Summer Journal

Volume 29, Issue 3

Full Contents Now Available!

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

CDC: How to Be Smart (About Preparedness)

Posted on September 26, 2016 by Blog Administrator

Dramatic sky in contrast with the afternoon sun on a November afternoon in Limburg, the Netherlands

Emergencies are everywhere: from floods to flu, tornadoes to terrorists… How do you prepare for all of it?

Trying to prepare for every possibility can seem impossible. But you can be smart about preparing for the emergencies and situations you are most likely to experience. Start by looking around at where you live, the people in your life, and the places you go on a day-to-day basis. Ask yourself questions, then figure out what steps you can take.

For example:

  • Are you living in tornado alley? Pick a safe place in your home to take shelter.
  • Do you work in a large office building? Know how to evacuate during a fire.
  • Do you travel often? Make a kit with prescription and over-the-counter medicines, your health insurance cards, and copies of your prescriptions.
  • Do you have children? Make a plan with them about where to meet up if you are separated.
  • Do you have a loved one with diabetes? Have a plan if they run out of insulin or if they have low blood sugar.
  • Do you have pets? Make sure your emergency plan includes them, too.

Emergencies come in all different shapes and sizes. We often hear about preparedness in the context of natural disasters and infectious disease outbreaks, but preparedness is also about getting your flu shot every year and wearing your seatbelt when you drive. Preparedness is knowing what to do if your child starts choking or how to help if your coworker has a seizure.

Preparedness also means reaching out to those around you. Do you know someone with a disability who may need extra help when evacuating during an emergency? Are there elderly people living in your neighborhood who are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat?

Of course, something unusual can always happen. (After all, who would have anticipated Snowpocalypse 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia?) But in preparing for the most likely situations, you may find yourself better prepared for the unexpected.

Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.

Read our other National Preparedness Month blogs:

Get involved and join the #CDCPrep2016 Twitter Chat on September 27, 2016 from 1 – 2 PM EST.

Yahoo! Inc. recently announced that at least 500 million users' names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, hashed passwords, and in some cases encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers were stolen from the company's network in late 2014 in what it believes was a state-sponsored attack.

The breach, which was uncovered only recently, comes just two months after Verizon announced plans to acquire Yahoo for $4.83 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close in Q1 of 2017.

In a statement provided to CNNMoney, a Verizon spokesperson said the company only learned of the breach last week. "We understand that Yahoo is conducting an active investigation of this matter, but we otherwise have limited information and understanding of the impact," the spokesperson said.

...

http://www.esecurityplanet.com/network-security/ma-due-diligence-cyber-security-and-the-massive-yahoo-data-breach.html

(TNS) - When it comes to protecting its power grid in Virginia from cyberattack, Dominion Virginia Power considers its long experience with hurricanes a helpful template.

"It's just another challenge," said Rodney Blevins, chief information officer and senior vice president for the biggest utility in the state and one of the biggest in the country.

"One of the things that's important to understand is ... we are obsessed with the reliability of the grid," said Blevins. "To the point where, in certain parts of the organization, you almost can't get people to talk about anything else."

...

http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Public-utilities-gird-up-to-battle-cyberthreats-to-grid.html

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

Positioning Your Business as an Early Mover

An “early mover” is a firm that quickly recognizes a unique opportunity or risk in the marketplace and uses that knowledge to evaluate its options either before anyone else or along with other firms that likewise recognize the significance of what’s developing. Early movers have the advantage of time, with more decision-making options before market shifts invalidate critical assumptions underlying the strategy.

Failure to attain “early mover status,” as we’ve defined it, can be fatal in today’s global business environment. Therefore, boards and executive management should ensure their companies are focused on the attributes that make for early mover status and implement an early warning capability that can make a difference in creating and protecting enterprise value.

...

http://corporatecomplianceinsights.com/positioning-business-early-mover/

WASHINGTON — Federal Emergency Management Agency officials announced funding awards for the Fiscal Year 2016 Continuing Training Grants program.

The Homeland Security National Training Program’s Continuing Training Grants will provide $11.5 million to selected recipients for the development and delivery of innovative training programs.  These programs will be national in scope and are designed to support communities to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and natural, man-made, and technological hazards.

