NIMS Alert 08-20: FEMA releases Disaster Financial Management Guide

NIMS Alert FEMA

FEMA has released the “Disaster Financial Management Guide” to support jurisdictions in establishing and implementing sound disaster financial management practices, which are critical for successful response and recovery.

The guide identifies the capabilities and activities necessary to prepare and successfully implement disaster financial management while maintaining fiscal responsibility throughout response and recovery operations. This includes considerations and practices necessary to:

  • Track, calculate and justify the costs of an emergency;
  • Support local reimbursement reconciliation;
  • Avoid de-obligation of grant funding; and effectively fund and implement recovery projects and priorities.

The principles, concepts and resources contained in the guide can support jurisdictions in identifying the resources needed to support their community, increase the efficiency of recovery efforts, and reduce the likelihood of audits and financial penalties for the jurisdiction.

The guide also presents an overview of common disaster assistance and recovery funding programs that may be beneficial to recovery efforts. Although there are many government and private/non-profit sector recovery resources and programs designed to aid jurisdictions, navigating the various eligibility requirements and application processes pose administrative challenges for jurisdictions.

The “Disaster Financial Management Guide” takes an all-hazard approach and addresses a broad range of issues jurisdictions face. However, the document contains concepts, principles and resources that are applicable to the current operational environment and ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

To view the guide, please visit https://www.fema.gov/plan. Contact FEMA at NPD-Planning@Fema.dhs.gov for any questions or support on the document.

FEMA Releases Updated Resilience Analysis and Planning Tool (RAPT)

At-a-glance evaluation of demographics and infrastructure

NIMS Alert 07-20: FEMA Releases Updated Resilience Analysis and Planning Tool

FEMA released expanded capabilities to the Resilience Analysis and Planning Tool (RAPT), including census tract data and additional infrastructure layers for all state, local, tribal and territorial jurisdictions across the nation. This update to the tool enables a more granular analysis of community resilience indicators and allows users to calculate the population of individuals with specific indicator characteristics in selected census tracts.

Jurisdictions at all levels, other federal agencies, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations can use RAPT to inform strategies for preparedness, response and recovery activated related to the coronavirus pandemic and other disasters. The tool is a free-to-use Geographic Information System (GIS) webmap tool that allows users to combine layers of community resilience indicators, infrastructure locations, and hazard data to visualize, prioritize and implement strategies to impact resilience, response, and recovery.

The updated RAPT provides important census-tract level demographic information and infrastructure locations related to coronavirus pandemic planning and response efforts. This includes the location and size of infrastructure entities such as hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care facilities, public health departments, and pharmacies; population count and demographics of individuals within a containment zone (e.g. over age 65, disability, educational attainment); and visualization tools.

The RAPT is publicly available at:

https://bit.ly/ResilienceAnalysisandPlanningTool

Supporting documents for RAPT, including an overview document, user guide and information about the data layers and sources, can be found at:

https://www.fema.gov/de/media-library/assets/documents/176618

The National Integration Center will host three 60-minute training webinars over the next two weeks, starting on April 2, to provide additional background on the RAPT, demonstrate multiple capabilities and answer questions from RAPT users. Webinars are open to all.

Advance registration is not required, but space is limited to 150 participants per webinar. Real-time captioning will be available. To participate, please click on your preferred webinar session from the list below at the beginning of the webinar to begin and call the phone number provided:

Thursday, April 2, 12-1 p.m. ET
Participate: https://fema.connectsolutions.com/resilienceindicatorgis/
Audio Call-in: 202-795-3352. PIN: 253 361 211#

Tuesday, April 7, 3-4 p.m. ET
Participate: https://fema.connectsolutions.com/resilienceindicatorgis/
Audio Call-in: 202-795-3352. PIN: 253 361 211#

Thursday, April 9, 12-1 p.m. ET
Participate: https://fema.connectsolutions.com/resilienceindicatorgis/
Audio Call-in: 202-795-3352. PIN: 253 361 211#

For more information, please contact FEMA-TARequest@fema.dhs.gov.

AFG opens soon, are you ready to GO?

FEMA GO guide to apply for and manage grants

FEMA is transitioning its grant applications and grant management to a new system called the FEMA Grant Outcomes system, or FEMA GO. From now on, FEMA GO is how departments like yours will apply for and manage public safety grants such as Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG)Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER), and Fire Prevention & Safety Grants (FP&S).

We’re not sure yet when AFG is going to open. Now is the time to get set up and familiar with FEMA GO. Once it’s go time for AFG, you’ll be off to the races!

