EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation — February 23, 2011

FEMA Listening Sessions
Strengthening Community Engagement in Preparedness
and Resilience Efforts

Paulette Aniskoff
Director, Individual and Community Preparedness Division
National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA/DHS

Avagene Moore
EIIP Moderator

The following has been prepared from a transcription of the recording. The complete slide set (Adobe PDF) may be downloaded from http://www.emforum.org/vforum/FEMA/Resilience.pdf for ease of printing.

[Welcome / Introduction]

Avagene Moore: Good morning/afternoon everyone and welcome back to EMForum.org. I am Avagene Moore and will serve as your Moderator today while Amy is on vacation. We are very glad you could join us.

Over the past several months, FEMA has been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to listen and discuss ideas for strengthening public participation in emergency management and homeland security. In particular, the goal is to learn what works well in local communities before an incident occurs and to connect these successful activities, networks, assets, and processes to preparations to withstand, respond and recover from emergencies.

We are making a recording, which should be available later this afternoon. The text transcript will be posted later on. If you are not on our mailing list, you can Subscribe from our home page, and then you will get a notice when these are ready.

[Slide 1]

Now it is my pleasure to introduce today’s guest. In 2010, Paulette Aniskoff was appointed the Director of Individual and Community Preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In this capacity Ms. Aniskoff works to prepare communities for disaster through public training, youth disaster education and volunteer service across the nation. The division is home to the Citizen Corps and CERT Programs.

Welcome Paulette and thank you very much for taking the time to be with us today. I now turn the floor over to you to start us off please.


Paulette Aniskoff: Thank you so much for welcoming me and for spending time talking about something I am, and I hope you are, very passionate about—whole community emergency management and ways that we can start working toward this goal of making sure the whole community is taken care of to the best of our ability during an emergency.

[Slide 2]

I am going to talk about philosophy for a moment. This will come up a few times. I am going to take you back to high school or college philosophy class for a moment, and what we hope to do is combine philosophy and themes that we see growing out of a lot of great programs across the country combined with the more pragmatic experience that you all have to come up with future successes.

The purpose of this conversation is to propose a premise regarding what is the underlying philosophy of emergency management and how we at FEMA and throughout our emergency management community and partnership can think about how we can best meet or mission, which may be a departure from the past.

I’m going to talk about that premise and describe how we’ve arrived at this and what it might mean. We’d like to get your feedback on whether or not it is valid and if it works.

[Slide 3]

Today’s reality—I think we all know that government capabilities are limited. In particular, for really catastrophic disaster, it is really not possible to do it on our own. That is something that we and politicians are comfortable talking about because how we engage and leverage resources and capabilities across segments of society are really going to determine if we are successful.

In order to cover the gaps and challenges we may have, we have to engage the entire community in preparing for and responding to disaster. Our plans have to reflect the makeup of a community, which can be very different depending on the community and meet needs regardless of age, socioeconomic status or accessible requirements.

[Slide 4]

Value proposition—I’m going to throw this out there and you can see if you agree or not. We can have comments at the end. We’re going to throw out a value proposition saying that a community oriented approach for emergency management that focuses in on strengthening what works well in a community already, whether that is related to disasters or not, on a daily basis is potentially the most effective path we have to building a resilient community.

Considering where we tend to focus our efforts and looking at the public’s role in emergencies as well as how limited the resources are, particularly those of you who have dealt with budget cuts across the board as many governments have, it really stands to reason that if we start to focus in on what makes communities successful and connected and committed generally, we can start using those as a model and achieve better outcome when it comes to what a resilient community could be.

When we discuss how we might look at an approach for engaging communities, I think it is important to recognize what the critical elements of community engagement are. We have started to begin a dialog with communities around the country to get their thoughts, ideas, input and recommendations to look through and discover some key elements and encourage some kind of sustained community participation, involvement, preparedness and resilience activities at the local level and also nationally.

[Slide 5]

What does this mean? To be clear—whole community emergency management—I’m just going to walk through key principles. Understanding and meeting the needs of the whole community—looking across that entire spectrum. Engaging all aspects of a community (public, private, civic) and defining those needs, and devising ways to meet what their needs are.

Learning how social activity is organized on a normal day, the community leaders who are there, the social patterns, what people organize around, points of collective organization in action, and trying to see if there are points that can be leveraged.

The last would be strengthening what works well in a community on a daily basis to improve resilience and emergency management outcomes. A few examples I would throw out there are meeting people where they are, meaning their relationships—we’ll use church as an example—relationships that already exist, what we would call pre-incident settings around issues that already have their attention and drive their day-to-day interactions.

Integrating preparedness education perhaps into local things that are already going on instead of reinventing the wheel—and I know a lot of you do this day-to-day—meeting people where they are, creating space at the table through the process of negotiation, discussion, making decisions, things that really govern local residents and involve the whole community in the full spectrum of emergency activities.

Whether that is operational planning in your world, or mitigation, recovery planning, capability identification and development, involving the community in exercises, really pulling through and making sure it is throughout all those different pieces.

