Preparedness Newsletter

This Digest is provided by FEMA's Individual & Community Preparedness Division to highlight community preparedness and resilience resources, an important part of FEMA's mission to help people before, during, and after disasters. We're building a culture of preparedness together.

Individual and Community Preparedness Division January 2022 Newsletter: Winter Safety, 10th Anniversary of YPC and More

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Individual & Community Preparedness Newsletter


Ready Tips

Weathering Winter Storms 

If the weather outside is frightful, make sure you're prepared to safely brave snow, ice, and other winter weather hazards.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

Pay attention to watches and warnings. A Winter Weather Advisory is issued for snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle and sleet that will cause inconveniences and can be hazardous if you're not cautious. A Winter Storm Watch is an alert to the possibility of a blizzard or snow, freezing rain, or sleet that could be heavy. It's issued 12 to 48 hours before a winter storm. When a Winter Storm Warning is issued, heavy snow, freezing rain or sleet is expected soon or may be occurring already. These warnings usually come out 12 to 24 hours before the storm. Sign up for your community's warning system. The Emergency Alert System and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.

Stock up before the storm. You may not have to deal with crowds at the grocery store when a storm warning is issued if you already have a supply of water and food that doesn't need to be cooked if you lose power. Make sure you also have flashlights and extra batteries. Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from your home's doors and windows.

Limit your time outside. Stay off the roads if possible. Keep your car's gas tank full and keep an emergency kit that includes a blanket in your car. If you need to go out, wear layers of warm clothing.

Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers and toes. If it occurs, go to a warm room, and soak the affected part in warm water. Do not massage or use a heating pad. Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency. Signs include shivering, exhaustion, slurred speech, or drowsiness. In a warm room, warm the center of the body first and wrap in warm blankets, including the head and neck.

Check on neighbors. Consider connecting by phone, email, text, video chat, and/or via social media.

Get help with heating bills if needed. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills. To find out if you are eligible to receive LIHEAP benefits, contact your state LIHEAP office . For help call: 1-866-674-6327.

Visit for more information.


CERT & Communities

CERTs Work to Include the Whole Community 

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve can better understand residents' needs and communicate with them about disaster preparation and response.

For example, as Miami Beach's Community Emergency Response Team program liaison, Irene Valines developed an approach she calls “filling holes in the whole community.” In a city where about 57 percent identify as Hispanic, she plans to offer CERT Basic Training in Spanish led by team volunteers who speak the language.

Her team also recently partnered with the Jewish Learning Center to provide CERT Basic Training to members of the Orthodox Jewish community. They worked to schedule classes that didn't conflict with their religious holidays or the Sabbath.

The CERT Program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area. It trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations.

CERT is about empowering the community. We foster an atmosphere of inclusivity,” Valines said. “If people are not given the tools in a language they understand, it just makes the process of preparedness more difficult—for the people as well as the public safety professionals. You must properly communicate safety messages and information that they can share with their families, neighbors, and co-workers.”

Like the Miami Beach CERT, teams around the country are working to include the whole community to strengthen their programs. One way they're doing that is using the CERT Basic Training materials that FEMA has translated into five languages. These include Spanish , Vietnamese , Korean , and traditional and simplified Chinese . Read more...

Emergency Management Institute's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Virtual Course: K0428 Train-The-Trainer (TTT)

FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) will offer the K0428 CERT Train-the-Trainer course online. The course dates and other course-related information are listed below.

Course Description : This course prepares participants to deliver FEMA's CERT Basic Training course.

2022 Course Dates : 

  • January 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20 (12 – 4 p.m.)

  • February 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 (1 – 5 p.m.)

  • March 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 (12 – 4 p.m.)

  • April 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14 (1 – 5 p.m.)

  • June 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 (12 – 4 p.m.)

  • July 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 (1 – 5 p.m.)

  • September 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 (12 – 4 p.m.)

*Class size limited to 20 students. All times are EST . Each course offering meets 3 days per week for 4 hours for 2 consecutive weeks. Students must attend all sessions of their delivery.