Learn more in our FEMA GO Guide

New Roles are Now Available in FEMA GO

To assist users in managing grant functions such as applying for a grant, requesting funds, and completing reports, FEMA GO has new roles that can be assigned to staff to complete assigned task within the new system.

  • Programmatic Member – can view and edit all information and can only submit amendments and programmatic reports.
  • Financial Member – can view and edit all information and can only submit payments or draw down request, financial reports and amendments.
  • Grant Writer – can view and edit all information for an application.

For more information on the new available roles and how to assign the roles to your organization members, visit https://www.fema.gov/gmm-training-resources.

FY 2019 AFGP Grant Application: System for Award Management (SAM) Reminders

The FY 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) application period is anticipated to be opening in the winter of 2019/20. All Assistance to Firefighters (AFG), Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), and Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) grant applicants must have an active SAM.gov registration with current information at the time of application, while an application is pending, or have an active federal award.

Before the application period opens, you must check your SAM.gov account and make sure that you are registered and that it is “ACTIVE” because you will not be able to start, or submit your application without an active SAM.gov registration.

Please ensure the following items are current in the System for Award Management (SAM) and the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number used in SAM.gov is the same one you use for all FEMA applications:

  • Organization’s name
  • Address
  • DUNS
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Banking information (type of account (checking or saving), routing number, and account number
  • Many websites may look official in appearance but are not. As a reminder, registration in the SAM.gov is FREE
  • SAM.gov registrations are only active for one year and registration must be renewed and revalidated at least every 12 months from the date previously registered to avoid being “INACTIVE”.
  • This information should be consistent in all registration documents

Should you need assistance with your SAM.gov account, there are several ways to get help:

If you have questions or concerns about your SAM.gov registration, please contact the Federal Support desk at https://www.fsd.gov

FEMA Go Payment & Amendment Request Modules Available

FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency

As of November 8, 2019, Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) & Fire Prevention and Safety Grant (FP&S) grant recipients may begin using the FEMA GO system to submit Payment. AFG and FP&S grant recipients should avoid submitting an amendment at this time; submitting an amendment will not allow grant recipients to submit payment. We will notify grant recipients when they can begin submitting amendments.

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant recipients may submit a grant amendment to begin their Period of Performance (POP) early; other amendment types cannot be accepted at this time. The payment request module is not currently available in FEMA GO, however, it will be available soon. We will notify SAFER grant recipients when the module is available.

A user guide explaining how to navigate these new modules is available on: https://www.fema.gov/gmm-training-resources

NIMS Alert 38-19: Release of the National Response Framework, 4th Edition, and Emergency Support Function #14

NIMS Alert FEMA

Cross-Sector Business and Infrastructure Annex

In support of FEMA’s Strategic Plan, the agency is pleased to announce the release of the “National Response Framework, Fourth Edition,” and the “Emergency Support Function #14 – Cross-Sector Business and Infrastructure Annex.” Both documents incorporate lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane and wildfire season.

The updated framework remains scalable, flexible and adaptable, using the core capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal, and continues to focus on the capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs during disasters. The National Preparedness Goal defines what it means for the whole community to be prepared for all types of disasters and emergencies. Key updates to the NRF include:

  • Additional emphasis on non-governmental capabilities to include the role of individuals and private sector/industry partners in responding to disasters.
  • A new Emergency Support Function to leverage existing coordination mechanisms between the government and infrastructure owners/operators.
  • Focus on outcomes-based response through the prioritization of the rapid stabilization of Community Lifelines.

The new ESF #14 supports the coordination of cross-sector operations, including stabilization of key supply chains and Community Lifelines, among infrastructure owners and operators, businesses, and their government partners.

The Community Lifelines Implementation Toolkit provides comprehensive information and resources for implementing lifelines during incident response. Toolkit 2.0, featuring refined content based on lessons learned and stakeholder feedback over the past year, will be released in November to support the NRF rollout.

In addition, FEMA is hosting a series of one-hour webinars to describe the updates and answer participants’ questions. These webinars are intended for the whole community, including individuals and communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners.

To download the documents and view the full webinar schedule, please visit https://www.fema.gov/national-preparedness-resource-library. Advance registration is required for the webinars and admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Captioning will be available for each webinar.

FEMA GO guide to apply for and manage grants

FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Fund Finder News by Kurt Bradley

FEMA is transitioning its grant applications and grant management to a new system called the FEMA Grant Outcomes system, or FEMA GO. From now on, FEMA GO is how departments like yours will apply for and manage public safety grants such as Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG), Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER), and Fire Prevention & Safety Grants (FP&S).

