WildfireSAFE Mobile Application

The WildfireSAFE is a web-based mobile app, integrates critical fire information onto one platform. The app provides a one-stop shop for updates on weather that may lead to a wildfire, expected fire behavior and, importantly, forecasts up to seven days in advance of expected severe fire hazard conditions. Rocky Mountain Research Station research scientist Matt Jolly along with Technosylva developed WildfireSAFE to improve firefighter and public safety and situation awareness.

Complete details are available at: https://wildfiresafe.fs.usda.gov/

Free In-Person Hazardous Materials Safety and Response Training Available

Interested in hazmat training for your department? The NVFC, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, is now offering free in-person training opportunities across the U.S. to help responders gain the knowledge & skills they need to train others in their communities on hazmat safety & response.

Learn more and apply to bring a training to you: https://www.nvfc.org/hazmat/

IAEM student member Amanda Robinson passed away on April 19

We are saddened to share the news that IAEM Student Member Amanda Robinson passed away on April 19 while at school at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA). She was a senior majoring in emergency management. IAEM expresses condolences to Amanda’s family, MMA faculty and staff, and friends. Amanda, 22, joined the Civil Air Patrol in 10th Grade and was determined to serve her country. While at MMA, she completed internships at Canaveral Port Authority and the Church World Service (a resettlement organization assisting refugees, immigrants, and asylum-seekers seeking safety and the opportunity to rebuild their lives in the United States), and UG2. She excelled and exceeded all expectations in the EM Program through her hard work and dedication and became a part of the EMS Corps. In addition to her studies, she was a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and the Islands. More information and a link to a GoFundMe in her name is available in this articleView her obituary.

Global Digital Compact

IAEM endorses text for inclusion on emergency warning service in the Global Digital Compact

The Global Digital Compact is expected to “outline shared principles for an open, free, and secure future for all.” IAEM has joined with standards bodies, government agencies, NGOs, and companies involved in emergency alerting to endorse including, “timely warning of life-critical emergencies is essential to public communications services,” in the Global Digital Compact. Learn more and view the organizations endorsing this statement along with their statements.

FEMA updates state and local mitigation planning policies

The FEMA State and Local Mitigation Planning Policy Guides (policies), released in April 2022, became effective on April 19, 2023. FEMA updated the policies to:

  • Meet agency priorities, one key priority is climate change.
  • Include new grants that require mitigation plans.
  • Encourage plans that lead to equitable outcomes.
  • Promote long-term investments in community resilience.

State and local governments must have FEMA-approved plans to receive non-emergency funding. The policies are the official interpretation of laws that require mitigation plans. FEMA has tools, resources, and training on mitigation planning. To see what is available, visit the Create a Mitigation Plan web page. For more on the policies, visit the Policy Update web page on FEMA.gov.

FEMA seeks feedback for draft private-public partnership guides

FEMA seeks content input on the “Information Sharing Guide for Private-Public Partnerships” and the “Economic Resilience Guide for Private-Public Partnerships.” The guides are for any private-public partnership with a cooperative arrangement between two or more entities of private industry and public sector organizations for their mutual benefit. They are designed to help ensure life safety, economic security, and resilience in communities. This review affords an opportunity to provide substantive content recommendations for continued development and refinement of the drafts. The results of this review will inform the development of the published versions of the guides for whole community use. To download the documents and submit feedback, visit FEMA.gov. Comments are due by May 25, 2023.

FEMA Seeks New Members for its National Advisory Council

FEMA is seeking qualified individuals to lend their expertise and serve on the agency’s National Advisory Council.

The council includes a geographically diverse and substantive cross-section of 40 members who advise the FEMA Administrator on all aspects of emergency management, ensuring input from, and coordination with, state, local, tribal and territorial governments, as well as the private and nonprofit sectors.

“We value the diverse backgrounds and skillsets of our members, and the experience they bring to FEMA through the advisory council is invaluable,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Their willingness to volunteer their time and expertise to further FEMA’s mission will not only benefit our singular agency, but the broader emergency management enterprise nationwide.”

Individuals appointed to the council bring their experience and diversity of views to provide the Administrator consensus recommendations on a broad range of issues. They will have the opportunity to be a part of, and help shape, the future not only of FEMA, but also the entire field of emergency management for our country.

Administrator Criswell will appoint up to nine members who will begin serving on the council in December 2023. Selected council members will guide future recommendations on topics including climate, readiness and workforce, which align to the FEMA strategic plan and projects as directed by the Administrator.

The agency is accepting applications for seven discipline-specific positions and up to two Administrator-selected positions. Discipline-specific positions include a specialty in any one of the following fields: disabilities, access and functional needs; elected tribal government official; emergency management; emergency response provider; non-elected tribal government official; health scientist; and standards setting and accrediting. For a description of each position, please go to the Charter.

Newly selected members will serve up to a three-year term on the council. If other positions open, FEMA may select qualified candidates from the pool of applications. 

If you are interested in applying to serve on FEMA’s National Advisory Council, please follow these instructions for submitting an application package no later than 11:59 p.m. ET May 21, 2023. Per the Federal Advisory Committee Act, federal employees are ineligible to apply.

