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FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Daily Digest Bulletin

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
Post-Disaster Code Enforcement Achieved Through Grassroots Disaster Response Teams

On August 16th, 2016 the Louisiana Floodplain Management Association (LFMA) Disaster Response Team (DRT) embarked on their first team mission to assist communities affected by an unnamed storm, commonly referred to as the “Great Flood of 2016.” The storm event produced historic and widespread flooding throughout 22 parishes and affected over 150,000 homes. Despite having formed as an official committee of LFMA one month prior, the resourceful and dedicated team was able to band together to assist five jurisdictions on the fringes of the Baton Rouge metropolitan area.


Under the leadership of LFMA DRT Coordinator, Shandy Heil, CFM, the team of 15 volunteers, comprised of floodplain managers, building code officials, and mitigation professionals were able to assist communities with flood-damage reconnaissance of the entire jurisdictional boundaries; collect high-water mark data that was put into GIS maps to capture the historic flood depths; provide flood recovery education to property owners; and perform Substantial Damage screenings. Substantial Damage assessments in E. Feliciana Parish solely by DRT volunteer/former retiree, Russ Hicks, CFM, with assistance from the DRT Coordinator. It is notable to report that Hicks came out of retirement to fill the role of Floodplain Manager for his community to ensure Substantial Damage Estimator (SDE) determinations were handled and to aid the residents of his community during the recovery process.


While FEMA PTS contractor support was provided to many of the larger jurisdictions affected by the August 2016 flood, utilization of the LFMA DRT was essential for the smaller communities needing assistance. In two cases, where there were several thousand affected structures within the jurisdiction needing SDE assessments, the DRT’s flood damage reconnaissance and high-water mark data collection was still used by the local Floodplain Administrators to communicate the actual conditions in the days following the flood event and provide this data to the FEMA PTS contractors, who were not able to arrive until three to four weeks after the flooding. This ability to be nimble and respond immediately after waters receded proved to be the DRT’s greatest strength; capturing the most accurate flood inundation levels as possible and helping communities expedite recovery in the days and weeks following the flood event.


Bill Smith, CFM, P.E., of the Oklahoma Floodplain Management Association (OFMA) DRT, has been leading the way for the DRT concept since 2008, proving that dedicated volunteers are willing and capable of performing the post-disaster code enforcement requirements for affected communities. Smith reports that since many of the communities prone to flood are small, most of the SDE field work and evaluations are fully taken care of by the State Association DRT, rarely requiring assistance from FEMA and preventing duplication of efforts when FEMA assistance is needed. It is important to note that DRT coordination with the State Emergency Operations Center and FEMA region is a must when forming a DRT and is still critical during disaster events to ensure clear communication and proper documentation is achieved.


Although the LFMA and OFMA DRTs differ somewhat in the ancillary services they provide, their post-disaster code enforcement operations are the same. This is done in an effort to standardize training and certification requirements across state boundaries in hopes of satisfying a FEMA Region VI initiative to promote increased disaster response capabilities throughout the region; creating an alliance for disaster response and recovery assistance between Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and New Mexico.


This vision of interstate mutual aid assistance through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is now becoming a reality for floodplain administrators and building code professionals after the revision of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) of 2018. DRRA Section 1206, Eligibility for Code Implementation and Enforcement amendment allows building code enforcement and floodplain management (including substantial damage determinations) to be eligible under Stafford Act. This overturns the 1998 policy prohibiting reimbursement of mutual aid assistance through EMAC under Cat. B of Public Assistance.


However, in order for these DRT capabilities to realized, planning and preparation during blue sky operations must be done in advance before a disaster strikes. State chapters of AFPM, ICC, AIA and other member organizations with building safety, code, and floodplain management personnel should begin by creating an inventory, or Mission Ready Package (MRP), of the trained and certified professionals capable of performing Substantial Damage Estimates and building safety assessments. FEMA’s National Integration Center (NIC) is in the process of creating resource typing within the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to include building professional in the disaster response arena to make this process easier for a professional group that has not been traditionally viewed as disaster responders.


For more information about DRT formation or mutual aid deployment through EMAC, please contact Shandy Heil, Stantec, at Bill Smith can be reached at regarding questions about the OFMA DRT.


LFMA DRT volunteers collect high-water mark measurements on a flooded house, during the August 2016 flood.                       The LFMA DRT gathers around the requesting FPM


Left: LFMA DRT volunteers collect high-water mark measurements on a flooded house, during the August 2016 flood.


Right: The LFMA DRT gathers around the requesting FPM, as she points out areas of concern that need flood damage reconnaissance and high-water mark data collection.


Bill Smith and the OFMA DRT

Bill Smith and the OFMA DRT


Check out FEMA’s SDE Tool for yourself:            

For more information and tips on preparing yourself, family and friends for potential disasters, visit

For more information about FEMA Building Science Branch, visit

FEMA Bulletin Week of June 17, 2019
Seal of the Department of Homeland Security


June 17, 2019

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Reminders

June 21

Deadline to submit feedback for the NIMS Training Program Refresh

June 30

Deadline to apply for the Master Public Information Officer Program

FEMA Hosts 2019 Hurricane and Wildfire Season Video Teleconference

On June 17, Acting Administrator Pete Gaynor hosted the annual hurricane and wildfire video teleconference for new state, tribal and territorial emergency managers.


