenges and precautions related to COVID-19 make disaster preparedness more critical than ever for Americans across the country. Even though my district in Missouri continues to recover from the flooding of over a year ago, the 2020 hurricane season has already begun to take its toll in lives and livelihoods, and wildfires continue to endanger parts of the West, National Preparedness Month reminds us that there are concrete steps people can take right now to ensure they and their families are more prepared for the next disaster.”
New York Rep. Peter T. King, Ranking Member, Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery
“Preparedness is crucial to minimizing the impacts of disasters and emergencies. As we do each September, this month we commemorate the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and with the active hurricane and wildfire seasons impacting communities across the country, it is more important than ever that we take steps to be better prepared. As a Member of the Committee on Homeland Security and currently serving as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, I have long advocated for the strengthening of FEMA grant programs that provide key assistance to promote disaster education and mitigation, along with equipment and training to first responders. I am proud to serve as a Co-Chair of National Preparedness Month to encourage all Americans to evaluate their personal preparedness and take this opportunity to make any necessary changes to improve it.”
New York Rep. John Katko, Ranking Member, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
“National Preparedness Month serves as an important opportunity to highlight steps that American households, businesses and communities can take to effectively plan for disasters and emergencies. As our nation continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more critical than ever that localities are equipped with the necessary tools to effectively prepare for a disaster and keep our families safe.”
Visit Ready.gov to see the list of 13 congressional co-chairs who are helping promote National Preparedness Month throughout the country. You can help share preparedness messaging by using the social media safety graphics and various public service announcements during the month of September.
FEMA Holds Virtual Summit for Faith Leaders Focusing on Financial Assistance Post Disaster
Last week, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives (DHS Center) coordinated with the Louisiana Governor’s Office and the Small Business Administration to host a virtual summit focusing on disaster assistance. The summit was for 58 faith leaders and others seeking to collaborate in the areas affected by Hurricane Laura.
Faith and community organizations can be a critical source of support after a disaster. These organizations know the members in their communities, they operate kitchens and food banks, have volunteers and provide educational training.
Following Hurricane Laura, houses of worship in Louisiana regrouped quickly to serve members of their communities in greatest need. Even amid damage to their local facilities they rallied to the callings of their respective creeds by offering comfort, emergency supplies, food and water to survivors in impacted areas and in respite locations outside the evacuation zones.
One of the ways FEMA and the DHS Center support faith and community organizations following a major disaster is by offering timely information about how to apply for financial assistance that will help them, and their community members, recover and rebuild from the damages.
The DHS Center has offered these presentations to faith leaders in disaster-stricken areas including in Florida after Hurricane Michael, Puerto Rico subsequent to earthquakes and Tennessee following multiple tornadoes and severe weather.
FEMA Releases Floodplain Management Guidance
FEMA developed guidance that clarifies and refines the requirements that apply to certain agricultural structures and accessory structures located in Special Flood Hazard Areas. This guidance is a reference document for floodplain managers and those involved in regulating, planning, designing and constructing agricultural structures and accessory structures in special flood hazard areas.
Additionally, the guidance document establishes a clear, consistent process for ensuring compliance with National Flood Insurance Program design and performance standards for those structures located within the special flood hazard area.
As defined in the policy, an agricultural structure is a structure used exclusively in connection with the production, harvesting, storage, raising or drying of agricultural commodities and livestock. In addition, an accessory structure refers to a structure that is on the same parcel of property as a principal structure and the use of which is incidental to the use of the principal structure, such as a detached garage, carport or storage shed.
The document supports the policy “Floodplain Management Requirements for Agricultural Structures and Accessory Structures” that was signed and effective earlier this year.
For additional information, refer to the guidance and policy available on FEMA’s website.
FEMA Announces Continuing Training Grants
FEMA has awarded $8 million in grants to help enhance the nation’s ability to respond to and recovery from all-hazards events. Six different recipients will receive grants from the Fiscal Year 2020 Homeland Security National Training Program/Continuing Training Grants.
This highly competitive program attracts applicants from state, local, tribal and territorial governments, along with eligible non-profit organizations to include colleges and universities. In FY 2020, 15 eligible applicants competed, and FEMA is making five awards.
