Tips from FEMA

🔶🔶 Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. It is the most common natural disaster in the U.S. Failing to evacuate flooded areas, entering flood waters, or remaining after a flood has passed can result in injury or death. It is important that you take flooding seriously and know the facts.  To learn more about how to prepare yourself and your family for flooding follow this link.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to reduce harm and protect lives by helping communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies.  Floods, big or small, can be devastating. Click here to learn what you can do to stay safe and protect your health from the dangers of flooding. 

🔶🔶 Click here for the latest map of the FEMA Regions, annotated with the names of the FEMA Voluntary Organization Liaisons in each region.

🔶🔶 For the latest FEMA VAL updates and VAC Snapshot Reports (distributed every Friday) go to VOISE Dashboard.  Go to the FEMA VAL Donations Unit Dashboard for donation offers and needs. You can sign up for FEMA reminders and operational updates by sending an email to [email protected]. The VOISE Partner Call will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 2 PM ET.

🔶🔶 Follow-up: Reforming FEMA’s Individual Assistance.  The presentation slide deck of the training that was held recently is linked here for your reference. Feel free to share these with others. Also, please see the VAL Snapshot Report #288, which contains valuable links on the first page to more information around the regulatory changes.  Here is a one-page description of some of the major changes.  The Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) held a webinar recently to address the disaster recovery reforms recently announced by FEMA. A recording of the webinar, as well as slides, are now available.

🔶🔶Learn how you can better prepare yourself and your community through articles, Data Digests, and other news curated by FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD).

🔶🔶 A new online educational game designed to teach high school students about decision making during disasters is now available!  Disaster Mind challenges and encourages participants to make critical decisions in the face of three simulated disaster scenarios: a flood, a wildfire and a blizzard.  Complicating their quest, a mysterious guide creates challenges for the participants during game play.  See also the  supporting educational materials.

🔶🔶 FEMA produces hazard information sheets, which are short, two-page summaries of research-based guidance and advice for actions you should take to prepare for, protect against and recover from specific disasters or hazards.  As hurricane season approaches, take time to understand and prepare for how a hurricane could affect you by downloading FEMA’s Hurricane Hazard Information Sheet. Because hurricanes and other weather related events can result in power outages, you should also prepare yourself and your family for the loss of power by downloading FEMA’s Power Outage Hazard Information Sheet.

🔶🔶 The Department of Homeland Security has unique career opportunities to help secure our borders, airports, seaports, and waterways; research and develop the latest security technologies; respond to natural disasters or terrorists’ assaults; and analyze intelligence reports. Learn more at Homeland Security Careers | Homeland Security (dhs.gov).

🔶🔶 Need to contact a government agency?  The A-Z list provides the contact information for federal agencies, departments, and offices in one convenient location so you can quickly find:

  • Websites
  • Emails
  • Phone numbers
  • Mailing addresses

Find Contact Information for Federal Agencies

🔶🔶 Read the latest FEMA Bulletin.

🔶🔶FEMA received a record-setting number of requests for Resilience Funding in 2023 – totaling $8 billion.  Read more.

🔶🔶 FEMA and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers (RCI) have created the Disaster Preparedness Guide for Caregivers to help them navigate unique challenges that may arise during disasters. While caregiving can be overwhelming at times, taking three essential steps—assessing needs, engaging a support network, and creating a plan—can help caregivers feel more prepared and in control when disaster strikes.  The Disaster Preparedness Guide for Caregivers includes tailored information and resources for three main caregiver audiences: those who can involve their care recipient in their planning, those who can engage a support network to aid planning, and solo caregivers. It provides key considerations caregivers can use to identify their care recipient’s needs and how they may change during a disaster.

