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.

Continue reading

Advertisement

USGS Updates Earthquake Hazard Maps

The U.S. Geological Survey released their updated National Seismic Hazard Maps, showing 42 of the lower 48 states have a reasonable chance of facing damage from ground shaking in the next 50 years. Last updated 6 years ago, these new maps were developed with new ground motion models and compare changes between the 2008 maps and the 2014 ones.

The highest risk is on the west coast, intermountain west, and several clusters in the central and eastern United States. That really hasn’t changed since the 2008 map; instead, the potential severity and strength of earthquakes was upgraded for those areas based on new data. For example, risk was upgraded in the eastern United States and the New Madrid Zone based in part on recent earthquakes there.

The Pacific Northwest’s risk was upgraded due to similarities between its seismic hazards and those of Japan and Chile, both of which experienced very strong earthquakes in the past several years. New faults recently discovered in parts of California lead to increased hazard estimates there.

The report is essential for anyone involved in risk analysis, earthquake resistant construction and engineering, building codes, or emergency preparedness planning.

Collaborative Effort to Facilitate Disaster Planning at Maine Cultural Organizations

Cultural organizations around the state will soon have the opportunity to have trained facilitators help manage the process of creating a disaster plan for their institutions, thanks to a recent grant awarded to the Maine State Museum from Jane’s Trust. The project will include two rounds of facilitated planning, from September –December and again from February–May.

The Maine State Museum has long recognized that disaster planning is a bit of administrative housekeeping that cultural organizations all too frequently put off until disaster strikes, and a year ago it took the lead in helping address this situation by forming the Cultural Emergency Resource Coalition (CERC: Maine). CERC is a collaborative effort with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and several cultural agencies and conservators, including the Maine State Library, the Maine State Archives, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and the association Maine Archives and Museums. In its first year CERC focused on surveying Maine’s cultural community to evaluate the state of disaster planning, developing three levels of disaster planning benchmarks and resources to help streamline disaster planning for institutions of various sizes and complexity, and sponsoring disaster planning workshops.

With the Pejepscot Historical Society agreeing to act as a beta site, CERC is developing a facilitation guide that outlines, meeting by meeting, the process for a cultural organization to develop a solid disaster plan that meets the identified benchmarks. CERC is also working with FEMA to schedule a FEMA Corps team in Maine. After receiving training in using the guide and in issues facing cultural organizations, the team will go into the field and work directly with several of Maine’s libraries, museums, town offices, archives and other collecting institutions, helping them develop disaster plans.

Organizations interested in participating in the program may apply online through the CERC website (under the Write Your Own Disaster Plan tab). Participants will be selected to represent a broad range of institutional sizes, geographical locations, collections types, and building construction. For more information about this project, visit the CERC website or contact Ellen Dyer, CERC: Maine Coordinator, at CERC.Maine@gmail.com or (207) 287-6696.