Member Update – May 28

May 28, 2016
A few words from our President
I –  Recent Updates:

We recently submitted the 2015 NHMA FEMA Grant Materials. As a result of some truly dedicated work by NHMA volunteers, paid staff and consultants, we were able to submit to FEMA a number of important White Papers and other materials including:  1.) the NHMA publication, Lessons Learned, documenting the interviews which served as the basis for our development of the Disaster Risk Reduction Ambassador Curriculum; 2.) the Disaster Risk Reduction Ambassador Curriculum; and 3) the new NHMA publication, A Living Mosaic, about finding a path through the labyrinth of programs which can be used to promote Disaster Risk Reduction. All these materials are now on the NHMA website – please distribute further! Nicole Bernard will be working to make distribution of these resources through Social Media, such as Linked-in.

Outreach and Communication to Members:

We have been trying to improve our member services and communication outreach to members and those who might become interested in membership for some time. Recently we were able to hire an Administrative Consultant, Kim Thiele, and our Social Media wiz, Nicole Bernard, is once more available for special projects. Kim was invaluable in helping proof read and correct the materials developed under the FY 2015 CTP (see above). We have now resumed the production of our Newsletter and will be regularly providing members with valuable information, which will lead to the sort of increased growth and effectiveness that we expect for NHMA.


Over the past few years, our CTP Grant allocation has gradually increased from $50,000 to $75,000, to its current level of $100,000, plus additional funding for specific projects which we can propose.  FEMA has informed us that we will once more be eligible to apply for our “new normal” $100,000 CTP Grant, as well as propose funding for additional projects which may benefit the cause of floodplain management awareness and compliance, and Hazard Mitigation. I believe we should continue to propose that we use these funds to support a re-energized Resilient Neighbors Network, continue the roll-out of the Disaster Risk Reduction Ambassador Curriculum, and otherwise support FEMA’s efforts through such NHMA initiatives as the American Bar Association Resilience initiative, the SACE/Clemson/UMD/NHMA Practical Community Resilience (for Disaster Risk Reduction) initiative, and other initiatives designed to ensure that safe development and planning concepts are included in as many Resilience initiatives as possible.  The Grant application must be submitted in June. Volunteers to develop the application and propose additional FEMA funded work effort(s) are most welcome!

II – Past Successes:

NHMA has made tremendous strides over the past two years.  Some idea of the exceptional impact NHMA is having can be seen by our success in: reestablishing our finances; our renewal as a 501 (c)(3) organization with the IRS; our work as a FEMA Cooperating Technical Partner; and our participation in such events as the National Climate Adaptation Forum, the Kresge Foundation Community Resilience Project, the Aspen Global Change Institute Resilience efforts, and a recent White House meeting on Building Codes and Resilience, about which we will be reporting to you folks with a Special Update. Other successes include our publications which have the potential for huge impact such as: A Living Mosaic: A Path Forward, and the Disaster Risk Reduction Ambassador Curriculum. Others of our publications are said to have significantly influenced National Policy, such as: ‘Reforming Federal Support for Risky Business’, Authors: David Conrad and Edward A, Thomas Esq., in 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget, Edited by Greenstone, Harris, Li, Looney and Pastashnik, Brookings Institute Hamilton Project, 2013. This document can be found at:

NHMA is essentially an all-volunteer organization. The enormous and important successes we have enjoyed are due to the very real sacrifices of some extremely dedicated volunteers. Please consider volunteering to help NHMA continue to influence policy so as to support local-grassroots action supporting Disaster Risk Reduction, Resilience, Hazard Mitigation, Climate Adaptation and the development of a safer future.

I hope that all of you can in some way contribute to the concept of the Stone Soup/Patchwork Quilt approach to problem solving: Many Hands Make Light Work.

Hoping to see you all at a the 2016 NHMA Practitioners Symposium in July!


Join us in Broomfield, Colorado,

July 13th through 15th, 2016!

