Member Update – March 6


MEMBER UPDATE March 6, 2015

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Message from NHMA President Ed Thomas


  1. New Employee of NHMA.

I would like to introduce all of you to our new, part time employee, Jeni Farque from Lafayette, LA.

Jeni is a long-time NHMA member and has worked for us recently on several important projects, including the development of the DRAFT NHMA Report on Safe Rooms in Oklahoma. That Report, is well worth reading, not just with respect to safe rooms, but also for the implications for the methods, which must be used to induce similar changes in both risk perception and individual and community action to deal with foreseeable natural events. The draft is available at:

  1. Volunteers Needed!

As always we need your participation!

Volunteers are needed for important climate adaptation/hazard mitigation work for NHMA. Many such opportunities exist including work in grants writing/fundraising, preparation of articles for this Member Update, preparation for the NHMA Newsletter, preparation of comments on important policy documents such as the extremely important National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) documents on the development of local resilience standards as well as the proposed new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard described in the last edition of this Member Update.

Other Items of Interest…

NIST Awards $20 Million for Research Center to Help Communities Increase Resilience to Disaster

San Diego—The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today that it has awarded a $20 million cooperative agreement to Colorado State University(CSU) and a number of other educational institutions to establish the Community Resilience Center of Excellence.

This center is part of a larger effort by NIS to support local disaster risk reduction through the development of standards to be used at the local level. As reported in the last edition of the NHMA Member Update, NIST hosted the fourth in a series of workshops on Disaster Resilience of Communities on February 18-19, 2015 in San Diego, California.   Both Katie Skakel and Ed Thomas attended representing NHMA. Information about this NIST initiative is available at the following link:

The NHMA representatives stressed the need for peer to peer education and networking along the lines of our Disaster Risk Reduction Ambassador & Resilient Neighbors Network programs.

NIST is seeking to develop “a first generation framework that will provide a methodology for all communities to improve their resilience to hazard events, maintain their social fabric during and after disruptive events, and increase their economic prosperity.  The Framework is the first step in a long-term, stakeholder-driven process to provide communities with guidance to withstand and more rapidly recover from disruptive events.”

NIST believes that the framework is at about 75% completion and actively is seeking comments.

Volunteers to work with Katie and Ed on developing NHMA comments are needed and would be most welcome! Contact either Katie [ ] or Ed [ ] if interested:

NIST has posted an updated draft of the Disaster Resilience Framework for review. NIST indicates that the posted draft “benefits from comments received during previous workshops, public input from a diverse body of stakeholders, and the contributions of the NIST Disaster Resilience Fellows.”

We very much need to make comments on this matter which potentially has great impact on local government! 

Request for Assistance from NHMA Member Dr. John Kiefer:


Here at the University of New Orleans, one of my MPA students, Kim VanWagner, is working on her final project.  Kim is going to suggest policy initiatives that would link and promote “ageing in place” best practices in mitigation and recovery efforts.  AARP, among other organizations, has promoted the concept of “ageing in place.”  We agree this is a noble goal.  Here in Louisiana, we have the lowest rates of transience of any state…i.e. our people don’t move as often as other areas of the country, so Louisiana is a good place to start promoting ageing in place efforts.

We’ve done a good literature review, and haven’t found much linking mitigation and recovery to ageing in place.  For example, how can the NFIP encourage people to rebuild with ageing in place in mind?  What can be done to convince a 35-year old couple to rebuild their home to exceed local building standards with an eye toward ageing in place….for example, wider doorways for possible wheelchair access, minimal stairs, higher electrical outlets, and even an elevator if the home is raised well-above flood levels.  Other than the elevator in this example, most of the other costs are nominal to a NFIP payout, but if required would promote ageing in place.

We’re interested in finding out if any of you might be working related projects or if you can suggest a POC at FEMA that might champion this coupling of mitigation/recovery and ageing in place.