Tribal Consultations Increase Access to the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program

FEMA is using feedback from federally recognized tribal nations to shape policy and programmatic changes to improve equitable access to the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program. 

FEMA’s Grant Programs Directorate held its first-ever tribal consultation on June 22, 2022, to get feedback on tribal nation access to FEMA’s preparedness grant programs. Dozens of tribal leaders and representatives attended the consultation and provided feedback that FEMA used to propose legislative changes to improve access to preparedness funding.  

On Nov. 9, 2022, FEMA hosted a follow up tribal consultation to discuss proposed legislative changes to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to increase tribal access to the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program. Tribal leaders and tribal representatives attended the consultation and provided feedback on the proposed legislative changes to improve their access in obtaining funding provided by the program. For fiscal year 2023, the program will provide $15 million to enhance the ability of tribal nations to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from potential terrorist attacks and other hazards.

These tribal consultations follow many years of feedback from tribal leaders about FEMA’s preparedness grant programs. The consultations give participants a structured forum to ask questions and engage with senior leaders on their challenges and successes with various aspects of the programs. The proposed legislative changes to the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program will reduce administrative burdens on tribal nations, making it easier for them to apply for and receive grant funding to prepare them for all hazards and build resilience across their communities.

These efforts are consistent with consistent with the 2022-2026 FEMA Strategic Plan and the 2022-2026 National Tribal Strategy. To learn more about the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program, visit FEMA.gov.

CBRNResponder Nationwide Drill May 1-5

Emergencies involving chemical, biological, or radioactive/nuclear (CBRN) materials usually require a complex incident response, whether they are intentionally or accidentally caused.

During a CBRN incident, environmental sampling, mapping, and computer modeling are often used to characterize the location and extent of a release and to predict the movement of hazardous materials in the environment. This generates a lot of data that must be analyzed quickly for decision-making and development of a common operating picture. Technology that facilitates incident management and the rapid capture and sharing of data is often needed in CBRN incidents.

The CBRNResponder Network is a secure, cloud-based platform for CBRN incident data sharing and multi-hazard event management. It is intended to serve as a hub and one-stop shop for all-hazards planning, preparedness, operational tools and resources.

CBRNResponder is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal partners and is free to all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (FSLTT) emergency response organizations. The service is intended to be used by SLTT agencies to manage their own CBRN incidents and associated data. However, the service integrates with federal assets if a Stafford Act declaration is requested.

CBRNResponder began as a tool for management of radiological and nuclear emergencies. Based on lessons learned from responder feedback after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant emergency, the RadResponder program was initially launched in 2013 to close capability gaps in real-time radiological data collection, management and sharing.

In 2016, RadResponder was codified in FEMA’s Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex (NRIA) to the Response and Recovery Federal Interagency Operational Plans as the “national standard and Whole Community solution for the management of radiological data.” This means RadResponder is here to stay as a service for SLTT agencies whenever they need it.

Today’s CBRNResponder Network has expanded on the foundation established by the RadResponder program to include:

  • RadResponder.
  • ChemResponder.
  • BioResponder.
  • The Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC) Portal.

ChemResponder and BioResponder add capabilities requested by SLTT agencies to facilitate data collection and analysis for chemical and biological emergencies.

The IMAAC Portal allows any CBRNResponder user to request IMAAC plume models. IMAAC can then seamlessly push models and briefing products to users for exercises or real-world emergencies.

Today, more than 2,200 emergency response organizations and more than 13,000 responders are using the CBRNResponder Network. The network is supported by a 24/7 emergency support hotline. Live training webinars are conducted monthly, and recordings are posted to CBRNResponder’s YouTube channel and the CBRNResponder Network website.

FEMA’s CBRN Office conducts nationwide drills several times a year, providing the opportunity to practice using the network’s capabilities and features while assessing your organization’s readiness to respond to a CBRN incident in a low-pressure, non-attributional training environment.

The next nationwide drill is scheduled for May 1-5, 2023. This drill will use ChemResponder in a chemical incident scenario: Information Sharing During Rail-Tank Car Emergencies Involving Hazardous Materials. See the April 2023 CBRNResponder newsletter to learn more. This drill is open to all CBRNResponder users.

To learn more about the CBRNResponder Network, visit the website at CBRNResponder.net and see the National Introductory Training video. If you are interested in joining, please email support@cbrnresponder.net to request an account. Please share this information widely with your colleagues and partner agencies.

ASPR Releases Health Care and Public Health Sector Cybersecurity Framework Guide 

On March 8, the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) released a new framework implementation guide to help health care and public health sector organizations implement the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Cybersecurity Framework. The guide is intended to help health organizations become better equipped to assess and improve cybersecurity by understanding the Cybersecurity Framework, assessing current cybersecurity posture, identifying gaps in programs and workforce, and identifying practices to help address recommended outcomes. These Cybersecurity Standards are voluntary and offer advice on limiting risk by controlling access to critical systems, monitoring supply chains, and being aware of emerging threats.