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FEMA Bulletin Week of May 18, 2020

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Week of May 18, 2020

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In this Edition:

Important Dates & Reminders

May 29

Application period ends for FP&S grants.

June 17

Feedback period for NIMS updates ends at 5 p.m.

June 26

Application period ends for High Hazard Potential Dam Grant.

FEMA Podcast Highlights the 40th Anniversary of Mount St. Helens Eruption

Yesterday, FEMA released the podcast “40th Anniversary of the Mount St. Helens Eruption.” It was 40 years ago that Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state erupted.


Ash and steam poured out and avalanches of snow and ice thundered down the mountain’s sides for two months and then, on May 18, 1980, the volcano blew its top. The huge blast of rock, ash and hot gases devastated an area of about 230 square miles. Fifty-seven people were killed, many others were injured and many buildings were destroyed. 


Residents in many states were forced to stay indoors for several weeks after the eruption. Those who did venture outside wore masks to protect themselves from the ash.


In this episode of the podcast, FEMA speaks with current and former FEMA staff who experienced the eruption and subsequent ash that blew east into Spokane and Montana where our speakers lived. Volcanologist and retired-FEMA Division Director Chris Jonientz-Trisler, Region 10 Tribal Liaison Jay LaPlante, and former FEMA Community Relations Specialist Elaine Ike share their unique experiences.


Download this episode of the podcast on the FEMA website. The FEMA podcast is available on Apple iTunes and Google Play to stream or download.


FEMA Offers Virtual Public Assistance Training

FEMA is making it easier for state, local, tribal and territorial government partners to create accounts and apply for Public Assistance.  To help familiarize partners with these changes, there are now remote training tools available, including 17 YouTube videos, daily webinars and 28 independent study courses online.


The videos help guide viewers through how to establish an account, file a Request for Public Assistance, submit streamlined applications and follow other steps in the application process. The independent study courses, hosted by the Emergency Management Institute, provide an overview to the program, application process and the Grants Portal platform.

FEMA Seeks Feedback on NIMS Update

FEMA is seeking public feedback for an update of the 2009 National Incident Management System (NIMS) Implementation Objectives for federal departments and agencies. National engagement provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the draft implementation objectives, to ensure they are relevant for all implementing partners. The national engagement period will conclude at 5 p.m. ET on June 17.


This update seeks to ensure the objectives are consistent with the third edition of the NIMS, published in Oct. 2017 and reflects changes to laws, policies and best practices. The third edition of NIMS also provides additional information on the roles of off-scene incident personnel such as local officials and emergency operations center personnel.


FEMA will host a series of webinars to outline the proposed updates and answer related questions. All webinars are open to the whole community. For more information on the webinars and to review the draft objectives, visit the FEMA website.

FEMA Publishes Priorities and Allocations System Regulation

FEMA recently published an interim final rule in the Federal Register to implement President Trump’s Executive Order 13911 “Delegating Additional Authority Under the Defense Production Act With Respect to Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19” issued on March 27.  These regulations are part of FEMA’s response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.


The executive order delegates the President’s authority under Section 101 with respect to health and medical resources needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19 within the United States.  FEMA’s rule establishes the Emergency Management Priorities and Allocations System regulation, which will become part of the Federal Priorities and Allocations System body of regulations. This will establish the standards and procedures for implementing the President’s authority under Section 101 of the Defense Production Act.


The regulations have two principal components: priorities and allocations.  Under the priorities component, contracts or orders necessary or appropriate to support programs that have been approved to be given priority over other contracts or orders to facilitate expedited delivery to promote the U.S. national defense.  Under the allocations component, materials, services and facilities may be specific quantities to promote national defense. 


For more information, visit

FEMA Accepts Applications for High Hazard Potential Dam Grants

On May 8, FEMA released the Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dam Grant Program Notice of Funding Opportunity. The grant program is authorized and funded by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act.


The grant program provides technical, planning, design and construction assistance in the form of grants for the rehabilitation of eligible high hazard potential dams. Eligible applicants must be non-federal sponsors, which include non-federal governments and non-profit organizations.


Eligible non-federal dams are:

  • Located in a state or territory with a state or territorial dam safety program.
  • Classified as ‘high hazard potential’ by the dam safety agency in the state or territory where the dam is located.
  • Have an approved emergency action plan by the state or territorial dam safety agency.
  • Located in a state or territory which determines either of these criteria – the dam fails to meet minimum dam safety standards of the state or territory and the dam poses an unacceptable risk to the public.


In a state or territory with an enacted dam safety program, the state agency is eligible to apply for the grant. Each eligible state may submit only one grant application. Non-federal sponsors can review the Notice of Funding Opportunity announcement on and apply by the June 26 deadline.


For more information about the Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams Grant Program, visit the FEMA website.

FEMA Alert System Used During Coronavirus Response

Emergency officials across the country have sent more than 320 important safety messages on the coronavirus pandemic to their residents using the FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).


As of Tuesday May 19, 92 agencies across 29 states and the District of Columbia, as well as two Indian tribes and one U.S. territory, have sent a total of 322 messages. This includes 260 alerts containing information on COVID-19 to cell phones and other wireless devices via the Wireless Emergency Alerts and 62 alerts to radios/televisions via the Emergency Alert System.


For more information on IPAWS and how to be able to use the system to send alerts, visit the FEMA website.


IPAWS is a national system for local alerting that provides authenticated emergency alert and information messaging to the public through cell phones and internet applications using Wireless Emergency Alerts and to radio and television via the Emergency Alert System.

Upcoming Deadlines and Reminders

Application Period Open for Fire Prevention and Safety Grants

The application period for Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grants is now open. The grants support projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards within the areas of fire prevention and firefighter safety research and development. There is $35 million in funding available. The application period closes at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, May 29.

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