🔶🔶 The Association of State Floodplain Managers’ flood mitigation resource library continues to work to bring flood mitigation to the masses with the addition of 22 things property owners can do to reduce flood risk, just in time for many state severe weather awareness campaigns. The new strategies range from relatively simple projects, like landscaping and plumbing improvements, to more complex engineering options, such as constructing an earthen levee or installing underground water tanks.  As you work with home and business owners looking to make informed decisions around the action they can take this year to lower their risk of flooding, let them know about the Reduce Flood Risk website. Developed by ASFPM with financial support from FEMA, this interactive website demystifies flood mitigation and empowers people to protect themselves and their assets.  To learn more follow this link.

🔶🔶 John A. Miller, FEMA Region 2 Mitigation Liaison, has written an article, “Worried About Extreme Weather? – You Are Not Alone”.  He writes, “According to a recently released survey by LendingTree of nearly 2,000 consumers, about half are fearful of climate change-related hazards effects on their homes, with severe storms making up a quarter of the hazards of worry. Worry is not only based in personal safety and physical impacts. A quarter of respondents were concerned about reduced property value in the next ten years, while seven in ten think the increasing risk will make insurance more expensive (20% say they have already experienced in increase), with more than a third worried they will be dropped by their home insurer.”  READ FULL ARTICLE

🔶🔶 FEMA and the National Endowment of the Arts proudly announces the release of the Fact Sheet on Art and Culture: Helping People Before, During, and After DisastersThis fact sheet adds to ongoing conversations about how individual artists and the art community at-large can lend their vision and skills to build communities more resilient to disasters which we covered on FEMA and NEA’s Webinar on Disaster Resources for Artists and Art and Cultural Institutions (youtube.com) Feel free to also check out Inspiration Book: Arts and Experiential Learning (fema.gov) and Guide to Expanding Mitigation: Making the Connection with Arts and Culture (fema.gov).

🔶🔶 National Emergency Management Basic Academy is providing Training Opportunity 1853 at the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC, over 5 weeks in August, September, and October, 2024. The National Emergency Management Basic Academy is designed for individuals pursuing a career in emergency management and provides a foundational education in emergency management knowledge, skills, and abilities.

🔶🔶 A study, conducted by Dr. Josh DeVincenzo, investigates how climate change education can meet the learning needs of U.S. emergency management (EM) professionals. The study focuses on understanding EM’s experiences and learning processes regarding climate change impacts by leveraging the expertise of certified emergency management professionals as key informants.  The findings reveal an increasing recognition among U.S. emergency managers of the complex impacts of climate change on their roles. They expressed a preference for localized climate information considering cognitive, social, political, and historical dimensions, and emphasized practical, long-term thinking-oriented climate training. The study identified strong motivation, preparation for future learning, and a sense of purpose among emergency managers, suggesting the potential integration of climate change information into existing emergency management frameworks. Emergency managers stressed the need to refine roles and foster collaboration across sectors to address climate change effectively, acknowledging resource limitations.  Despite challenges, the study highlighted the potential for climate literacy to transcend personal, professional, and sectoral boundaries, providing insights for shaping future training programs and guiding researchers and practitioners to engage with the emergency management community.  Read the full research study.

🔶🔶The Climate Risk and Resilience Portal (ClimRR) is a free, national online source for sophisticated climate data down to the neighborhood level.  ClimRR provides easy access to climate data to integrate future conditions into Hazard Mitigation Plans, land use plans, infrastructure design, and FEMA’sResilience Analysis and Planning Tool (RAPT).  ClimRR data is available for changing hazards: extreme temperatures (hot and cold), cooling and heating degree days, heat index, wind, fire weather index, precipitation/no precipitation under two carbon emission scenarios. The updated portal lets users visualize and analyze future climate hazards combined with local demographic and infrastructure data. Enhanced features include:

  • New Consolidated Local Reports Assessing Future Climate Hazards and Community Impacts
  • New Maps, Charts & Visualizations
  • Improved Educational Features to Interpret Climate Hazard Data Points 

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

Billion Dollar Disaster map

The U.S. has sustained 360 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2023). The total cost of these 360 events exceeds $2.570 trillion.