The last thought on this slide is empowering local action and letting public participation lead and not follow in identifying priorities, organizing support, implementing programs and evaluating their outcome.

[Slide 6]

This is just to note that emergency managers tend to focus on managing the impacts of disasters, before and after. We all know this circle well.

[Slide 7]

Where we generally put our focus—all of these things—I don’t think any of us would cut any of these on slide seven off. These are all essential parts of the effort. But they really tend to represent just one end of what we would need to do to have a resilient community. At the other end of this line and continuum, there are activities that focus on development and health and the long term success of communities.

Integrating this broader list we’re bringing up within the framework of emergency management and expanding emergency management teams to include the full fabric of what a community is made of is the premise that I’m hoping we can explore today and get into a discussion about—how strengthening underlying community conditions can both directly and indirectly enhance the disaster resilience and how we can support a community oriented approach through emergency management.

[Slide 8]

I’ll just walk through slide eight as a starting point of how FEMA is starting to address these challenges. They are certainly engaging in a national dialog to talk about and define community oriented models that may work for emergency management.

Definitely we’ve done a lot with expanding partnerships with outside actors—certainly the private sector, advocacy groups, community organizations, and as always, state, local, and tribal governments and with individuals, in particular, survivors. There are a lot of partners we are working with regularly now.

I would say operationalizing concepts through this—meta-scenario disaster; the catastrophic planning initiative, looking at what we call at FEMA "the maximum of maximum" to build in task what we do to respond and recover against this approach.

[Slide 9]

Creating a national dialog is the first piece. Soliciting input and ideas on how to really encourage participation from a community and involvement in preparedness and resilience—it’s something we all struggle on and there are certainly best practices and good practices out there.

Conducting workshops and listening sessions—to just sit and listen to why communities are motivated to do what they do, why some communities are very engaged and why some are not, what their public understanding of what risk is, and their experience with resilience.

We then hope to take these notes that we are getting as input from communities around the country and try to synthesize them and put them into categories and articulate key scenes that come out of those discussions for potential strategies and whole community emergency management.

[Slide 10]

I’ll just walk through a few things we’re doing on a national level, domestic sessions and international. We’ve held a series of informal discussions on all of these topics at our Disability Conference, the FEMA Latino Leadership session, a Youth Summit with non-profit educators, teachers, school administrators, private sectors, CHDS, NEMA, IAEM and UASI.

Internationally, we’ve been taking part in a multi-national community resilience group. This is a topic that is certainly international. In Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K., they are collectively exploring how governments can better engage with the public to make sure that we are increasing disaster resilience and empowering citizens.

This has certainly been something on their minds as well—empowering citizens and local institutions to take an active role. It has created an international dialog that has been a very productive one.

[Slide 11]

I’m going to walk through some of the very simple things that have clearly come through in many of our sessions. They kept coming up over and over. There are certainly many different kinds of communities—geographical as well as institutional.

There are so many ways that these certain themes can manifest themselves. Each community is unique, obviously, so these are probably a little bit vague as we go, but that is in part because each community is unique and these different approaches for an engaged community might vary a bit.

I’m going to walk through some of the key themes—certainly leveraging existing relationships and networks—looking to leadership that already exists. Understanding and being receptive to community needs, meeting people where they are in things and structures that already exist, offering tangible benefits to make it relevant and address needs that they may have.

One that comes out constantly is reaching out and communicating through trusted sources. Government is not a trusted source in many communities. Legitimizing and recognizing the community’s capabilities, and empowering people to act.

[Slide 12]

There are five key policy challenges and themes that have emerged from this work to date and these themes are meant to start and expand the dialog that we’ve had collectively and encourage others to broaden the parameters in how they examine what resilience initiatives are going on in the local and various government levels.

Emerging themes include the need to understand community complexities and local realities—what they call DNA, as a place to start—the mixed nature of relationship among local government and community, and the need to rethink traditional model for state and civil society relations.

The importance of identifying and engaging and empowering community social leaders, networks, how critical it is to have social trust and the value of engagement in joint activities of genuinely building a relationship, the cross-cutting importance of how diverse residents perceive and interpret things differently and communicate issues differently, highlighting the need for really meaningful exchanges, not just messaging and outreach.

I was in a session this morning where we had a discussion back and forth about—one person in the group said, "If we had enough money and the ready campaign could be plastered everywhere, it would work and people would be prepared." Someone else said, "No, I think you’re wrong. We actually have to have their leadership translating for them and making sure it is relevant to them. It’s not just about messaging and outreach. It’s about bringing people in and making them part of what it is that is happening. It’s not just about marketing alone."

[Slide 13]

The working with new partners section—I think FEMA is trying hard to do this well and is looking for examples of what ways this is working well as other examples on the local and state level. Expanding the emergency management team to work with groups outside the federal family that we can understand and plan for the needs of community before, during and after disasters.

Aggressively increasing outreach efforts to make sure we’ve got those relationships and certainly disasters tend to be a lot about relationships when it comes to the aftermath—response and recovery. Working with new partners and reinvigorating relationships of traditional members of the team as well.