NHMA invites you to participate in the

2016 NHMA Pratitioners’ Symposium

& RNN Retreat!

To be held at

the NWH Learning and Meeting Center, graciously provided by Hawksley Consulting and Located adjacent to the Omni Interlocken Resort in

Broomfield, Co.

This year’s theme: Encouraging Local Grassroots Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation

This year we seek to identify ways to encourage local, grassroots Disaster Risk Reduction efforts to help build a just and resilient world. The goal of the 2016 Symposium/Retreat is to define strategic action steps to move local action for Disaster Risk Reduction forward, including task assignments and expansion plan for the Resilient Neighbors Network.

The list of sessions is posted on the NHMA website at: 

To Register for the NHMA Symposium/Retreat: REGISTER

To Sponsor the NHMA Symposium/Retreat2016 Sponsorship Form (pdf)

or: 2016 Sponsorship Form (Word)

We greatly encourage all interested parties & organizations to consider Sponsoring the NHMA Practicioners’ Symposium & RNN Retreat!



Building Health and Well-Being: Lessons Learned from Transformative Partnerships in Community Development and Health

June 1, 2016, 2:30-4 p.m. EDT

Please join us for a webinar where we will discuss lessons learned from communities taking action to leverage development efforts to improve health and equity. The conversation will highlight the role of partnerships in financing, evaluating, and sustaining population health improvements.


  • Jennifer Miller, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Build Healthy Places Network, Public Health Institute
  • Pamela Koprowski, Public Affairs Counsel, Stamford HospitalVincent Tufo, Executive Director and CEO, Charter Oak CommunitiesPeter Grollman, MGA, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Susan Slawson, First Deputy Commissioner, Recreation and Programs, City of Philadelphia  
This webinar is a part of a series sponsored by: 
Prevention Institute 
Public Health Institute
Trust for America’s Health 


  Resettling the first American Climate Refugees.

An Article by The Washington Post

A $48 million federal grant has been allocated to resettle the residents of Isle de Jean Charles in southeastern Louisiana because of flooding.

Read about Chief Albert Naquin of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctawtribe and how his people are shifting their tribal home inland to escape thedevastation of rising seas.

Resettling the first American Climate Refugees.


Press Release
This Best Practice tells how the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) Department of Risk Management mitigated against flooding by building and implementing a Disaster-Resistant University Plan.

To find out more about Mitigation Best Practices, and how the stories in this portfolio offer ideas for you to use in reducing or preventing damage from disasters, visit the Mitigation Best Practices Portfolio web page.

Medical University Earns High Marks for Low Country Lesson in Disaster Resistance

Charleston, SC: The City of Charleston is known for its genteel beauty, conveying images of horse-drawn carriages strolling along cobblestone streets, ancient oak trees clothed in evergreen Spanish moss, and corridors of antebellum homes with open-air porches all shielded by a sea wall, appropriately called The Battery. 

While these images are of ease, cordiality, and relative safety are what typically come to mind when thinking of Charleston. One must also consider the reality of the low-lying city’s vulnerability to flooding. To this end, residents, business owners and community leaders are always looking for ways to mitigate that risk. The Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) Department of Risk Management is doing just that by building and implementing a Disaster-Resistant University Plan, funded by a $75,000 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant (PDM) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). PDM grants are administered by the state and provide funding to implement hazard mitigation planning activities prior to a disaster.  ­

The MUSC plan takes into account vulnerabilities and strives to keep the campus community safe from the negative impact of hazards, particularly flooding. “It’s looking at buildings on campus and ways to mitigate any areas for improvement,” commented Jennifer Taylor, Assistant Director for Risk Management. “It’s a way of figuring out what a building might need.  It goes building-by-building and we essentially look at these buildings’ weaknesses.”