FEMA’s administers these grants as cooperative agreements through the National Training and Education Division and are awarded to the following recipients for a number of categories:

  • Economic Recovery: The National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University receives $1,506,000.
  • Cybersecurity: The University of Texas at San Antonio, representing the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium, receives $3,015,000.
  • Hazardous Materials: Georgia Tech Research Institute receives $1 million; and The International Association of Fire Fighters also receives $1 million.
  • Rural Preparedness: The Center for Rural Development, representing the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium, receives $5 million.

This highly competitive program attracted applicants from state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, along with eligible non-profit organizations to include colleges and universities.  This year, 27 applicants competed and FEMA made five awards.

For more information on this program and to request FEMA training, please go to www.firstrespondertraining.gov.   

 ###

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

Monday, 26 September 2016 00:00

FEMA: Flood Insurance Rates Remain Unchanged

BATON ROUGE, La. – Despite the worst flooding in recent Louisiana history, flood insurance continues to be available to homeowners, renters and businesses at the pre-flood price. Widespread flood losses in Louisiana will not cause flood insurance rates to rise above scheduled annual increases, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The August flooding does not trigger remapping of flood zones, or changes in base flood elevations. That includes the remapping efforts that have been in process for several years in six of the designated parishes. Revisions of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) and Base Flood Elevations (BFE) in those parishes will continue, based on data compiled prior to the latest flood.

However, if your home or business was substantially damaged and you are rebuilding, you may need to mitigate your structures (elevate, etc.) to come into compliance with your community floodplain ordinance. It is crucial that you contact your local floodplain administrator to ensure you are in compliance and obtaining the proper building permits.

Properties located in a floodplain that have federally backed mortgages are required by law to be properly insured against known hazards, such as flooding.

Properties that were not required to have flood insurance by the mortgage lender prior to the floods may not be required to carry it when they are rebuilt. It is important to understand that even if the lender is not requiring flood insurance, it is still available to purchase.

The NFIP offers two types of coverage — building and contents. Keep in mind that your mortgage lender may only require you to purchase flood insurance for the structure. Building coverage will include the structure and attached items such as the electrical system and permanent flooring. Contents coverage will cover items such as personal belongings and furniture for an additional premium.

To find your approximate flood insurance costs and the hazard level of your area, visit www.FloodSmart.gov and enter the property address. An interactive display demonstrates the cost of flood damage by inches or feet of water that enters the house.

For an actual quote on a specific property, you should contact your insurance agent. Policies can be written by authorized insurance agencies; they are underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program administered by FEMA.

FEMA, FCC, in Coordination with State Broadcasters and Emergency Managers, test the EAS

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a mandatory nationwide test of the https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-system">Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, September 28, at 2:20 p.m. EDT to verify the delivery and broadcast, and assess the readiness for distribution of the national level test message.

The EAS test is made available to radio, television, cable, and direct broadcast satellite systems and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The message of the test will be similar to the regular monthly test message of EAS, normally heard and seen by the public:  “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.”

Significant coordination and regional testing has been conducted with the broadcast community and emergency managers in coordination and preparation for this EAS national test. The test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems is also a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure required for the distribution of a national message and determine what technological improvements need to be addressed.

Receiving preparedness tips and timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can make all the difference in knowing when to take action to be safe. FEMA and partners are working to ensure you can receive alerts and warnings quickly through several different technologies no matter where you are–at home, at school, at work, or in the community. The FEMA App, which can be downloaded on both Android and Apple devices, is one way to ensure you receive both preparedness tips and weather alerts of your choice. Download the https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app">FEMA App today.

More information on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) is available at http://www.ready.gov/alerts">www.ready.gov/alerts.

###

Background: In 2007, FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by integrating new technologies into the existing alert systems.  The new system, known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) became operational in 2011. Today, IPAWS supports over 700 local, state, tribal, and federal users through a standardized message format. IPAWS enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers, police and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm’s way, helping to save lives. For more information on FEMA’s IPAWS, go to: www.fema.gov/ipaws.  For more preparedness information, go to www.ready.gov.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – It has been more than 10 weeks since disaster assistance personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed to West Virginia in response to President Obama’s major disaster declaration of June 25, 2016. The president’s signature on the decree made federal assistance available to eligible survivors of the June 22-29 severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in 12 counties.

Although the deadline for registering for individual financial assistance from FEMA has passed, the recovery continues and FEMA disaster recovery specialists remain on the scene. Survivors of the June storms and flooding, who have registered for FEMA assistance, still have access to the agency for information about temporary housing, help with insurance claims, questions about filing an appeal, and other disaster services and resources.