The video teleconference is an annual opportunity to test communications capabilities used in real-world disaster events with emergency management partners around the country.


Participants discussed the National Hurricane Center 2019 hurricane season outlook and National Interagency Fire Center provided the 2019 wildfire season outlook.


Visit for resources available for hurricane and wildfire preparation. 

FEMA Releases PrepTalk: “Visual + Effective Communication for Emergency Information”

FEMA and its emergency management partners released Claudine Jaenichen’s “Visual + Effective Communication for Emergency Information” today. In her PrepTalk, Jaenichen explores the cognitive biases that impede our ability to make the right decision when confronted with an emergency and shares her evacuation maps that will help more people recall safe routes during an evacuation.


Professor Jaenichen is an information designer specializing in the relationship between design and cognition. She serves on the Board of Governors for the Communication Research Institute and on the Executive Board for the Design Network for Emergency Management.


Her PrepTalk video and additional resources are available at on the website. Additional PrepTalks from the April 2019 symposium in Santa Rosa, Calif. will be released in the coming months.


PrepTalks are a partnership between FEMA, the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Homeland Security Consortium, and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

FEMA Hosts Webinars Highlighting Course Changes

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) will host a webinar series highlighting the changes in three courses on the Incident Command System All-Hazards Position Specific Curriculum.  The webinars will provide instructor requirements and future course releases. All times are Eastern and each webinar has the same content:


•  Tuesday, June 25 – 11 a.m.

•  Tuesday, June 25 – 3 p.m.

•  Thursday, June 27 – 11 a.m.

•  Thursday, June 27 – 2 p.m.


The curriculum changes will apply to:

•  E/L0962 – Planning Section Chief

•  E/L0964 – Situation Unit Leader

•  E/L0965 – Resources Unit Leader


How to Participate:


•  Register on the Adobe Connect platform at NIMS ICS Training Forum

•  Please sign in as a guest using the following format:

Last Name, First Name, ST (example: Patrick, Robert, NJ)

•  FEMA Teleconference: 800-320-4330, PIN 884976#


If you successfully completed a previous version of the courses, there is no FEMA requirement to take the revised version. However, because the revised courses contain new information based on the 2017 revised National Incident Management System Document, you may find it informative to review the new version.

Reminders and Upcoming Deadlines


FEMA Holds Webinar for Recipients of Disaster Assistance Grants


The FEMA “New Recipients of Disaster Grants Guide” outlines the critical statutory, policy, and procedural requirements for Recipients of FEMA disaster assistance grants. The scope of the guide includes pre-disaster preparations and post-disaster actions and is tailored to an audience of current (or prospective) recipients of federal disaster grant funding. The information is meant to supplement available programmatic guidance and assist new recipients with limited experience in navigating the FEMA disaster grant process.


Webinar: 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 19

•  Adobe Connect Webinar

•  Closed Captioning Link

•  FEMA Teleconference: 1-800-320-4330; PIN 859916#



FEMA Seeks Feedback on the National Response Framework


The “National Response Framework and “Emergency Support Function (ESF) #14 – Cross-Sector Business and Infrastructure Annex” draft documents are now available for public comment. Feedback and recommendations will help ensure the final versions of the documents are effective resources for emergency managers across the nation.


For more information on the updates and to download the drafts, visit the National Planning Frameworks page on the FEMA website. Comments, input, and recommendations should be submitted using the comment matrix on the website by June 28.



FEMA Seeks Public Comment for New Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program


FEMA is seeking comments on the development and implementation of Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) Section 1234: National Public Infrastructure Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.  Comments will be accepted until July 15, on FEMA IdealScale or by email at 


This month, FEMA will host a webinar series to provide an overview of the different topic areas that are important for the development of the BRIC program.


For detailed information and a description of each webinar, visit the FEMA website.  


Webinar: Funding & Resource Management and Benefit-Cost Analysis

2 to 4 p.m. EDT, Thursday June 20.


Webinar: Building Codes and Enforcement and Capacity and Capability

2 to 4 p.m. EDT, Tuesday June 25.



How to Participate:


For more information on DRRA, visit the FEMA website.



June 21 Deadline for NIMS Training Program Refresh Feedback


The revised “National Incident Management System” introduces training focus areas based on incident personnel’s position and responsibility. The focus areas include the Incident Command System, Joint Information System, Emergency Operation Center, and the Multiagency Coordination Group. 


FEMA is hosting a series of 60-minute engagement webinars to highlight proposed changes to NIMS and answer participant questions about submitting feedback. All webinars are open to the whole community.


To review the draft of the updated NIMS Training Program and for additional webinar information, visit the FEMA website. To provide comments on the draft, complete the feedback form and submit it to by June 21.


FEMA Blog: 10 Items you’ll Need for your Pets Hurricane Emergency Kit


The Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons began this month.  While building your own preparedness kit, read the FEMA blog entry on what items you need for the furriest member of your family.


One essential item to include in your pets preparedness kit is a picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated this will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you.


For more information on pet and animal preparedness, including how to care for large animals, please visit