Read Full Article

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SHIELDS READY CAMPAIGN

CISA’s Shields Ready campaign is about making resilience during incidents a reality by taking action before incidents occur. As a companion to CISA’s Shields Up initiative, Shields Ready drives action at the intersection of critical infrastructure resilience and national preparedness. By taking steps in advance of an incident, organizations, individuals, and communities are better positioned to quickly adjust their posture for heightened risk conditions, in turn helping to prevent incidents, to reduce impact, and get things back to normal—or better—as quickly as possible. Being part of the resilience journey makes for more resilient people, organizations, and communities.

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Keeping vital records safe can make disaster recovery easier – From the IRS

Natural disasters can strike without warning. Sometimes even the most diligent taxpayers are left without the important personal and financial records they need. People may need documentation for tax purposes, federal or state assistance programs or insurance claims.

Here are some steps that can help them reconstruct their important records.

Tax records

  • Taxpayers can get free federal tax return transcripts immediately using Get Transcript on IRS.gov.
  • They can also order transcripts by calling 800-908-9946 and following the prompts.
  • People who use a tax professional to file taxes should keep their contact information in a safe place.

Financial statements
Financial statements from credit card companies or banks are usually available online. People can also contact their bank to get paper copies of statements.

Property records

  • Homeownersmay be able to contact the title company, escrow company or bank that handled the purchase of their home or other property to get documents related to their home.
  • Many property records are available online from tax assessors or other government agencies. Check local government websites for information.
  • Taxpayers who made home improvements can get in touch with the contractors who did the work and ask for statements to verify the work and cost. They can also get written descriptions from friends and relatives who saw the house before and after any improvements.
  • For inherited property, taxpayers can check court records for probate values. If a trust or estate existed, taxpayers can contact the attorney who handled the trust.
  • Insurance companies often keep records related to property maintained in a home. Taxpayers should keep their property insurance contacts handy.
  • Car owners can research the current fair-market value of most vehicles via resources available online and at most libraries. These include Kelley’s Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association and Edmunds.

More information:
Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts
Publication 584, Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook
Publication 584-B, Business Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook
Publication 976, Disaster Relief
Small Business Administration
DisasterAssistance.gov

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Stay Connected with FEMA Disaster Operations

Click here for current FEMA disaster information.

Has Your FEMA Claim Been Denied

Learn more about FEMA Individual Assistance.

Doing Business with FEMA | FEMA.gov – 

Learn about the four-step process your organization can follow to do business with FEMA, in accordance with the Robert T. Stafford Act.

SBA Office of Disaster Assistance

The Office of Disaster Assistance’s mission is to provide low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery & equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

Resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration:
    Disaster Assistance Loans For Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations
    Disaster Assistance Loans for Homeowners and Renters
    What Houses of Worship Need to Know About the FEMA Disaster Aid Process

Various Tips and Tools from FEMA

++    Tools to Recover | FEMA.gov – FEMA has collected frequently used tools and information to help you communicate and get started with the recovery process.

++ Flood Safety Tool Kit – Flooding is the most common and costly disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere it rains. At any given time, floodwaters can cause millions of dollars in damage. This toolkit offers important information to prepare you for floods, prevent injury, loss of property, and even loss of life.

++    Frequently Asked Questions About Disasters – Get answers to frequently asked questions about emergency shelters, disaster assistance, flood insurance and more.

++    Disaster Multimedia Toolkit | FEMA.gov – The resources on this page are ideal for external partners and media looking for disaster recovery content to share on social media during and after a disaster, including: social graphics, flyers and announcer scripts, accessible videos and animations in multiple languages.

++    Disaster Text Messaging Resource Kit – Communication can be limited following a disaster. This resource kit offers text messaging information you can share with survivors when only text messaging is available in a service area.

++   FEMA in Your Language | FEMA.gov – Disaster survivors can find translated information about disaster assistance programs, emergency preparedness, response and recovery activities, and flood insurance. The information comes in various formats and is available for sharing and downloading. Additional resources will be added periodically, so please visit often.

++    Save Your Family Treasures | FEMA.gov – FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution co-sponsor the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a partnership of more than 60 national service organizations and federal agencies created to protect cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies.