Registered individuals have access to FEMA’s toll-free Helpline, seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT. Call 800-621-3362 (TTY users should call 800-462-7585). Multilingual operators are available.

Applicants receiving temporary rental assistance and who have a need for continuing housing assistance must apply to FEMA for approval. FEMA will evaluate the information to determine if the applicant qualifies for ongoing federal rental assistance, based on financial need. Contact the FEMA Helpline for information on how to apply.

FEMA urges registered individuals to “keep in touch” and notify FEMA of address or phone number changes, initiate appeals or reschedule inspection appointments. It is important to keep all contact information current to avoid delays in getting assistance.  

As of the Sept. 7 deadline, 8,974 West Virginia homeowners and renters have applied to FEMA for disaster assistance. To date more than $33.3 million in individual housing assistance grants and nearly $6.4 million in other needs assistance have been approved for residents of the 12 designated counties: Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers and Webster.

Disaster assistance for individuals may include grants to help homeowners and renters with temporary housing and essential home repairs. Other needs assistance provides funding for repair or replacement of furnishings and other personal property, transportation and other disaster-related needs such as transportation and childcare. Disaster assistance grants are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicare and other federal and state programs. Grants do not have to be repaid to the federal government.

Since the June 25 disaster declaration, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), one of FEMA’s partners in disaster recovery, has approved 735 low-interest disaster loans totaling nearly $47.7 million. SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners and renters who have applied for FEMA assistance, as well as to businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations. SBA disaster loans may cover the cost of repairing, rebuilding or replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property.

For more information about SBA loans, call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. (TTY users should call 800-877-8339). Individuals and businesses may also email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster

The State’s and FEMA’s 15 area Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) served 9,531 visitors between June 28 and Aug. 31, while FEMA-contracted housing inspectors have completed more than 7,200 inspections of disaster-damaged properties to verify damage.

Other help available to individuals:

  • Free disaster legal assistance is available to storm survivors. This service offers counseling on insurance claims, landlord-tenant issues, home-repair contracts, and the replacement of lost or damaged legal documents and other legal matters. Call the toll-free hotline 877-331-4259.
  • If you or someone you know is struggling with post-disaster stress, you are not alone. Help is as near as your phone. Call the Help for West Virginia Helpline at 844-435-7498. In addition, you can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.
  • Contact West Virginia 211 ( for help finding food, childcare, crisis counseling, and many other resources available in your community.
  • West Virginians seeking information about disaster-related services and unmet needs, as well as volunteering and donating, should visit the state’s Help for West Virginia Disaster website wvflood.com.
  • Individuals who wish to help with flood response and recovery may sign up with West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) at www.volunteerwv.org or wvvoad.org.
  • Additional information on West Virginia’s disaster recovery can be found by calling the FEMA Helpline 800-621-3362 or visiting: www.DisasterAssistance.gov; the flood pages at www.WVflood.com; fema.gov/disaster/4273; twitter.com/femaregion3; and fema.gov/blog.

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is accepting applications for individuals to serve on the new Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWs, subcommittee of the National Advisory Council (NAC).

As mandated in the IPAWs Modernization Act of 2015, the subcommittee will develop and submit recommendations for an improved integrated public alert and warning system to the NAC. The subcommittee will consider common alerting and warning protocols, standards, terminology, and operating procedures to ensure standards and operating procedures exist for a national public alert warning system.

Currently IPAWS is a modernization and integration of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure. Federal, state, local, tribal and territorial alerting authorities use IPAWS as a way to alert and warn the public about serious emergencies using the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and other public alerting systems from a single interface. 

The IPAWS subcommittee will be comprised of federal officials from FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Commerce and the National Council on Disability, in line with Congressional mandated membership guidelines.

The FEMA Administrator and the NAC will appoint members from applicants representing the following disciplines to ensure a variety of expert perspectives are reflected in the subcommittee:

  • Local, state and tribal government officials;
  • Emergency managers and first responders;
  • Vendors, developers and manufacturers of communications systems;
  • Broadcasting, cable or satellite industry officials;
  • National organizations representing either people with disabilities, functional needs, the elderly, or limited English proficiency; and
  • Consumer privacy advocates.

Subcommittee appointment terms will begin in 2017 and end upon the termination of the IPAWS Subcommittee in April 2019.  The IPAWS Subcommittee will meet approximately four times a year, twice in person and twice via webinar.

