FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards
FEMA Region I
Voluntary Agency Liaisons
John.Stewart@dhs.gov Arlene Magoon
The Voluntary Agency Liaisons at Region I have created this newsletter to share information among State VALS, State VOAD and COAD members and leadership, the inter faith community, Citizen Corps groups and other interested parties. Via the newsletter, we will share information on upcoming meetings, trainings, conferences, examples of best practices, and papers of interest.
VOAD members and other voluntary groups interested in helping communities be prepared for all hazards might consider one of the following ideas during Preparedness Month!
Nursing Home Emergency Preparedness
Collaborate on the development of a new outreach program
Bring senior preparedness knowledge to nursing home populations
Help nursing home patients plan for emergencies
Encourage nursing home facilities to develop and practice their safety and evacuation plans
Be an instructor in community’s school or summer camp
Assist in delivering emergency kits and lesson materials to schools in your state
Help support an already existing education program in your area for sustainability
Help establish a Community Emergency Response Team
Co-sponsor a CERT Train the Trainer Course
Collaborate with an existing CERT team for projects you are already working on
National Preparedness Month Outreach
Staff a table at a preparedness conference occurring in your state
Attend a community outreach presentation at a school, baseball game, or other venue
Participate in grass roots marketing campaigns on emergency preparedness.
Vermont 2-1-1 staff, health officials, school officials and members of local CERT’s will be participating in the Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP) training program offered by Homeland Security. The STEP program is a “train the trainer” preparedness education project for people who work with students at the 5th grade level. Students will learn strategies for dealing with various types of emergencies and will act as agents to share this awareness with family members.
To learn more about the STEP Program and other Preparedness Activities for oncoming Preparedness month contact Michelle Collins 627-956-7544 or email@example.com
Visits to Region I by the Office of Faith Based Initiatives Director, David Myers, will take place early this fall in Worcester MA for the southern New England States and Concord, NH for the northern New England States. Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
The FEMA's Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is one of the 12 federal agency offices/centers under President Obama’s Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The role of the center is to maximize the appropriate participation of faith-based and community organizations in Departmental programs.
The mission of FEMA's Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is to build resilient communities among faith-based and community organizations. In collaboration with federal, state and local partners, the Center supports the FEMA’s strategy of sustainable risk management by building capacity and resiliency among faith-based and community organizations.
The FEMA's Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives strategic activities include:
Develop policy and protocols for the engagement of faith-based and community organizations in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiatives;
Develop and coordinate DHS outreach efforts to disseminate information more effectively to faith-based and community organizations with respect to programs, contracting opportunities, and other agency initiatives;
Provide opportunities for unaffiliated faith-based and community organizations to formally engage in emergency preparedness, response and recovery activities by building strategic relationships with voluntary organizations active in disasters and with state and local emergency management professionals;
Co-sponsor joint training efforts with the DHS and other local, state and federal government entities to build the capacity of faith-based and community organizations to engage in DHS related efforts.
You can read more about the initiative and learn about David Meyers in the website;
< http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/editorial_0829.shtm >
Faith based leaders interested in hearing from David Myers and participating in a discussion at one of the two New England events are encouraged to call (617) 956-7605 or e mail John Stewart, John.Stewart@dhs.gov or Arlene Magoon, Arlene.Magoon@dhs.gov.
Feeding many? What’s the Plan?
FEMA in partnership with USDA, ARC, Southern Baptists and others, developed a Feeding Task Force Standard Operation Procedure. This template is designed to assist States in acquiring food through a blanket purchase agreement as was done in Hurricanes Gustav and Ike last fall.
If your organization is planning to assist in feeding during disaster this document is a must! It can help you communicate what you need in order to fulfill your mission to help others. You can obtain a draft by emailing John Stewart firstname.lastname@example.org
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FEMA & Voluntary Organizations Focus on Children
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is starting to broaden its plan to incorporate children and their needs as the government prepares for disasters. Most disaster plans are crafted around adult populations, and people with specific needs, such as children, are often an afterthought, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said in an interview with The Associated Press “A new FEMA working group will focus on specific guidance for evacuating, sheltering and relocating children; helping childcare centers, schools and child welfare programs prepare for disasters; and making disaster preparation part of the Homeland Security Department's grant programs. The working group's findings could mean changes to the country's blueprint for disaster response, known as the National Response Framework”. (Associated Press)
Several of our New England State VOADs have expressed concern for vulnerable populations in disaster and recovery. Below is a list of organizations specifically targeting the needs of children in disaster. If you would like to learn more about these organizations and partner with them through your State VOAD, please take the opportunity and to contact them.