While evaluating their buildings and critical infrastructure, MUSC’s Risk Management team made an important discovery ? the hospital’s generators, which supply the power for the entire campus, were 13 feet below sea level and in the 100 year floodplain. The 100-year flood has a 1% chance (1 in 100) of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. In the event of a power outage due to hurricane or severe storm, placement of generators in this high-risk zone meant potential loss of life for the hospital’s most critical patients, and loss of employment for the academic medical center’s 13,000 employees.

To remedy the situation, the team came up with the solution to build an energy plant on the back of the hospital, erecting a steel and concrete platform system on which the generators, and all auxiliary equipment, were relocated and elevated out of harm’s way. “So every bit of emergency power in the hospital had to be transferred, and each individual circuit had to be moved over to the plant, one hospital unit at a time,” said David Dement, Director of Facilities Maintenance, and a mechanical engineer. “Patient safety is clearly a top priority,” added Dement. “But as a whole, the plan is also good for business continuity.”

This effort began in 2012 and was completed in 2013. The energy plant took a year to build and the final transfer of seven generators, each the size of a tractor- trailer, took an estimated three months to relocate to their new location. “We can still flood in certain areas of the hospital,” Dement said. ”What this system does is provide us with the ability to maintain a certain level of operation, protect those patients that couldn’t get out during a storm, and on top of that, it gives us capability of rapid recovery.”

Although the university was put to the test by October 2015’s Hurricane Joaquin-related storm surge and record rainfall, there were no interruptions of power or patient care. “The staff had to go on what’s called an ‘intermediate weather plan,’ Taylor noted, “essentially ensuring that once they’re here they have to stay here, because there are no staff to relieve them.”

Even after the recent storm event, the Department of Risk Management continues to build on its mitigation plan, evaluating risks from both natural and man-made hazards. With risk analysis deemed central to future mitigation efforts, the Medical University of South Carolina serves as a shining example of the Disaster Resistant University. “After all,” as Taylor noted, “We’re called the Low country for a reason.”


The Updated OARS SHORTLIST:  Organizations Addressing Resilience & Sustainability

© Donald Watson EarthRise design

A world of solutions andassignments…”should WE choose to accept them.

V.26 • February 1, 2016 This month’s new listings highlighted in blue in the INDEX

The OARS LIST of Organizations Addressing Resilience and Sustainability provides:

  • Overview of organizations “pulling at the oars” to achieve resilience in U.S. communities and the world.
  • Word-searchable reference to resources, membership services, grants, and job postings of employment and intern opportunities.
  • Thousands of references in support of climate-science, emergency management, disaster risk reduction, business and community security and prosperity, public health, and sustainability.
  • Invitation for your suggestions to improve the value, accuracy, and usefulness of the OARs LIST.

The OARS LIST is impartial and non- partisan.  Organization descriptions are cited from web listings, with editorial abbreviations.  The OARS LIST may be freely distributed in support of our shared endeavors to be fully and accurately informed with rapidly evolving best practices in creating resilient communities.

The list is not all-inclusive.  Many valuable efforts and resources deserve to be added.

We invite your suggestions and recommendations to add value to this important resource.

NEMA Calls for Next U.S. President to Address Emerging Threats

Lexington, KY – The National Emergency Management Association has identified a list of priority issues to be addressed by the next presidential administration.  “The President is judged by the nation’s response to crisis, and measured by the decisions and actions made in preparation and recovery from them,” said Bryan Koon, NEMA President and Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

According to the NEMA 2016 National Issues Brief, government today must be prepared to deal with an ever changing and increasingly complex set of challenges that test traditional approaches to disaster and emergency preparedness and response.  Over the past two years, emergency managers have been called on to assist with the planning and response to the Ebola Virus, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, unaccompanied minors crossing borders, water emergencies, and the systems create vulnerabilities that are different from those of the past. We need to recognize and plan for more nontraditional disasters, said Koon. 

The NEMA issue brief also presents as challenges climate adaptation, cybersecurity, and countering terrorism.  Issues that must be addressed by the next administration include reforming the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), increasing disaster resilience by investing in mitigation activities prior to disasters, reducing the cost of federal disaster recovery programs, and improving the effectiveness of federal homeland security grants. 

