Author Archives: Samara Ebinger

FEMA Seeks Applicants for National Advisory Council

FEMA is requesting individuals who are interested in serving on the FEMA National Advisory Council (NAC) to apply to be considered for appointment. The NAC is a federal advisory committee established to ensure effective and ongoing coordination of federal preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation for natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters. The NAC is a geographically diverse mix of officials, emergency managers, and emergency response providers from state, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations who advise the FEMA Administrator on all aspects of emergency management.

FEMA is accepting applications for open positions in the following discipline areas:
Elected Tribal Government Executive (one representative appointment); Non-elected Tribal Government Official (one representative appointment); Emergency Management Field (one representative appointment); Emergency Response Providers, which includes fire, law enforcement, hazardous materials response, emergency medical services, and organizations representing emergency response providers (one representative appointment); Standards Setting and Accrediting Organizations, which includes the voluntary consensus codes and standards development community (one representative appointment); Individuals with Disabilities (one representative appointment); Health Scientist (one SGE appointment); Infrastructure Protection Expert (one SGE appointment); Administrator Selections (up to five SGE appointments)

All appointments are for three-year terms starting in September 2017. Applications must be received by the close of business on March 15, 2017. Qualified individuals interested in serving on the NAC are invited to apply for appointment. More information can be found at


Emergency Preparedness for Seniors

Basic emergency preparations are important at any age. Older adults and seniors may need to update their preparations as their needs change.

What would you or any older adults in your household need in an emergency? Evaluate those needs, include them in your emergency plan and add any necessary items to your emergency supply kit. recommends that older Americans also consider the following measures:

• Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers to aid you in an emergency. Discuss your needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment. If appropriate, discuss your needs with your employer.
• Keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, food for service animals and any other items you might need.
• Keep written copies of your prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and orders for medical equipment, including dosage, treatment and allergy information in your emergency kit.
• Make a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices you require.
• Talk with your service provider about their emergency plans if you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation. Work with them to identify back-up service providers and incorporate them into your personal support network.
• Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference.
• Coordinate with friends, family or specialty transportation service providers in the event of a mandatory evacuation.

Find more information on creating an emergency plan, building an emergency kit, or planning for a specific disaster at or

Upcoming workshop: Science You Can Use: Sustaining New Jersey Marshes for Coastal Resilience

The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR) in conjunction with other local partners is presenting two upcoming workshops “Science You Can Use: Sustaining New Jersey Marshes for Coastal Resilience.”

Workshop Purpose:

To convey how ongoing research informs the understanding of:
•How do saltmarshes aid coastal resilience?
•How can salt marshes be sustained into the future?
•What management tools and best practices are available for aiding decision-making on nature-based and other management strategies?
•How might we apply them locally?

This workshop will help you design shovel-ready projects to be competitive for funding and to demonstrate the priorities for undertaking specified management interventions at particular locations.

Coastal decision-makers will gain a better understanding of the benefits, costs and trade-offs to restoring and sustaining tidal salt marshes for our back-bay coastal communities.

Who should participate

Municipal, county, state and federal coastal decision-makers, including: municipal and county planners and officials, park and floodplain managers, state permitting officers, consultants, NGO staff, contractors.

The two workshops will provide the same content, but will feature different case study areas.

The workshops will be held on March 14th at the JCNERR Coastal Center in Tuckerton, NJ  and April 3rd at the Cumberland County Community College in Vineland.

For more information and to register, visit:


FEMA Finalizes the Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for State Governments

At the end of 2016, FEMA finalized the Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for State Governments. This Guide is the first in a series of three that will be released in the next year that will include a guide for local governments and a guide for tribal governments.


FEMA designed these planning guides to help states and territories prepare for recovery by developing pre-disaster recovery plans that follow a process to engage members of the whole community, develop recovery capabilities across State government and nongovernmental partners, and ultimately create an organizational framework for comprehensive state recovery efforts.


A pre-disaster recovery plan, and the inclusive process used to develop it, establishes resilience through state-level leadership and structure, forms communication channels, and builds whole-community partnerships to support recovery efforts.


The Guide provides useful information that will support the preparation of state agencies to more easily adapt to new post-disaster roles needed to manage new or modified sources of state and Federal recovery resources. 


You can view the Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for State Governments at For any questions regarding this guide, please reach out to

FEMA Seeks Comments on a Public Assistance Deductible Concept

In response to calls from members of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, and the DHS Office of Inspector General over the last several years, FEMA is working to reform the way the federal government supports states following disasters.


The agency continues to actively explore the concept of a deductible, specifically leveraging the Public Assistance Program. Individual Assistance programs, such as direct aid to households after a disaster, would remain unchanged.


A Public Assistance deductible concept could incentivize mitigation investments, promote risk-informed decision-making, and build resilience, including to catastrophic events.


As communities increase disaster resiliency, they reduce the cost of future events for both the states and the federal government. A deliberate effort to reduce risk at all levels of government will enhance disaster response and post-disaster recovery capabilities nationwide.