Who should attend : The audience for this course includes those who will have or currently have either of the following responsibilities: serves as the course manager for the CERT Basic Training course or serves as a CERT Basic Training course instructor.

Location : These courses will be delivered in a virtual environment, completely online via Adobe Connect. Familiarize yourself with Adobe Connect . Students will use a course link to enter as guests. No Adobe Connect account or download of Adobe will be required.

Cost : No cost. Students must have a FEMA Student Identification number (SID), computer with microphone, speaker, and stable access to the internet. Visit the FEMA Student Identification System to obtain a SID. 

Prerequisites :

  1. A referral from a CERT-sponsoring agency, typically a local, regional, or state government agency.
  2. If you are not a first responder, the CERT Basic Training is required.
  3. For current first responders, IS-317: Introduction to CERT , will familiarize you with the CERT Program. 

To Apply:


Children and Disasters

Application Period Opens for the National Youth Preparedness Council 

Starting on January 24, teens with a passion for preparedness can apply to join FEMA's Youth Preparedness Council (YPC)! The council offers an opportunity for teens to share their ideas and feedback with FEMA, grow their leadership skills, and develop preparedness projects. Members also participate in an annual summit with FEMA leaders and preparedness professionals to network and learn more about the field of emergency management.

This year marks the YPC's 10 th anniversary. FEMA created the council in 2012 to bring together young leaders from across the country who are passionate about emergency preparedness and making a difference in their communities. Since then, hundreds of young people have served on both the FEMA National Youth Preparedness Council and various FEMA Regional councils. Throughout the years, members have started preparedness clubs at their schools, hosted fairs and events in their communities, led Teen Community Emergency Response Teams , and developed a variety of preparedness materials, from children's books to informative videos. Throughout their time on the council, members also exercise and grow their leadership and emergency management skills.

Interested students can apply online . The application period begins January 24, 2022 and closes March 6, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Save the date! On January 20, 2022 at 8 p.m. EST, FEMA will host a webinar for potential applicants to learn more about the YPC application process and to ask FEMA staff questions about the application. Register here . Read more...

Updated Course Helps Child Care Providers Prepare

Whether they face tornados or a pandemic, floods or winter weather, child care providers must keep the kids they care for safe during many kinds of emergencies. The newly revised FEMA independent study course, Preparedness for Child Care Providers (IS-36) , can help.

This online course covers many hazards and risks that may affect child care providers. These include fires, criminal activity and child abduction, severe weather, hazardous materials, illness outbreaks, and geological events like earthquakes. The course can support safety and planning not just at child care centers and preschools, but also at before- and after-school programs, summer youth programs, and home-based child care facilities.

Preparedness for Child Care Providers also includes many tools providers can use, such as procedures for sheltering in place, emergency site closings, reunification with parents and guardians, and more. Read more...

Save Your Family Treasures

The losses that result from disasters are usually tallied in dollars. But following a disaster, the losses disaster survivors most keenly feel often end up being the items they cherish the most —photographs, a wedding video, an antique quilt, Grandma's recipe cards. In the aftermath of a disaster, these treasured keepsakes may be salvaged instead of reluctantly discarded. 

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF), co-sponsored by FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution, is a partnership of over 60 national service organizations and federal agencies that focuses on protecting cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies in our nation. In addition to assisting museums and other cultural institutions when their collections are damaged by an event, HENTF helps reduce disaster suffering by assisting the public.

HENTF offers step-by-step instruction sheets and fact sheets to help survivors stabilize their treasured objects and buy time to make an educated decision on further treatment and handling of family mementoes.  For questions or more information, please email

Region 2 Individual and Community Preparedness Annual Summary Report

Region 2's Individual and Community Preparedness (ICP) team within the National Preparedness Division is excited to release their 2021 Annual Report. The ICP program focuses on preparing individuals and communities for disasters by providing information and training, inspiring people to act and ensuring people are ready for any emergency.