FEMA focus on children's needs during disasters
P.O. Box 10660
Portland, ME 04104-6060
1-207-781-8550 x 123
Provides ongoing and long-term recovery services for individuals and families, including temporary & permanent housing assistance for low income families, counseling programs for childrenand the elderly, and special counseling for disaster relief workers.
Provides relief stage services including shelter and emergency food.
(Works closely with UMCOR)
Brethren Disaster Ministries
Children’s Disaster Services
Atlantic Northeast District
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) alleviates disaster-related anxiety in children through specially trained and certified volunteers.
Provides children a safe, secure and comforting environment in shelters and assistance centers.
Offers specialized care for children experiencing grief and trauma.
Educates parents and caregivers on how to help children cope.
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)
Provides spiritual and emotional care to disaster victims and long-term care of children impacted by disaster.
Save the Children
Provides disaster relief services for children in shelters including food, clothing, diapers, evacuation backpacks. Also provides supervision in designated areas within shelters.
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Save the Children
Save the Children is a voluntary organization whose vision is a world in which every child is ensured the right to survival, protection, development and participation. The organization maintains strong teams of emergency responders. A team can deploy within hours of an emergency to conduct rapid assessments and drive Save the Children's initial response. To support surge capacity in medium and large-scale emergencies, Save the Children has Regional Emergency Response Teams that can also be deployed on short notice. Regional teams function as a network of trained specialists that provide programmatic guidance in an immediate response and in the development of long-term solutions.
Save the Children is a National VOAD partner. Please contact them and if you have not seen their presentation, invite Kate Dischino, our regional representative, to your next VOAD meeting.
The American Red Cross (ARC) works through a network of 740 local chapters providing disaster and emergency preparedness, response and recovery services for most disaster incidents in the CONUS and OCONUS. Chartered by the United States Congress, the ARC strives to meet the needs of disaster survivors nationwide.
For years the American Red Cross served as the primary agency to respond to mass care issues during presidentially declared disasters. During the implementation of the National Response Framework in 2008, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) expanded its role in emergency response and was designated as the primary agency for Mass Care and Emergency Assistance functions.
FEMA recognized the value and expertise that the ARC could bring to the table in response to these disasters. Realizing the value in partnership and the effect these two agencies working together can provide, FEMA and ARC under a Memorandum of Understanding, agreed to a formal partnership with a goal of strengthening overall response to disasters. In March, 15 representatives of the American Red Cross were hired as subject matter experts to be embedded at FEMA regions across the country to supplement, support and partner on issues related to Mass Care and Emergency Assistance.
Here at Region I, we were joined by ARC Special Representative Mike Fawcett, former Director of Emergency Services for the Greater Manchester Chapter of the ARC (NH). Mike brings a wealth of technical disaster operations knowledge, field experience and a wonderful ability to foster and support critical relationships between voluntary agencies throughout our region. Mike is hard at work, hand in hand with John Stewart and Arlene Magoon, to increase the integration and coordination of agencies in the mass care planning efforts of tribal, local, state, and federal partners. The FEMA – ARC partnership is just one of the hundreds of examples of how agencies working together can make a real difference in disaster response. Mike plans to attend State VOAD meetings throughout New England over the next few months with John and Arlene, to roll his sleeves up and get to work on a variety of issues. In coming issues, look for articles authored by Mike discussing partnerships, preparedness, planning and a wide variety of other entertaining tidbits!
Mike can be reached at
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Innovative Cross State Collaboration
New England’s unique regional structure, having six states that could fit within the borders of Texas, means unique challenges for NE State VOADs. As a team we look to foster cross-state relationships that compliment the VOAD mission. Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont State VOAD organizations have been in discussions to promote standardized practices, policies and procedures. The Northern Tri-State group, as they call themselves, is collaborating to facilitate cross-border coordination, cooperation and communication among voluntary agencies.
Brent Trueworthy, Co Chair of ME VOAD has been spearheading the effort. Three State VOAD Chairs and their State Emergency Management counterparts will continue to meet and establish next steps toward cross-border collaboration. FEMA VALs will report progress in the Update in coming months. If you want further information please contact Brent Trueworthy, Maine VOAD - < email@example.com>
Lessons Learned Information Sharing
Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS.gov) is the national network of Lessons Learned and Best Practices for emergency response providers and homeland security officials. LLIS.gov's secure, restricted-access information is designed to facilitate efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to acts of terrorism and other incidents across all disciplines and communities throughout the US. LLIS.gov provides free and secure access to a validated member community of emergency preparedness and response professionals. This information-sharing community contributes to a one-stop resource for after-action reports, plans, templates, guidance, and original research.
