FEMA Releases New State Mitigation Plan Review Guide

FEMA recently announced the release of the new State Mitigation Plan Review Guide (“Guide”). The updated Guide clarifies federal regulations that apply to FEMA; policy; and guidance around state hazard mitigation plan for state agencies and other officials developing mitigation plans. The Guide helps ensure a consistent plan review process for FEMA and the states that aim to improve the analysis and integration of evolving risks, such as climate change. The Guide will go into effect in approximately one year on March 6, 2016, for all state mitigation plans submitted to FEMA for review and approval. The transitional period allows time for FEMA and the states to work together to support their familiarity and understanding of the updated Guide. Indian tribal governments should follow the Tribal Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance.

We bring this to your attention because states will need to take a holistic approach and include not only emergency management, but also the sectors of economic development, land use and development, housing, health and social services, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources, in their planning process and mitigation program, where practicable.

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A Disaster Mitigation Framework for Cultural Resources

In 2011, the state cultural heritage emergency network COSTEP MA (Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness in Massachusetts) received a three-year Hazard Mitigation grant from FEMA through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. The goal of the project was to increase public awareness – particularly by cultural stewards, emergency managers, municipal planners, and other town officials – of mitigation actions that could safeguard cultural collections in their municipality. The project encouraged collaboration between the cultural and emergency management communities for the protection of cultural and historic resources. Deliverables included conducting 14 community meetings across the state, offering four Risk Assessment and Mitigation Planning workshops, and producing a framework on how others can conduct a similar program at the state, regional, or local level.  The framework – Mitigation for Memory: A Disaster Mitigation Framework for Cultural Resources is available here on COSTEP MA’s website. If you have any questions, contact Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, Preservation Specialist, at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Mitigation and Mitigation Planning  

Mitigation is a subject often overlooked until a disaster comes to pass. Yesterday, Scott Baldwin, Mitigation Specialist with the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, presented a terrific webinar on the subject. Some of the topics Scott covered included the importance of establishing a relationship with your local emergency manager and planning committee, hazard identification and risk assessment, and funding that might be available in the event of a major disaster. For private nonprofits (PNPs), funding is available through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP); other funding programs include Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM), Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA). Flood mitigation is notably in the news today: FEMA awarded a hazard mitigation grant to the village of Glenview, Illinois, to acquire and demolish flood prone structures.

If you missed the webinar, it is available online in its entirety here, along with many resources to help you get cultural resources incorporated into local mitigation plans.

This webinar is the second in a series produced with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. For more information on future webinars, see “Disaster and Continuity Planning and Preparedness” and “Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for Private, Nonprofit Organizations.”

Mitigation and Mitigation Planning Webinar Today; Disaster and Continuity Planning and Preparedness Webinar Approaching;

There is still time to register to attend the Mitigation and Mitigation Planning webinar, with Scott Baldwin, Mitigation Specialist, Colorado Office of Emergency Management. The webinar will take place today from 3:00 – 4:30 EST. For more information on what topics will be covered, click here and register here.

There is still one week to register to attend the Disaster and Continuity Planning and Preparedness webinar, presented by Heritage Preservation and Kiran Dhanji, Section Administrator, Preparedness, Texas Division of Emergency Management. The webinar will take place on Thursday, November 20, from 3:00 – 4:30 EST. For more information, see our previous post about this series of webinars, or register here.

Mitigation and Mitigation Planning Webinar Approaching

There is still one week to register to attend the Mitigation and Mitigation Planning webinar, presented by Heritage Preservation and Scott Baldwin, Mitigation Specialist, Colorado Office of Emergency Management. The webinar will take place on Thursday, November 13, from 3:00 – 4:30 EST. For more information, see our previous post about this series of webinars, or register here.

Webinar Series to Cover Mitigation, Continuity Planning, and Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance

Heritage Preservation is hosting a series of webinars this fall to raise awareness about important emergency management programs offered at the state and federal levels. Each 90-minute webinar will include time for attendees to confer with the presenters during a Q&A session.

Scott Baldwin, Mitigation Specialist, Colorado Office of Emergency Management, will be presenting on Mitigation and Mitigation Planning. Topics to be discussed include hazard identification, risk assessment, and how to obtain funding and communicate the necessity of cultural resource inclusion in state and local hazard mitigation plans. The webinar will take place on Thursday, November 13, 3:00 – 4:30 EST. Register for this webinar here.

Kiran Dhanji, Section Administrator, Preparedness, Texas Division of Emergency Management, will be presenting on Disaster and Continuity Planning and Preparedness. Topics to be discussed include the link between disaster response and continuity of operations plans, planning essential functions, and the planning process as a whole. The webinar will take place on Thursday, November 20, 3:00 – 4:30 EST. Register for this webinar here.