Awards will be made to the following recipients in these award categories:
- Emerging Threats (Cybersecurity):
$1.5 million (Joint Award) - Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana; and Texas A&M University in College Station.
- Food, Water and Sheltering (Housing):
$1.5 million - Columbia University in New York City.
- Transportation and Communications (Economic Recovery):
$1 million - Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
- Food, Water and Sheltering (Logistics and Supply Chain Management):
$1 million: University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
- All Lifelines (Tribal and Rural Preparedness):
$3 million - The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky.
Continuing Training Grants provide funding to applicants to target and provide training solutions for responders and emergency managers throughout the country to address emerging threats such as cybersecurity and FEMA’s Community Lifelines, such as Food, Water and Sheltering, Communications and Transportation lifelines.
FEMA Announces Notice of Intended NFIP Reinsurance Procurement for 2021
On Sept. 15, FEMA published a notice of its intended reinsurance procurement for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for 2021. This notice includes all the procurement, contact information and details on how to submit a request for participation.
The Reinsurance Program transfers financial flood risk to private markets to help strengthen the financial framework of the NFIP. FEMA anticipates continuing its reinsurance program and plans to secure a new reinsurance placement in January 2021.
For more information about the Reinsurance Program, visit FEMA’s website.
FEMA Publishes National Household Survey
FEMA has released the results of the 2020 National Household Survey. The annual survey assesses how the culture of disaster preparedness and resilience has changed since 2007. The 2020 survey results suggest that the public is experiencing increased interest in disaster preparedness.
More than 5,000 adults were surveyed in both English and Spanish. The survey tracks progress in personal disaster preparedness through examination of the American public's preparedness actions, attitudes, perceptions and motivations.
The results also show that 68% of those surveyed have taken three or more basic actions to prepare, which is a 6% increase over last year’s estimate. For example:
- 81% have gathered supplies.
- 65% have sought preparedness information.
- 48% have created emergency plans.
The survey also assesses financial preparedness and suggests 68% of adults have set aside some money for an emergency. Of respondents, 77% reported having homeowners or renters insurance policies, while 22% had flood insurance.
Specifically, the public has continued building a strong intention to prepare for disasters, yet there remains a critical need to turn into action, which has only increased by 2% since 2013.
Based on these results, FEMA and its partners will continue connecting individuals, organizations and communities with messaging, research and tools to build and sustain capabilities to prepare for any disaster or emergency.
FEMA will host a webinar at 4 p.m. on Sept. 23 to report hazard-specific findings. For more information on preparedness research, visit the FEMA website.
DHS Hosts Webinar on Responding During a Crisis
Emergency responders, hospitals and supply chains are working at capacity in response to COVID-19, while the next hurricane, wildfire or flood could be around the corner. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is hosting a webinar on how new public-private partnerships are accelerating new solutions and business models to prepare for day-to-day emergencies.
The webinar focuses on how communities can adapt and respond to the compounding pressures. It also discusses how technologies can inform risk-based decision making in areas of neighborhood health monitoring, supply chains, evacuation planning, crisis communications and information sharing among front-line responders. The webinar will be held at 1 p.m. ET on Sept. 24. Registration is required.
Upcoming Deadlines and Reminders
FEMA Offers Webinars on How to Apply to the NEP
FEMA's National Exercise Division is now accepting nominations to the National Exercise Program (NEP). Fall nomination round submissions are due by Nov.1 and decisions will be sent by Dec. 1. The NEP will hold additional exercise nomination rounds in spring and fall of 2021.
FEMA is hosting two 60-minute webinars for state, local, tribal, territorial and other whole community partners to discuss the nomination process. The webinars will be held at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 22 and Tuesday, Oct. 6. The webinar topics will also include the support that NEP can provide for conducting exercises in a COVID-19 environment and the proposed 2021-2022 Principals’ Strategic Priorities.
To participate in either webinar:
FEMA Holds Comment Period for Draft Guidance on Inundated and Submerged Roads
FEMA and the Federal Highway Administration developed guidance for federal assistance for the restoration of inundated and submerged roads damaged or destroyed by a declared major disaster. The draft policy and accompanying comments matrix are located on the FEMA website.
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 (BW-12).
The 60-day public comment period is open until Oct. 27. Visit Regulations.gov and provide comments to Docket ID: FEMA-2019-0011.