Individuals interested in serving on the NAC’s IPAWS Subcommittee are invited to apply for appointment by submitting a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to the Office of the National Advisory Council, by fax, email, or mail. Letters of recommendation may also be provided, but are not required. Applications and/or nominations must also include the following information: the applicant’s full name, home and business phone numbers, preferred e-mail address, home and business mailing addresses, current position title and organization, and the discipline area of interest (i.e., emergency management). Applications will be accepted until October 6, 2016.

Members selected for the council serve without compensation from the federal government.  However, consistent with the charter, members receive travel reimbursement and per diem, under applicable federal travel regulations. Registered lobbyists, current FEMA employees, Disaster Assistance Employees, Reservists, FEMA contractors, and potential FEMA contractors will not be considered for subcommittee membership.

For more information on the NAC, IPAWS Subcommittee and application procedures visit:  www.fema.gov/national-advisory-council.

###

Background: In 2007, FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by integrating new technologies into the existing alert systems.  The new system, known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) became operational in 2011. Today, IPAWS supports over 700 local, state, tribal, and federal users through a standardized message format. IPAWS enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers, police and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm’s way, helping to save lives. For more information on FEMA’s IPAWS, go to: www.fema.gov/ipaws.  For more preparedness information, go to www.ready.gov.

Background: The NAC consists of up to 35 members, all of whom are experts and leaders in their respective fields. The members of the NAC are appointed by the FEMA Administrator and are composed of federal, state, tribal, local, and private-sector leaders and subject matter experts in law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, hospital, public works, emergency management, state and local governments, public health, emergency response, standard settings and accrediting organizations, representatives of individuals with disabilities, infrastructure protection, cyber security, communications, and homeland security communities.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

BATON ROUGE, La. — If your house flooded and you did not have flood insurance, you may have received some federal financial assistance for the August flooding. But if your home is in a floodplain and you hold a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender, you may be required to buy flood insurance.

This requirement applies when a building has been damaged and is located in an area that is at high risk of flooding. These high-risk areas are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs).

In high-risk areas, there is at least a one in four chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. You may be restricted to only rental assistance in a future disaster unless you buy flood insurance and keep the policy in effect.

A flood-insurance policy protects you financially even when a presidential disaster is not declared or if you live in a parish that was not designated for federal assistance.

Once you receive federal financial assistance, you must keep flood insurance coverage at your address even if the damaged building is replaced by a new one. If you sell your home, you are required to inform the new owners that they must maintain flood insurance coverage on the building. Often, an existing flood-insurance policy can be transferred to a new owner with no lapse in coverage.

You may receive a Certificate of Flood Insurance for a Group Policy as a part of your federal Individuals and Households Assistance program (IHP) grant. This policy provides minimal coverage on the home equal to the maximum IHP grant currently available. For the Louisiana August 2016 floods, the required premium provides coverage of $33,000.

  • Group Policies have a term of three years, after which you will be required to purchase and maintain a Standard Flood Insurance Policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until you are no longer the homeowner or renter at that location. In order to avoid any lapse in coverage, it is important to apply for your new coverage at least 30 days before the expiration of the Group Policy.
  • You may cancel your participation in the Group Policy at any time during its policy term, provided that you have purchased your own NFIP flood insurance coverage.

 If you are a renter and receive federal financial assistance, flood-insurance coverage must be maintained on the contents for as long as you live at the flood-damaged rental property. The requirement for flood insurance is lifted once you move from the building.

But, because federal law mandates the purchase of flood insurance as a condition of disaster funding, an applicant who does not comply with the flood insurance obligation may become mostly ineligible for future disaster assistance. It’s that important.

If you do not live in a flood zone but your home was flooded, you do not have to maintain flood insurance. Even without the legal requirement, it is a wise decision to purchase flood insurance.

Even though flood insurance isn't federally required in moderate- to low-risk areas, homeowners and businesses that have mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders may be required to purchase flood coverage by the mortgage holder. Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods.

In fact, people outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file more than 20 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program flood-insurance claims and receive one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding. When it's available, disaster assistance is typically a loan you must repay with interest.

With all that you are going through, don’t let this vital coverage slip through the cracks. Protect yourself and your family from future financial loss by purchasing and maintaining flood insurance coverage.

For more information about the NFIP and flood insurance, call 800-427-4661 or contact your insurance company or agent.