As a VOAD member, you can access this information and here is how:
Access to the system is restricted to registered users. To register for a new LLIS.gov account, please go to www.LLIS.gov and click on the “” tab. When you are asked for your ’Employment Verification’ information on the sign up page, please reach out to any of the FEMA Regional Voluntary Agency Liaisons or headquarters team to coordinate POC information, if interested in gaining access to LLIS.
Protocols for Bringing Volunteers or Supplies over the Canadian Boarder
The International Emergency Management Assistance Compact or IEMAC is a mechanism to facilitate the transportation of volunteers and supplies across the border for disaster response. Each of our six New England States is a member. The International Emergency Management Group (IEMG) provides for the possibility of mutual assistance in managing an emergency or disaster among participating jurisdictions.
Through a Memorandum of Understanding (The Compact), and in support of Resolution 23-5 of Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, the IEMG also supports the process of planning, mutual cooperation, and emergency-related exercises, testing and other training activities.
To ensure a smooth border crossing contact your State Office of Emergency Management. They may ask you to fill out an International Mutual Aide Request Form that can be found on the IEMAC website, http://www.iemg-gigu-web.org/index-e.asp Page of 7
Projects from the Region
Regional Resource Guides In an effort to create “one stop” resource guides outlining voluntary agency resource capacity, Region I VALs, Arlene and John, have partnered with Red Cross Special Representative, Mike Fawcett, and Regional ARC Disaster Officer, Suzie Davidson, to compile a state by state “atlas” of VOAD resources. The resource will include information on shelter locations, demographics, warehouses, etc. The atlas will capture information in a Geographic Information System or GIS. We hope to produce some useful maps, contact lists, and risk information that we can share with state emergency managers and VOAD members in the future.
If there is any information that you feel we need to identify in the resource guide that would help your organization’s mission, please let us know.
Multi Agency Shelter and Support strategy Refining the Multi Agency Shelter Assessment and Support Group, John continues working with the model at a national level. He recently had the opportunity to present the concept and lessons learned from Hurricane Ike, to the Region II RISC meeting in New York and the National VOAD Conference in Salt Lake City. In June, during the FEMA Individual Assistance Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the model was presented to states emergency managers and voluntary organizations. Response to the strategy at all of the presentations has been favorable.
Voluntary organizations and state department partners are considering how they might participate in Multi-Agency Shelter Assessment and Support if a disaster occurred near them. Barring a hurricane this fall, FEMA HQ Individual Assistance division plans to convene a Multi Agency work group in Washington DC to finalize Standard Operating Procedures. An anticipated outcome of the workgroup is to create a template which can be used by states to develop their own process for using this approach.
If your VOAD would like to learn more about sheltering and this multi agency collaboration, please call John and ask him about presenting the strategy at your next VOAD meeting
Volunteers and Donations management Operations Annex Region I VALs are developing the Volunteer Agencies and Donations Management section of the Region I Operations Plan. This will include the nuts and bolts of a Region I response and recovery to large scale disasters. All phases of disaster response will be included, from the response stage at the Regional Response Coordination Center, the transition to the Joint Field Office, and Long Term Recovery operations. John and Arlene will be sharing the draft plan at future State VOAD meetings and requesting input from VOAD agencies.
Developing community, state and federal partnerships into collaborative, functional workgroups is the idea behind Emergency Support Function #14- Community Long Term Recovery. ESF #14 is different from Long Term Recovery for Individuals and Families. Its purpose is to strengthen coordination between stakeholder agencies by sharing information, resources and simplifying access to services and financial resources that affect an entire town, region or State. Community rebuilding and recovery through jointly resolving incident affected conditions can strengthen neighborhood resilience and hasten recovery.
ESF #14 is used in catastrophic events in situations where the routine federal, state, tribal and local disaster assistance mechanisms are insufficient.
State and local priorities serve as the bases for all Long Term Community Recovery.
ESF #14 does not have funding authority apart from its member agency authorities.
Interagency coordination and support of federal, state, tribal and local Long-Term Community Recovery efforts.
Collaboration across federal, state, tribal, local, and private sector.
Region I representatives for ESF 14 are: Fred Vanderschmidt, Deputy Disaster Assistance Division Director, Tim Seifert, Public Assistance, and Arlene Magoon, Individual Assistance. They recently participated in a training to help Region I be prepared for disaster that might affect an entire town or region. There is no right or wrong way to coordinate a state wide or community recovery system. Every state and every disaster will be different but if a statewide structure/model is in place before a disaster then the agencies and workers will have a smoother, more coordinated way to expedite assistance to the local communities that are affected.
Over the next few months you may hear more about ESF 14. Some of the discussions will involve creating a plan with pre-developed tools that would include the local voluntary, community, faith-based and government level groups.