John J. Kiefer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director
Master of Public Administration Program
254 Milneburg Hall, 2000 Lakeshore Drive
University of New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana  70148
504-280-3842 (phone), 504-280-3838 (fax)

Stories from the Field

Digital Coast Data and Tools in Action

Mapping the Ocean’s Recreational Uses

Creating a recreational use data set involves gathering first-hand ocean use data from a variety of users, which is a time-consuming task. NOAA has designed a process that is much more efficient and effective—user workshops. Visit this website to learn more about the process. The Digital Coast and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean used this process very successfully. Learn more here.

Natural disasters used to be so much worse. The number of deaths from natural disasters has been steadily declining since the 1920’s.

Economist Max Roser tweeted a chart on Friday morning showing this trend, which is based on data from the International Disaster Database. It’s one of many trends identified by Roser that show how much the world is improving.

A clearer version of the chart can be found at this site

News from our Coastal Colleagues

New Interactive Storm Surge Inundation Map

new interactive story map displays storm surge flooding scenarios for the entire U.S. using different hurricane strength scenarios. Storm surge can affect areas several miles inland from the shore, a fact made clear with this map. The National Hurricane Center hopes people will use the tool to determine if they might be at risk—and then plan for the next tropical storm or hurricane before it hits.

Hello CPCB Partners,

Please find below three news items that may be of interest. Feel free to spread the word widely – these were too exciting to save until our next newsletter! For more information, visit the provided links, or reach out to your nearest CPCB contact. 

Flood Risk Management Session Feedback and Listening Sessions – FEMA and other federal partners will be offering a series of listening sessions on the implementation of the new federal flood risk management standard. These sessions provide the opportunity to learn more about the Standard, ask questions, and provide feedback on how federal agencies implement the Standard. Sessions will be held in Ames, Iowa (3/3); Biloxi, Mississippi (3/5); Mather, California (3/11); and Norfolk, Virginia (3/11). Click here for more information, announcements of additional sessions, and information about providing feedback on implementing the standard.

Mitigation Innovation Webinar – DHS’ Science and Technology Capacity Building Webinar series will offer a discussion of “Mitigation Innovation” on Thursday, March 5, at 1 p.m. EST. This event will offer an overview of a few programs that offer scientific and technological strategies to help communities prevent, protect against, and minimize damages caused by disasters such as floods, earthquakes, high winds and fires. Click here for more information and to register.

Effective Coordination of Recovery Resources guide – FEMA recently announced the release of the new guidance document Effective Coordination of Recovery Resources for State, Tribal, Territorial and Local Incidents. This recovery coordination guide outlines best practices and approaches for states, tribes, and territories to help enable a more effective recovery for local communities after an incident of any size or scale.

Kehla West
Capacity Building Branch
Community Planning and Capacity Building Recovery Support Function
Office of Federal Disaster Coordination
500 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
Phone: 202.527.0251

The Maui County Hazard Mitigation Planning Steering Committee invites all Maui County residents to help update the countywide Hazard Mitigation Plan – see link above. 

Articles & Editorials

Graduate Assistant Positions for Project on Climate Resilience of Water on Tribal Lands in the American West

The Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University invites applications from students with an interest in working on research related to the resilience of water management to climate impacts on tribal lands in the Western United States.  Full funding will be provided for students interested in completing our MSES ( or MPA ( programs.  The support will be part of a 5-year grant award examining climate resilience, governance institutions and water policy on tribal lands.  Ideally, applicants will have training and experience in public policy, environmental policy, economics, political science or a related social science discipline.  Successful applicants will work in a highly interdisciplinary research environment.  Duties may include fieldwork and outreach, survey and interview data collection, and data analysis and presentations of research.

Note to our members:

With your member support and involvement, we look forward to continuing the promotion of natural hazard risk reduction and climate adaptation through a Whole Community approach. Please consider supporting this mission by maintaining your membership (which can be renewed here) or through a tax-deductible donation (which can be done here). If you prefer to donate via check, please download this form.

 Note about website changes:

In an effort to better serve our membership, some changes have been made to our website. Job post submissions can now be made online using the link at the top of the job post page. Also, NHMA’s work is made possible by the dedication of volunteers. Please visit our volunteer page and consider contributing your time to the cause of natural hazard risk reduction.

Please remember to send any mitigation related announcements, articles, and resources to for inclusion in our updates.