For more information on NEMA, contact Karen Cobuluis, Media Coordinator, at (859) 244-8143 or e-mail

NEMA is the association of professionals dedicated to enhancing public safety by improving the nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from all emergencies, disasters, and threats to our security. NEMA is an affiliate organization of The Council of State Governments, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky.


New Launched a Virtual Ticket to the 2016 NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour

Expanded site added interactive mock- hurricane tracker and activities for kids and teachers across the nation.

This year, for the first time, the highly-popular NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour (HAT) aligned with the presidentially-declared National Hurricane Preparedness Week and the new #HurricaneStrong public outreach campaign. U.S. Air Force Pilots, NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center, and outreach teams took to the skies to drive public readiness beginning in San Antonio with daily stops in four additional cities, including Galveston, New Orleans, Mobile, and Naples. This united effort brought together National Weather Service/National Hurricane Center, FEMA, The Weather Channel, and the FLASH Partnership with emergency management officials, leaders, and volunteers to make this year’s five-city, whistle-stop tour, the best yet.

Kids nationwide could join in #HurricaneStrong activities by participating in the 2016 Hurricane Drill on the #HurricaneStrong Kids website. Activities included tracking mock Hurricane S.W.I.F.T. and a free hurricane webinar for grades 4, 5, and 6 which was broadcast live from Galveston. The webinar was presented by the Hurricanes: Science and Society team at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography in partnership with the NOAA National Hurricane Center and the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center.

The HAT daily itinerary offered leaders, teachers, students, and the general public an opportunity to tour the hurricane hunter aircraft, learn about hurricane resilience, and interact with FLASH Partners/NOAA WeatherReady Nation Ambassadors, including American Red Cross, FIU, Kohler Generators, Portland Cement Association, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm, University of Rhode Island, and USAA. Attendees became part of a mitigation movement trend as they learned about the #HurricaneStrong campaign and struck the signature “pose”.

For more information on the #HurricaneStrongKids website, visit HurricaneStrong/Kids.php.


Silver Jackets Webinar: Using Serious Games to Improve Flood Risk Awareness and Build Resilience

A Silver Jacket webinar was held on May 17th entitled: Using Serious Games to Improve Flood Risk Awareness and Build Resilience. Serious or applied games incorporate gaming elements into simulations of real-world events or processes to promote problem solving and ‘learning by doing.’ It is not a new concept, and many fields including military, health, business, and education have used games to educate, train and motivate the player. The Silver Jackets webinar explores how serious games have been used by the USACE and others to improve flood risk awareness, identify solutions to manage risk, and improve resilience.

Elizabeth Eide, Director of the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and the Water Science and Technology Board for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine moderated the panel discussion. She set the stage by providing background on the advantages of using serious games to build disaster resilience and the positive challenges of game development.

The panel showcased three serious games that use different formats but have a common goal of improving flood risk awareness (as well as for other hazards) and identifying solutions to make a community more resilient.

*Michelle Schultz, Enterprise GIS Specialist at USACE Omaha District, demonstrated the Missouri River Balancer, an animated video game that provides insight into the challenges of operating the Missouri River reservoir system for multiple purposes, including flood risk management.

*Patrice Legro, Director of the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences, described Extreme Events, a role-playing game developed in collaboration with the Resilient America Roundtable to help communities learn how to work together to identify the resources needed to become more resilient during a disaster.

*Harvey Hill from the USACE Institute for Water Resources, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy Fellow, shared how competitive Multi-Hazard Tournaments can improve flood risk awareness and result in innovative risk reduction solutions that address multiple hazards.

The Serious Games webinar that was held May 17th is now posted on the Silver Jackets website along with all previous held SJ webinars.  It was well attended with about 125 participants.  You can watch the slides and hear the recording through this site: