FEMA External Affairs Bulletin – May 28, 2018
FEMA is taking significant steps to improve the NFIP claims process and customer experience. FEMA will be at various open house events and venues in Houston, Texas, on June 2, 4 and 5, 2018, to provide Hurricane Harvey survivors with information and resources to help them navigate the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims process. The first event will take place at the Houston/Galveston Extreme Weather Ready Expo onJune 2.
FEMA remains committed to ensuring policyholders receive every dollar they are due based on the coverage in their policy and the flood damage that occurred. The NFIP has free resources survivors may use to support resolution of their claims, allowing them to recover more quickly from a flood. FEMA is concerned that many policyholders are not aware of these resources and instead turn to for-profit lawyers who typically can be paid $1 of every $3 of their flood settlement. As the deadline nears for policyholders to prove their loss to their insurer, FEMA urges them to take advantage of this opportunity to meet face-to-face with our claims experts.
FEMA has already paid Hurricane Harvey survivors more than $8.7 billion to assist them with their recovery process. If new damage or the actual costs of repairs is more than what they received, FEMA wants policyholders to act now and contact their flood insurance carrier to request an additional payment. Additional information will be advertised locally and in coordination with Region VI staff and partners.
FEMA’s own Andy Neal (and team) from the National Flood Insurance Program was chosen as one of the 27 finalists for the Management Excellence Category of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (the “Sammie”). On this episode of the FEMA Podcast, we talk with Andy Neal about the process of diversifying the NFIP’s risk through reinsurance, and what the Sammie nomination has meant for his program.
The FEMA Podcast is a new audio program series available to anyone interested in learning more about the Agency, hearing about innovation in the field of emergency management, and listening to stories about communities and individuals recovering after disasters. The FEMA Podcast is available on Apple iTunes to stream or download. Approximately 20 to 30 minutes in length, the podcast will be updated with a new episode on a weekly basis. By subscribing, new episodes will automatically update on a listener’s device. For more information, visit www.fema.gov/podcast.
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year. For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season.
NOAA’s forecasters predict a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 1 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
FEMA reminds residents that they should do their part to prepare for hurricanes by making a family emergency communication plan that includes pets, and to download the FEMA app for local alerts and warnings. Check your insurance coverage and know if you have flood and wind protection. For more information, visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
FEMA Announces Record of Decision of the Final Nationwide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on the National Flood Insurance Program
On May 25, 2018, FEMA published a Federal Register notice of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the final National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Nationwide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (NPEIS). Through this decision, FEMA is announcing intent to implement the preferred alternative from the NFIP’s final Nationwide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (NPEIS). For additional information about the program modifications, visit www.fema.gov/programmatic-environmental-impact-statement.
As required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), FEMA completed the final NPEIS to examine the impacts of proposed improvements and modifications to the NFIP. FEMA’s revisions and responses to comments received during the process are included in the final NPEIS (Appendix M). The NFIP proposed modifications are needed to implement the legislative requirements of 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 over 5 million NFIP policies in effect, providing over $1.2 trillion in insurance coverage. The NFIP serves as the foundation for national efforts to reduce property loss from flood disasters.
The ROD and final NPEIS are available for public viewing and download at www.fema.gov/programmatic-environmental-impact-statement.
May 31, 2018, is National Dam Safety Awareness Day, a day to raise awareness of dams in communities, help residents and stakeholders understand the responsibilities of local governments and dam owners, and learn how to reduce potential risks associated with high hazard dams. National Dam Safety Awareness Day was created to commemorate the failure of the South Fork Dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1889. The dam failure resulted in the loss of more than 2,200 lives and remains the worst dam failure in U.S. history.
Many dams provide important benefits to our communities. Due to a number of catastrophic dam failures in the past few decades, today, there is increased attention to dam safety and how we can reduce the risks that some dams pose.
In 2017 alone, there were several high profile incidents involving dam safety including:
– A potential failure of the emergency spillway of the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California, that caused the emergency evacuation of about 188,000 residents.
– Record-breaking rainfall from Hurricane Harvey that tested the Addicks and Barker reservoirs in Houston, Texas.
– The weakening Guajataca Dam in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico that threatened more than 70,000 residents in two nearby towns after heavy rainfall from Hurricane Maria.
For more than 30 years, the federal government has worked to protect Americans from dam failure through the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP). The NDSP is a partnership of the states, federal agencies, and other stakeholders to encourage and promote the establishment and maintenance of effective federal and state dam safety programs to reduce the risks to human life, property, and the environment from dam related hazards.
While dams provide many benefits to communities, such as storage of drinking water and improvement of wildlife habitats, they can also pose a significant flood risk if they fail. Dam safety is a shared responsibility and everyone is encouraged to know their risk, know their role, and to take action.
For additional information on dam safety, please visit FEMA’s Dam Safety page for an overview on National Dam Safety Awareness Day and the National Dam Safety Program.
Each week of National Building Safety Month casts the spotlight on a different component of building safety. This week, the focus is “Improving Education and Training Standards for a Safer Tomorrow.”
When entering a house or building, there is an expectation that it was properly constructed by certified professionals in accordance with local building codes. With major advancements in building technology and frequent discoveries of new methods for solving age-old problems, the building industry, like other industries, is constantly evolving. For building safety professionals, education and training are important aspects of professional development.
To help meet the demand for educated building professionals, FEMA offers a variety of training opportunities. The National Preparedness Online Course Catalog, provides a searchable, integrated catalog on courses offered or managed by FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness, Emergency Management Institute, and National Training and Education Division.
FEMA’s Building Science Branch takes a lead role in developing state-of-the-art publications, guidance materials, tools, training, technical bulletins, and recovery advisories that incorporate the most up-to-date building codes. For more information on National Building Safety Month, visit the International Code Council’s Building Safety Month webpage.
FEMA Seeks Comments on Individual Assistance Policy and Program Guide
FEMA posted the draft Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide (IAPPG) for public comment. The IAPPG will provide a single comprehensive reference document for all FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) programs. The comment period will close on June 7, 2018. FEMA will then adjudicate comments and finalize the document. Once finalized, the IAPPG will replace the Individuals and Households Program Unified Guidance (IHPUG) from September 2016, and all stand-alone IA policies.
Please visit www.fema.gov/individual-assistance-program-and-policy-guide to review and provide comments on the draft IAPPG.
Apply to the National Emergency Management Advanced and Executive Academies
FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is accepting applications until June 8, 2018 for the National Emergency Management Advanced Academy and the National Emergency Management Executive Academy.
For more information and to apply for the Advanced Academy, go to https://training.fema.gov/empp/applytoadvancedacademy.aspx or contact [email protected]. For the Executive Academy, go to https://training.fema.gov/empp/applytoexecutiveacademy.aspx or contact [email protected].
Apply to the Master Public Information Officer Program at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute
FEMA Emergency Management Institute’s (EMI) Master Public Information Officer Program is a three-course series designed to prepare public information officers for an expanded role in delivering public information and warning using a strategic whole community approach.
The course is open to full time public information officers with a minimum of five years of experience and who have a demonstrated sphere of influence capable of advancing the relevance of whole community external affairs. For more information go to: https://training.fema.gov/programs/pio/masterpio.aspx#E0389, or send an email to [email protected] The application deadline is June 30, 2018. For instructions how to apply for the program, go to the Training Bulletin.