This all-encompassing document tracks the many projects that ICP executed throughout the year to support the Whole Community as well as outlines on many of ICP programs. You will also learn about the challenges and successes the team faced; including how they provided COVID-19 support, developed the Community Hub in Puerto Rico and continued to deliver the well-received Preparedness Webinar series. Download the report for the full story.


Financial Preparedness

When Disaster Strikes Twice: Flood after Fire 

Floods are the most common and costly natural hazard in the nation. And after a wildfire, the charred soil and burnt vegetation can lead to a bigger risk of flooding and mudflow for up to five years or more. Whether caused by heavy rain, thunderstorms, or tropical storms, the results of flooding can be devastating. While some floods develop over time, flash floods (particularly common after wildfires) can occur within minutes after the onset of a rainstorm. Even areas that are not traditionally flood-prone are at risk, due to changes to the landscape caused by fire. Residents and businesses in areas recently affected by wildfires need to protect their physical and personal property with flood insurance now—before a weather event occurs and it's too late.

The risk of flooding after fires increases due to vegetation loss and soil exposure. Flood damage after fire is often more severe and can lead to dangerous mudflows. A mudflow occurs when rainwater moves across barren ground, picking up soil and sediment and carrying it in a stream of floodwaters. You can watch and share our 15-second and/or 30-second videos for more on mudflows. When sharing social media resources, don't forget to use our hashtags, #NFIP, #FloodInsurance, and #FloodAfterFire. Read more...

Myths vs Facts: The True Cost of Flooding 

Sometimes homeowners, renters and businesses choose not to purchase flood insurance based on myths and misinformation. This can be a costly mistake. Explore and share these facts to combat common myths, learn about the costs of flooding and flood insurance, and understand the value of flood insurance in helping people protect their property and the lives they've built.

Myth: Flood damage is covered by homeowners, renters or business property insurance.

Fact: Flood damage is NOT covered by most homeowners, renters and business property policies. FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines flooding as an excess of water on land that is normally dry, affecting two or more acres of land or two or more properties.

  • Flooding is the most common and most costly natural disaster in the United States.
  • Just one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage.

Myth: FEMA disaster assistance will cover any flood damage.

Fact: Disaster assistance is available only for areas affected by a Presidentially Declared Disaster. Disaster grants, when available, are designed to help begin the recovery process—not to restore a home to its pre-disaster condition.

  • Unlike disaster assistance, flood insurance can pay a claim regardless of whether there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
  • Federal disaster grants provide, on average, about $5,000 per household – while the average flood insurance claim payment over the past five years was about $69,000.
  • Much disaster assistance is in the form of U.S. Small Business Administration loans, which must be repaid with interest.
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Leadership Spotlight

Leading FEMA's Equity Efforts

Equity is a cornerstone of FEMA's work to ensure that everyone is prepared for disasters and has the support to recover from them. That's the mission of Jo Linda Johnson, Director of FEMA's Office on Equal Rights (OER), whether it's working to shape a discrimination-free workplace for all FEMA employees, or equal access to FEMA services for all disaster survivors.

Johnson, who's worked at FEMA since 2018, admits it's a big job.

“Here at FEMA, I own responsibility for the civil rights of 22,000+ FEMA employees internally and 300 million members of the public who encounter FEMA-funded programs and services externally. During the pandemic, that was just about everyone in the country,” she said.

Johnson's previous experience helped prepare her for leading the OER. She spent five years as Director of the Transportation Security Administration's Civil Rights Division. Before that, she worked for 12 years with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Johnson has a law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

“Leadership matters, and trust matters. When leaders are upfront, transparent, and open to conversation and feedback, great things get done. Where there is low trust, poor communication, and poor accountability, hard problems are harder,” she said.

“FEMA has so many leaders—at all levels—who take extreme ownership of problems, pass no bucks, and get hard things done. The amount of responsibility FEMA is asked to shoulder—and the scope of problems FEMA is asked to solve—for the nation is enormous.” Read more...


Important Dates





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