FEMA is committed to a transparent stakeholder engagement effort to explore how the program might move forward. In 2016, FEMA sought public comments on the basic concept of a deductible through under docket ID FEMA-2016-0003.


After considering the 150 comments received, FEMA developed a conceptual model framework that is now available for public comment. This Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or SANPRM, is available for 90-days on under docket ID FEMA-2016-0003 at this link:  FEMA_FRDOC_0001.


Upcoming Webinar: Methods of Communication in Disasters— Preparing to Receive, Provide and Act on Critical Information in Times of Crisis

FEMA’s DHS Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships and FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division invites you to a webinar on Thursday, December 15, 2016. Representatives from FEMA will be joined by faith and community leaders to highlight various methods that governments and communities can use to communicate with one another and the broader community in disasters. This webinar will also feature preparedness activities and resources to effectively receive, provide and act upon critical information.

Please click the following hyperlink to register for the webinar: Methods of Communication in Disasters—Preparing to Receive, Provide and Act on Critical Information in Times of Crisis

Date: Thursday, December 15, 2016

Time: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. EST

Featured Speakers:                                 

  • Antwane Johnson, Director, FEMA Integrated Public Alert & Warning System
  • Martin Pittinger, FEMA Office of the Chief Technology Officer
  • Kaylynn Beck, FEMA External Affairs
  • Chaplain Yisrael Bursztyn, New Jersey Chaplains Association
  • Alicia Hamilton, PACRED and The Revelation Network
  • William Patterson, Los Angeles Amateur Radio Club
  • Moderator: Jannah Scott, DHS Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships

How to Join the Webinar:

We hope that you will be able to join us on December 15!

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance Team Seeking External Stakeholder Working Group Members

The FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) team is excited to announce the launch of the External Stakeholder Working Group (ESWG) and is seeking applications from local or county jurisdictions for membership. The purpose of the ESWG is to provide a venue for increased communication between FEMA staff and external stakeholders. The ESWG will offer non-federal mitigation stakeholders an opportunity to share their perspectives on HMA priorities, issues, and program resources, and help inform communication strategies on the HMA programs. If you are interested in serving on the ESWG, please complete the application and submit it by email to  Applications are due by Tuesday, November 29, 2016.

Membership on the ESWG will include participation in four meetings each year, one meeting each quarter. Two of these meetings will be held in person with travel costs provided by FEMA Headquarters. The remaining two meetings will be held virtually. The first meeting will be held virtually in early December. Once representatives are selected, FEMA Headquarters staff be in contact to determine an exact date for the first meeting.

Applications must be submitted by November 29, 2016.  Requests for further information or questions on applying to the ESWG can also be submitted to  FEMA staff monitor this inbox daily and will reply to any questions as quickly as possible.

Learn Your Local Evacuation Routes

Evacuations from your home or work are more common than many people realize. FEMA urges residents to know their evacuation routes and to heed the direction of local officials taking seriously their instructions to evacuate.  According to the Ready Campaign, fires and floods cause evacuations most frequently across the U.S., and almost every year, people along coastlines evacuate as hurricanes approach. In addition, hundreds of times per year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing many people to leave their homes.

You don’t have to wait for an official evacuation notice to prepare, you can start now. Contact your local emergency management agency for the evacuation routes in your community. Additionally, follow these guidelines for evacuation:

Be ready to evacuate yourself and your family with Ready’s Evacuation Guidelines.

Webinar: Celebrating National Native American Heritage Month through Community Preparedness

In observance of National Native American Heritage Month, FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division and the Office of External Affairs, Tribal Affairs will host a webinar on Wednesday, November 30 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET focusing on disaster preparedness and resilience efforts serving tribal communities. You’ll hear several leaders who have worked to put preparedness into action by developing successful community-based initiatives and receive related program resources.

Title:  Celebrating National Native American Heritage Month through Community Preparedness

Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Time: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET)

Featured Speakers:                                 

  • Tim Zientek, Director of Emergency Management, Potawatomi Nation
  • Jeff Hansen, Director of Emergency Management, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
  • Hailey Starr and Sarah Clark, Muckleshoot Tribal School
  • Milo Booth, National Tribal Affairs Advisor,  Office of External Affairs, FEMA

How to Join the Webinar: 

Upcoming American Planning Association (APA) Planning Information Exchange (PIE) Webinar: Subdivision Design and Flood Hazard Areas

The APA’s Planning Information Exchange (PIE) steering committee is pleased to announce the “Subdivision Design and Flood Hazard Areas” webinar scheduled for Friday, December 2nd from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.

Please join three professionals as they dive into APA’s new PAS Report (PAS 584), Subdivision Design and Flood Hazard Areas. The discussion will begin with an overview of the drivers, issues, and standards of PAS 584 by Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM). Next, retired Licking County, Ohio, Planning Commission Director, Jerry Brems, will discuss local issues that planners face when dealing with design standards and flood hazard areas. And finally, Tyler Berding, founding partner of the California law firm, Berding & Weil LLP, will speak about the many problems homeowners associations confront when dealing with flood hazards over the long term.

The webinar is free but registration is required using the following link: