Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Prepare Your Community for Winter Flooding Risks

The arrival of cold weather doesn't mean that the risk of flooding is over. In fact, winter often brings severe conditions such as snow, heavy rains, melting, and ice jams, which can pose major problems for home and business owners in your community. In coastal areas, winter storms such as Nor’easters often generate high winds that can cause widespread beach erosion and coastal flooding.

Some communities in western states face days and even weeks of rain during the winter months, and others face an increased risk of flooding because of wildfires that burn away vegetation and leave the ground barren and unable to absorb water. Near the end of the season, melting snow can flow into lakes, streams and rivers, causing excess water to spill over their banks or overtop levees.

Now is a good time to ensure that residents of your community are protected by flood insurance. Encourage them to visit to learn about their flood risk and find an agent who can protect them with a flood insurance policy. In addition, visit FloodSmart’s new partner section at to learn about the wide variety of communications tools that are available to you, such as:

• Testimonials from home and business owners impacted by flooding.
• Shareable interactive tools that you can post on your own websites.
• A Map Updates Toolkit and links to information about map changes around the United States, which will help residents of your community better understand their flooding risks.
• A Flood Outreach Toolkit, which provides resources to help the audiences you communicate with on a regular basis (other community officials, the public and the media) understand the importance of flood preparedness and protection. The materials are designed to support your outreach to victims of flood disasters. The materials include core messages and information about flood risk and flood insurance that are appropriate for use in most areas of the country. Find this toolkit online at

Two-Year PRP Eligibility Extension Working Well Two-Year PRP Eligibility Extension Continues to Benefit Policyholders

On January 1, 2011, FEMA launched a new rating option called the Two-Year Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension that enables property owners who find themselves newly mapped into high-risk areas to save money on their policies. To help launch the new rating option, FEMA used the FloodSmart campaign to reach out to the public, agents, WYOs, community officials and other stakeholder groups.

The purpose was to inform them about the new cost-savings option and how property owners could apply. The various stakeholder groups showed great support by sharing the information.

FEMA recently updated a WYO industry committee on its progress and reported that 40,000 PRP Extensions are currently in force (through August 2011), with up to 100,000 expected by year’s-end. FEMA complimented and thanked the WYOs, agents, and community officials for helping make this a successful launch!

Make sure as your county or community goes through a mapping change that you are promoting both grandfathering and the 2-Year PRP Extension as well. For more information, go to

AnnouncementsNFIP Extended Until December 16 - With the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) facing expiration on November 18, 2011, Congress passed on November 17th (and the President then signed) a short-term funding bill that included an extension of the NFIP. This extension expires on December 16, 2011. It is important that insurance agents and WYO companies continue to monitor the status of the NFIP. Should the Program lapse, FEMA has issued updated guidance for agents and WYOs in NFIP Bulletin W-11084


Share your thoughts on this newsletter - As part of our continuing effort to ensure that our newsletter is meeting your needs, we are soliciting input on its content, frequency, and subject matter. Please let us know what you think by emailing us at

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Preparing to Recover

After a major disaster, you may need financial
assistance and will want to document any property
loss for insurance and income tax purposes. Having
ready access to the documents necessary for
completing application forms, as well as those which
could be difficult to replace, will help reduce delay
and frustration.

At A Minimum:
1. Gather property insurance papers (home,
auto, boat, etc.) and make copies.

2. Gather health insurance papers (medical
provider, dental provider, life, extended
disability, etc.) and make copies.

3. Gather financial papers (bank, investment,
retirement, etc.) and make copies.

4. Gather wills, powers of attorney, and estate
papers and make copies.

5. Take photos or videos of all valuables as
documentation for insurance claims.

• store these copies and photos in a safe
deposit box, or in a ziplock bag in your
freezer (you may want to disguise these
documents by putting them in a clean box
like a frozen pizza box).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nationwide EAS test - it was a test

Well, that is what tests are for, right? Obviously, the first ever nationwide test of the emergency alert system had some difficulties today. Some stations did not receive the message from FEMA, some had no audio or garbled audio and some stations ran the test just fine.

FEMA and the FCC were testing this nationwide code system in order to find out what works and what didn't. The message went directly from FEMA to the state distribution points. Oregon Office of Emergency Management is NOT a distribution point. We will, however, work with the Federal Government as needed to make the system work properly in the future.

The good news is that the state system works perfectly and Oregonians will always get the messages through our local system.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Nationwide EAS test 11:00 a.m. in Oregon

As part of their ongoing efforts to keep our country and communities safe during emergencies, the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Emergency Management Agency will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The EAS test plays a key role in ensuring the nation is prepared for all hazards, and that the U.S. public can receive critical and vital information, should it ever be needed.

The first nationwide test will be conducted Wednesday, November 9 at 2 p.m. ET. This test may last up to three and a half minutes, and will be transmitted via television and radio stations within the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. Similar to local emergency alert system tests, an audio message will interrupt television and radio programming indicating: "This is a test." When the test is over, regular programming will resume.

For more information about the nationwide Emergency Alert System test, please visit and On November 9 at 2 p.m. EDT, please remember: Don't stress; it's only a test.
· FEMA Administrator's Message - In English
· FEMA Administrator's Message - In Spanish
· FEMA Press Release -
· FEMA Blog -
· FCC Website -

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 9 – This is a TEST!

On Wednesday, November 9 at 11:00 a.m. Oregonians will hear on their radios and see on their televisions a test of the emergency alert system (EAS). The test will last approximately three (3) minutes. Normal programming will return following the test. This is a nationwide test organized by the FCC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

This test will be different than those we have had in the past. The November 9 test will utilize a "live" national alert code, i.e., a coded message that will present itself as an actual emergency announcement, not a test. This is necessary in order to allow FCC and FEMA to test the actual working order reliability of legacy EAS equipment and the state of readiness of EAS operators and participants. Television stations are being encouraged to run a scroll at the bottom of the screen throughout the test stating that it is just a test.

Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM), FEMA, Broadcasters, NOAA and many other agencies are diligently trying to get the word to people that this is, in fact, a test. Often, citizens who are unsure of whether the alert is real or a test, place calls to 911 which tie up the phone lines for legitimate emergencies.

If anyone has questions about the test, please do NOT call 911. Please tell your neighbors and friends about this test so that Oregonians will be the most informed of all the states and will not be caught off guard by this unusual test of the EAS equipment.

More information can be found at