Free Webinar on College and University Emergency Response Training

As part of FEMA’s Emergency Management Higher Education Program, the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is offering the following webinar:

“In Emergency Response, Great Plans Are a Smart Thing: Training is Everything!”

April 23, 2015
11:00 am – 2:00 pm EDT
Presenter: Bo Mitchell, President/Founder 911 Consulting

Smart plans are critical. But, if we don’t get the words off the paper and into people’s heads, we have failed. Thus, training is everything given that people can’t and won’t run to look at binders for response in a real emergency. What are the legal requirements for training? What are the current practices and obstacles on campuses regarding training? What are the proven ways to train for emergency response? How does your campus compare?

Learning Objectives:

  1. What are the laws, regulations and standards that control emergency plan training?
  2. How will lawsuits affect you and your campus?
  3. What are – versus what should be – the overriding attitude of administrators in training employees in emergency response?
  4. What are the obstacles and consistent mistakes administrations make in emergency training?
  5. Do we need to train the Emergency Team differently than the rest of employees?
  6. How to protect your administration?

Conference Number: 800-320-4330
Participant Code: 316172

To join the meeting: https://fema.connectsolutions.com/he/

For additional information, contact Lillian Virgil, Chief, Mitigation Branch, Emergency Management Institute, Lillian.Virgil@fema.dhs.gov or call 301-447-1490.

 

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Prepare for MayDay 2015: Join the Movement!

The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) is proud to carry on Heritage Preservation’s MayDay initiative encouraging libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, and preservation organizations to set aside May 1, 2015, to examine and increase their preparedness for emergencies.

Any organization can participate in MayDay. Last year staff at the Snowden Library of Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, reviewed basic first aid procedures with their department of safety and security, updated their disaster plan, and created a Pocket Response Plan; at the Historic Fourth Ward School Museum in Virginia City, Nevada, staff, volunteers, and interns met to discuss possible emergency situations, reviewed and updated their emergency manual, and made sure all personnel clearly understood the steps to be taken in various emergencies; and the Worthington Historical Society in Worthington, Ohio, developed a system for labeling their collections according to high, medium, and low priority in the event of an emergency to share with staff, volunteers, and local emergency personnel.

Visit FAIC’s MayDay page to view project ideas and the MayDay logo.

Activities hosted by FAIC for MayDay 2015 are sponsored by Polygon Group, offering document recovery, emergency planning services, property damage restoration, and temporary humidity control across the globe.

The Society of American Archivists (SAA) created the MayDay initiative in 2006 and promoted the idea to its members and allied organizations. The following year, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force and SAA expanded the concept to include all kinds of collecting institutions and historic preservation interests. For more information about SAA’s MayDay activities, click here.

About FAIC

FAIC, the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, supports conservation education, research, and outreach activities that increase understanding of our global cultural heritage.

FEMA Implements New Disaster Grant Obligations Process

FEMA will be implementing a new process to award Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program project funds to grantees for disasters declared after March 1, 2015. After this change is initiated in the financial management system, grantees will be able to see project-by-project obligations and disbursements. Grantees will also be required to request and draw down funding by project.

Benefits of this new disaster grant obligations process include enhanced controls for both FEMA and grantees, simplification of data analytics and a streamlined reporting process. This enhancement to the system will assist grantees in tracking funds on a project-by-project basis. It will also allow FEMA to better understand which funds are being drawn down and for which purposes. This will allow a more transparent platform for tracking funds, required quarterly reporting and audit purposes.

This new process will not be applied retroactively to prior disasters. Previously, FEMA obligates Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds into a single large account where grantees can draw down funds from. Disasters declared before March 1, 2015 will not be affected by this new change and will continue to operate as they always have in a lump sum format.

A webinar will be held on February 25 at 1 p.m. ET to provide an overview of the system enhancement as well as training on how to use the new interface and draw down project funding. Participants can join the webinar via Adobe Connect or by dialing 1-800-320-4330 and entering 455513 for the conference PIN.

Unique Partnership in Delaware

The latest initiative developed by the disaster network Delaware Disaster Assistance Team (DDAT) is a unique partnership between DDAT member institutions and the student chapter of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) at the University of Delaware (IAEM@UD). Last fall, DDAT launched a pilot program to pair up graduate student volunteer teams of 2–3 students to work with representatives of DDAT member organizations to assess their existing institutional disaster plans (if they had one) and to make recommendations and provide support and resources to either create a plan or enhance an existing one. This is as a win-win project: DDAT member organizations get semi-professional support and assistance with a task that many seem to find daunting but that is, of course, at the core of any organization’s preparedness, while the student volunteers gain valuable experience not only consulting on the development of disaster plans but also in interacting with cultural heritage organizations, which gives them a unique perspective and challenge. The initial pilot involving a library has just been completed, and results were both informative and positive.  A second pilot involving a museum will be initiated soon, and a full roll-out of the program will take place early this spring. Work is also underway to incorporate graduate students in UD’s Museum Studies Program as assessment team members assigned to museums to strengthen the teams’ skill set.  To learn more about the partnership project, contact Pat Young at the Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware.