++    CDC colleagues have great safety material in multiple languages: Health and Safety Concerns for All Disasters|Natural Disasters and Severe Weather (cdc.gov)

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program:

How to Start Filing Your Claim   

How to File a Flood Insurance Claim English | Spanish 
Starting Your Recovery: FEMA’s Flood Insurance Claims Process English | Spanish 
Wind vs. Water Damage English | Spanish

Below are resources available for your use. All resources may be shared with or distributed to other partners in insurance, public safety, emergency management, media and elsewhere.

Quick Resources

Read More

To help people better understand the National Flood Insurance Program’s new methodology, FEMA published two videos in a series explaining rating variables and how they affect premiums. The first of these new videosRisk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action: Rating Variables (Part 2) complements Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action: Rating Variables (Part 1). The new video describes how a structure’s location and the way it is built impact a policyholder’s premium. It also explains why certain building decisions can affect the final rate determination. The other new video details the nuances of building and content coverage.

Whether you’re a renter or a property owner, take a moment to consider adding flood insurance to your financial safety net. Bottom line: basic home and renters policies don’t cover flood repairs, but you can fill that protection gap. Not sure if you have flood risk? Take this quiz.

Home insurance prices are at an all-time high in many parts of the US today, but protecting your assets is still so important. If you’re not in a high flood risk area, adding that protection won’t be a budget buster. If you have an NFIP policy but are considering dropping it, make an informed decision before you do. The fact is – all states have some flood risk.

Flood insurance details:

  • You can add flood coverage through a private flood insurer or the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • There will be a waiting period from the date you buy it to the date it kicks in. (30 days for an NFIP policy).
  • Flood insurance can be very affordable, depending on your location.
  • Use this link to learn about your area’s flood risk, contact an insurance agent or call the NFIP at 877-336-2627.
  • If you have a mortgage and your home is in a Special Hazard Flood Zone, your lender will require flood insurance.
  • An NFIP policy provides $250,000 max to repair flood damage to your home.
  • An NFIP policy provides $100,000 max for belongings but not automatically. You have to ask for and pay for this additional coverage.
  • An NFIP policy will NOT cover temporary rent if your home is uninhabitable after a flood. Most private flood policies cover that expense.

Contact your insurance agent or company and ask:

  • How much will it cost to insure my home and belongings for flood damage?
  • Can you help me compare the cost, coverages, and options in an NFIP versus adding coverage to my existing policy through a “flood endorsement” or private flood insurer?
  • Would a flood rider or endorsement give me more than $250,000 in coverage? Will it cover temporary rent?

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) has announced that Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys, as Chair of the Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force (the Task Force), is seeking public input on the accessibility and affordability of flood insurance throughout the Commonwealth. The comment period will close on February 5, 2024.  The Task Force will review and analyze existing statutes, procedures, practices, processes, and rules relating to the administration of flood insurance in Pennsylvania, and recommend potential programs that provide premium discounts, programs that incentivize local governments to support flood mitigation efforts, and how to increase the number of people who purchase flood insurance through the national flood insurance program or the private flood insurance marketplace. It was established by Act 22 of 2023.  Public comment on flood insurance may be emailed to [email protected], or comments may be mailed to PID’s Director of Policy and Planning, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, 1326 Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, PA 17120. Comments are requested by February 5.

Pennsylvanians impacted by flooding should visit PID’s website for resources that can help guide property owners through filing insurance claims, and tips to avoid repair scams. More information on the NFIP and private flood insurance is available on the Insurance Department’s one-stop Flood Insurance page, and more information on guidance following a severe weather event can be found on the Disaster Recovery resource page.

Consumers with questions or wishing to file a complaint can contact PID’s Consumer Services Bureau by visiting its webpage, or by calling 1-877-881-6388.

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FEMA has collected frequently used tools and information to help you communicate and get started with the recovery process. Go to https://www.fema.gov/disaster/recover.

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Short Videos:

Key Infographics:

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