Mark Randle, Small Business Administration Public Information Officer, will be presenting on Federal Disaster Recovery Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for Private, Nonprofit Organizations. Topics to be discussed include the SBA federal declaration process, types of loans available to organizations, eligibility, and the application and disbursement processes. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, December 3, 3:00 – 4:30 EST. Register for this webinar here.

Interested members of state cultural heritage emergency networks are welcome to register for the webinars. Our aim is to keep participation manageable to facilitate the discussion, so feel free to share registration details with colleagues at the state level, but please bear in mind that these webinars are aimed at providing information that’s most useful to network members, who will then be better equipped to help their constituents.

Thanks to the support and funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the webinars are presented free of charge. However, if you cannot attend, the webinars will be recorded and will be available as soon as possible at the State Heritage Emergency Partnership website, www.heritagepreservation.org/shep. We encourage you to share the recordings as widely as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact Katelin Lee, Emergency Programs Assistant, 202-233-0835.

Earthquake Mitigation Resources

In the aftermath of Sunday’s Napa Valley earthquake, California’s State Heritage Emergency Partnership is functioning just as it should: the state cultural agencies are communicating, collaborating, and coordinating with each other and with the state Office of Emergency Management to ascertain damage to cultural institutions and historic sites and properties. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available.

Although the magnitude 6.0 earthquake highlights California’s inescapable susceptibility to earthquakes, it’s important to remember that all 50 states and five US territories are at some risk for earthquakes. As a no-notice event (unlike a hurricane, for which there is advance notice), the best planning entails mitigation. FEMA has a number of resources to help organizations:

QuakeSmart is a FEMA National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) initiative to help businesses in at-risk earthquake communities implement earthquake mitigation actions. The QuakeSmart Toolkit (FEMA P-811) is available online.

Earthquake Safety at Work provides information on what businesses and organizations can do before, during, and after an earthquake. The activities described all fall under the preparedness umbrella.

The Directory of FEMA Earthquake Partners, updated in May 2014, provides contact information for more than 300 organizations and individuals involved in earthquake mitigation at the federal and state levels and in the non-governmental sector.

And if you’re still not convinced that earthquake mitigation works, watch the six-minute video Earthquake Mitigation Saves Lives. Hoyt Fields of Hearst Castle, the historic house museum and California State Park, and Jim Saunders, owner of a historic building in Paso Robles, CA, describe the earthquake mitigation activities they have undertaken to protect and preserve history.

Libraries and PEMA

Protection of cultural heritage items and all-hazards prepared­ness begins with a conversation between the institutions holding these items and those charged with preparedness. At the Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference, October 20 – 23, an hour-long poster session on the 22nd introduces the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) to discuss the ReadyPA.org pro­gram and hazard mitigation efforts that can assist libraries and other institutions in preparing for and recovering from disasters. Presenting are Alice Lubrecht, Director, Library Services, State Library of Pennsylvania, and Heather Davis-Jenkins, CFM Director, Bureau of Strategic Planning, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

More Support for Your State Partnership

Heritage Preservation has been awarded an off-cycle grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to provide additional training and guidance to the 23 state heritage emergency partnerships that were launched at three forums this past spring. As part of the new grant, Heritage Preservation will host four two-hour webinars in 2014 on the following topics:

How an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Operates
Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning
Mitigation and the Mitigation Planning Process
Navigating Public Assistance Following a Disaster

We would love to draw from forum emergency managers to help us present these webinars; you are the experts, not us. If your area of expertise is in one of the above topics and you’re interested in sharing your knowledge, please let Lori Foley know. We’ll even pay you an honorarium.

And we’ll keep all of you posted as planning proceeds.

FEMA Announces Release of Updated National Planning Frameworks and Frameworks Virtual Roundtables

On May 6, 2013, FEMA and its partners released three of the five National Planning Frameworks. There is one Framework for each of the five preparedness mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery. The National Planning Frameworks describe how the whole community works together to build, sustain, and deliver the core capabilities needed to achieve the National Preparedness Goal:

A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.

FEMA will be hosting a series of virtual roundtables that will provide an overview of the Frameworks. These 60-minute roundtables will introduce the Frameworks and discuss ways to apply the concepts in your community. These virtual roundtables will be held:

  • Monday, June 10, at 2 p.m. EDT
  • Friday, June 14, at 10 a.m. EDT
  • Wednesday, June 19, at 6 p.m. EDT

Advanced registration is required, and is on a first-come, first-served basis. To register for one of the roundtables, visit https://www.vjpo.org/events/fwrollout/. To read more about the Frameworks and to prepare for the roundtable, visit http://www.fema.gov/national-planning-frameworks.