 

In New Jersey, Collaboration is Key

A number of initiatives have contributed to the recent spate of activity that is enabling the Garden State’s cultural heritage and emergency management communities to move forward together on emergency preparedness. From the Regional Emergency Response Networks project in 2012 to the creation of the New Jersey Cultural Alliance for Response network in 2014, New Jersey has been moving full speed ahead!

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FEMA Introduces New Data Visualization Tool

As part of the commitment to increasing the transparency and accessibility of data, FEMA introduced a new interactive tool to allow the public to explore currently available FEMA grant data. The tool, available at www.fema.gov/data-visualization, allows the public to see a visual representation of the agency’s federal grant data as it relates to fire, preparedness, mitigation and public assistance. The tool also visualizes disaster declarations by state, hazard and county. The tool is in BETA because FEMA is seeking comments on how it can be improved, so comments and suggestions are welcome. FEMA will continue to add data and update the visual based on feedback in the coming months. The OpenFEMA data used in the visualization were derived from the publicly available datasets on www.fema.gov and www.data.gov. FEMA is committed to updating these existing datasets in a timely manner and as feasible, to provide new datasets for our external partners to manipulate and use. Click the image below for more information.

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Participate in EMI’s Flooding Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX)

Flooding is the most common disaster our communities face, and as such, we should all be prepared to respond. As part of the 2015 VTTX series, FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute is conducting a four-hour exercise to help participants better coordinate their response operations with counterparts from local governments, state governments, federal agencies, private-sector organizations, and nongovernmental organizations. This March 2015 exercise will provide another excellent opportunity for state cultural agencies to engage with their emergency management agency (and vice versa) to incorporate cultural and historic resources into a well-run exercise.

Click here for more information. The deadline for your EMA to apply to participate in this exercise is March 13, 2015.

 

Participate in EMI’s Earthquake Focus Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX)

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is offering a four-hour Earthquake Focus Virtual Tabletop Exercises (VTTX) in January. The VTTX involves key personnel discussing simulated scenarios in an informal setting and can be used to assess plans, policies, training, and procedures. This exercise will provide an excellent opportunity for cultural agencies to engage with their EMA (and vice versa) to further customize the scenario to include cultural and historic resources. All 50 states and 5 US territories are at some risk for earthquakes. How prepared is your state to respond?

The VTTX differs from other tabletop exercises in that it is conducted using Video-Teleconference (VTC) technology (not web-based), and is intended to provide an opportunity for responders across the nation to participate simultaneously in a hazard-specific facilitated discussion. Lead facilitation for the exercise will be coordinated by EMI, with local facilitation provided by the participating EMA. This is a great opportunity to prepare for a potentially devastating earthquake.

Click here for more information. The deadline for your EMA to apply to participate in the exercise is December 22, 2014.

FEMA Seeks Comments On Public Assistance Insurance Policy

FEMA is seeking comments from insurance companies and associations on a proposed policy which requires applicants of its Public Assistance program to obtain and maintain insurance coverage equal to the assistance FEMA provided. Comments must be submitted through the process outlined in the Federal Register notice and are due on December 8, 2014. In 2013, the Public Assistance program obligated more than $4.5 billion.

Under Federal law, applicants who receive assistance under the Public Assistance program are required to obtain and maintain insurance coverage for the peril which caused the damage for at least the amount of funding FEMA provided. The proposed policy, among other things, clarifies that this requirement extends to both flood and non-flood events and can be satisfied through a variety of options including commercial insurance, blanket polices, insurance pools, self-insurance or a combination of these options.

The Public Assistance Program provides grants to state, territorial, local, and federally recognized tribal governments and certain private non-profit entities to assist them with the response to and recovery from disasters. Specifically, the program provides assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent restoration of infrastructure such as roads and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and contents, public utilities, and parks, recreational, and other facilities.

The Public Assistance Policy on Insurance was posted to the Federal Register this morning. The notice and related documents can be accessed here.

Join in the Great ShakeOut on October 16

During National Preparedness Month, we hope you took the opportunity to prepare for possible disaster events in your community and region. If your region is susceptible to earthquakes – and most regions are – now is the time to put your plans to the test! You are invited to join in the Great ShakeOut, an annual event that promotes earthquake preparedness and organizes the “world’s biggest earthquake drill.” At 10:16 am on October 16, participants will “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” for at least one minute. FEMA encourages schools, childcare facilities, families, colleges, local, state, and federal government offices, tribal organizations, businesses, hotels, healthcare facilities, museums, libraries, other cultural institutions, and all individuals to participate. As of October 3, over 23,049,339 participants have registered. Promote earthquake preparedness in organizations and communities you are a part of by joining in.

Many resources are available to help you plan your participation and share valuable information about what to do in the event of an earthquake. If you choose to lead a drill, the Great ShakeOut provides manuals and tips for many different scenarios. If you are looking for information to share on what to do during and before an earthquake, FEMA has created a short video, “When The Earth Shakes,” which provides key information in an accessible format. For more information, see previous posts about earthquake preparedness and mitigation, and increase your knowledge about the risk of earthquakes in your region.