On April 1, 2019 FEMA marked its 40th anniversary. Created by President Jimmy Carter, FEMA absorbed the emergency preparedness and response roles from the Federal Insurance Administration, the National Weather Service Community Preparedness Program, the Federal Preparedness Agency of the General Services Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Federal Disaster Assistance Administration, and civil defense responsibilities from the Department of Defense Civil Preparedness Agency.
Over the past 40 years, FEMA’s mission has evolved in size, scope and focus. Early changes marked a shift away from civil defense to all-hazards, specifically natural disasters. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 prompted the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 and marked an era of national security focus for the Agency. In response to perceived shortcomings to large disasters such as Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina and Sandy Congress passed legislation modifying or adding to FEMA’s role.
The recently passed Disaster Recovery Reform Act contains important reforms to federal disaster programs. This key piece of legislation not only provides FEMA greater flexibility to more effectively support our state, local, tribal and territorial partners, it will bring together the lessons learned from the 2017 disaster season and is complemented by several key provisions within the DRRA.
The hard work and commitment to disaster survivors has allowed the agency to grow, learn from best practices and adopt new policies and technologies. Regardless of how our mission and structure have and will continue to change, the fundamental character, inspiration and motivation for our employees remains the same: The desire to serve our Nation by helping people before, during and after disasters.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) announced two changes to its program that require modifications to the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual, the NFIP system of record, and the Specific Rating Guidelines.
• For policies becoming effective on or after Oct. 2019, FEMA will start collecting insurance agent and agency information.
• In addition, FEMA will update rating procedures for certain properties that previously required submission to FEMA for rating.
These changes, which become effective on Oct. 1, will help the NFIP build relationships with the agents who sell flood insurance policies and represent the NFIP in neighborhoods and communities. A copy of the announcement can be found at:
https://nfipservices.floodsmart.gov/wyobull2019.html. The manual is posted online at https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance-manual.
Throughout the month of April, FEMA, in partnership with the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC), is celebrating National Financial Capability Month. Personal financial planning helps individuals and families prepare for disasters both big and small.
Many people have experienced the challenges of rebuilding their lives after a disaster. In these stressful circumstances, disaster savings can help individuals, families, communities, businesses and organizations bounce back quicker and start the road to recovery.
Know the risks where you live, and save for the costs of these disaster risks. Here are a few tips to help you start, and strengthen, your emergency savings fund:
• Prepare for the risks where you live. Personal financial planning helps families prepare for disasters both big and small.
• Create a rainy day fund. Consider saving for disasters by setting aside money for unexpected costs including hotel stays, food, gas and insurance deductibles.
• Check your insurance coverage. Having insurance for your apartment, home or business property is the best way to be sure you will have the necessary financial resources to help you repair, rebuild or replace whatever is damaged.
• Have all the documents and digital copies you need to protect yourself after a disaster. Use the checklists in the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) and see if you’re missing anything.
Each week throughout April, the Ready Campaign will host social media events to talk about planning, budgeting, saving money for disasters and emergencies, and the importance of having insurance coverage. Join us for the following events (all times are Eastern):
– 3 p.m. on April 2. Facebook Live, “Unlocking Your Financial Future: Build it. Grow it. Secure it.” This event will kick off Financial Capability Month and share tips and resources on financial preparedness. Go to Ready Facebook.
– 1 p.m. on April 10. TwitterChat, “Plan for the Unexpected.” Financial preparedness subject matter experts will answer questions about how to create a savings plan and budget to help prepare for disasters and emergencies. #FinancialChat
– 4 p.m. on April 17. Webinar: “Money Matters: Resources for Youth in Financial Preparedness.” FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council members and stakeholders will discuss saving strategies and tips. Register for the webinar here.
– 1 p.m. on April 24. TwitterChat: “Insure your Financial Future.” This event will answer questions on how to safeguard documents and insure property. #FinancialChat
Find out more by following #FinancialFuture2019 on social media and visiting ready.gov and usa.gov/flec.
The National Weather Service is running a campaign focused on knowing your “safe place”. At 11:11 a.m. Eastern on April 3, you can join the National Weather Service and its Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors by taking a “selfie” and posting it with the hashtag #SafePlaceSelfie.