How FEMA GO should benefit your organization

The intent behind FEMA GO is to have grants be managed in a more streamlined, user-friendly system. Over time, organizations like yours will be able to manage FEMA grants and other programs in one place.

This is a new system, and it is a big change. However, the new rules of the road are the new rules of the road. Once you are up and running, you should be ready to work in the new system to apply for and manage grants.

How to register on FEMA GO

Of course, first you’ve got to get set up.

For starters, the same E-BIZ contact for your department’s SAM.gov account has to set up your FEMA GO. (Note that FEMA GO doesn’t replace SAM but works in conjunction with SAM.)

FEMA has put together a step-by-step guide to help you register. According to FEMA, registering should take about 15 minutes.

Get the FEMA GO Registration Guide

Set up your organization and your grant writer on FEMA GO

As part of setting up your organization, you’ll also need to authorize your grant writer to be able to access any grants or applications in your account.

Once your account is set up, you’ll see a button that says “Add an AOR,” or, “Authorized Organizational Representative.” In order to access grants and account information relevant to your grants, you’ll need to add your grant writer as an AOR.

Important: An AOR is not the same thing as a contact. You can set up anyone as a contact, but contacts are not authorized to see, edit, or manage your grants and grant applications. Only AORs can view a grant and have access to the parts of the account they need in order to help with the grant.

The SAM.gov E-Biz contact who sets up the FEMA GO account must also set the AOR. In the case of the grant writer, the person must be set as an AOR, not simply as another grant contact.

Once the AOR is set, the AOR grant writer will be sent an email notification that they’ve been added as an AOR, and then the grant writer should be able to access your department’s grants in FEMA GO. 

Use FEMA GO to apply for grants, accept awards, and manage grants

FY 2018 AFG, SAFER, and FP&S are the first grants to be managed inside FEMA GO. As FY 2019 programs open for applications, those grants will also be applied for, monitored, and managed in FEMA GO. During 2020, departments can expect older grants under management to also be migrated into FEMA GO.

Updates for FEMA GO and FY 2019 fire grants

FEMA GO is a new system, and modifications and fixes are still underway.

As of Oct. 4, 2019, modules such as “Payment Request” are still in progress. Once deployed, this function will allow you to access and use your grant funds.

FY 2019 grant application periods will be announced at a later date. At this time, our understanding is that FY 2019 AFG will open during first week of December, and it will run through mid-January. Final dates have not been announced yet.

FEMA GO is a big change for how departments apply for and manage grants. However, before you know it .you can be up and running on FEMA GO, and hopefully new grants plus management of your current grants will be easier.

Questions or concerns? Contact our Certified Grant Consultants today.

NIMS Alert 35-19: Updated National Emergency Communications Plan Release

NIMS Alert FEMA

Updated National Emergency Communications Plan Release

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the updated National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP)– the Nation’s roadmap to ensuring emergency communications interoperability at all levels of government. The NECP was updated to address the current gaps within emergency communications, reflect new and emerging technological advancements, and provide guidance to drive the nation towards a common end-state for communications.

CISA engaged more than 3,500 public safety representatives from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial public safety agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other groups to ensure the NECP is reflective of their emergency communications expertise, experience and needs.

The NECP aligns with the Communications and Information Management component in the National Incident Management System and strives to prepare stakeholders for a rapidly evolving emergency communications landscape.

The updated NECP:

  • Builds upon the key concepts and principles of the 2008 and 2014 versions of the NECP;
  • Revises the vision statement to address secure information exchange and adds the public to acknowledge their increasing role in emergency communications;
  • Emphasizes the importance of strategic and lifecycle planning and sustainable funding;
  • Promotes the importance of evaluating and documenting lessons learned from training and exercises;
  • Underscores the need for coordination of communications assets and capabilities at incidents and planned events;
  • Emphasizes technology and infrastructure lifecycle management and focuses on effective and interoperable information sharing; and
  • Adds a new goal focused on cybersecurity risk management, the mitigation of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, cyber hygiene minimums and funding.

CISA will host a series of 60-minute webinars to discuss the updates to the NECP and answer questions. The webinars are open to the whole community. The schedule follows:

  • Wednesday, October 2, 2019, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm ET
  • Tuesday, October 8, 2019, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET
  • Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm ET 

To participate use: webinar link (for visual): https://share.dhs.gov/necp2019 and dial-in (for audio): (800) 381-7839.

To review the updated NECP visit: https://www.cisa.gov/necp or for questions about the NECP, contact: necp@cisa.dhs.gov.

CISA is committed to supporting the Nation’s emergency responders and will continue to partner with the public safety community to accomplish the NECP’s goals and objectives.