[Slide 14]

Catastrophic preparedness—this is something that FEMA has been focusing on quite a bit at the moment and determining how to improve the nation’s preparedness for catastrophic events and being in collaboration with all members of the community—planning for the big one, planning for that "maximum of maximums" catastrophic event.

If it was easy, it would have been done before. Craig Fugate always says to plan for the real, not the easy, at FEMA. Consistent with and expanding on existing emergency preparedness response systems and doctrines. Stabilizing catastrophic effects with an emphasis on that first 72 hours, which is certainly not an exact science but something that a lot of folks use around the country now—requiring a new planning framework and a targeted preparedness campaign.

[Slide 15]

Getting involved—FEMA is really hoping we can spark an expansion and transformation of what currently is happening in community engagement strategies around the country. The whole community management as a philosophy for everything we do at FEMA, as a field of practice. Perhaps some of you have heard the term "whole community" as a term, and some have not.

Craig really describes it—he probably wouldn’t use the word "philosophy" so much, but he is always talking about communities and how we need to make sure that FEMA is not the team, but state and local along with outside organizations and the private sector—constituency organizations—are all a part of the team. He has been working hard to make sure that is prevalent throughout the agency.

Supporting the development of guidance and tools, training and educational programs, all which engage and integrate the entire community in the belief that it will strengthen resilience and improve outcome. It will take time to transform how we think about, plan for and respond to disasters. We cannot afford to wait.

[Slide 16]

Next step—we are hoping and we are so grateful that you took the time to be a part of this discussion. We are going to continue the discussion across the United States. We have got some that we hope are coming up in Washington, D.C., Colorado, Arizona, Washington state, and I hope I’m not missing any. Those are the ones I can think of.

We also are hoping to establish partnerships with a community based foundation. That could be a third party intermediary. This would be a thing that could work as a third party and not through our normal government grant system, but encourage local communities to engage in being creative and being supportive in their creativity.

Building on and addressing what they need in a community—FEMA could assist in implementing through the National Challenge Program designed to really support that and expand the scale of existing community activities that are happening and encourage residents to think about and design collaborative initiatives that will enhance resilience. We hope to see that happen.

The product will be the development of short and long term action that can be taken by FEMA, members of the emergency management community nationally, our partners and stakeholders to strengthen community management in preparedness and resilience efforts across the country.

[Slide 17]

I want to make sure you can send me very specific or non-specific thoughts and perspectives. You have my personal email, [[email protected]] and also our FEMA Community Engagement address [[email protected]]. We’ve been sending out information on how this project is proceeding.

Having given a ton of feedback, there is a paper version, a PowerPoint, and when we put it out into the ether and sent it out to a lot of email lists, we’ve gotten now over 60 pages of comments, some of which are quite detailed. We’ve been going through them to determine what we can best learn from the communities that are doing this well across the country.

I wanted to walk through those. I would love now to start a discussion, and if need be, I can walk through a few specific examples of where this has worked.

Avagene Moore: Thank you very much Paulette. Now, to proceed to our Q&A.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Ric Skinner: How does FEMA plan to use or promote some of the nearly 200 suggestions submitted to Craig Fugate’s "Preparing our Communities Before a Disaster Strikes" at challenge.gov?

Paulette Aniskoff: I don’t know if I know all of the ins and outs of it, but what we are hoping to do—it has been pretty amazing to see all of the stuff that has come in. It ranges from commentary on what needs to be happening to ideas we had never known about before. From what I understand, they are hoping to pick a few winners and we are hoping to use it as an example of what we hope to do in the future, which is funding some creative ideas and finding a legal way for us to give out micro-grants (which will take awhile with the lawyers).

I know that Craig plans to announce some of the best ideas to use as either best practices or something FEMA is going to look forward to doing. I’m not sure when that is going to happen, but I know they have started asking people to be on a panel to look through and determine from the ideas that are newest and most interesting and that sort of thing.

I know there will be a winner and FEMA looks to start integrating some of the ideas that came in.

Wayne Svoboda: Seems a lot of this could/should be 'folded in' to Citizen Corps, si?

Paulette Aniskoff: Citizen Corps is within my division and I agree with you 100%. I guess the only caveat I would give it is that across the country, Citizen Corps means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In some places Citizen Corps is the ultimate way to pull in community members into planning and into everything that the emergency managers are doing.

In other places, the Council itself is not very active and they use their grant funds for CERT and CERT only, and have closer to yearly meetings. I could not agree more and I think we will look to Citizen Corps in general to give us guidance on this. It is such a great opportunity to use that network from across the country, but because they vary so much in each community, it is not as simple as saying, "Citizen Corps can take this on and continue it."

It’s very easy to see that there are lot of folks in the local community who have been thinking and doing this for years and I think it’s great that at the federal level people are catching on in a much bigger way, not that it really matters how FEMA is set up, but just as a microcosm, I would say that thinking about engaging communities used to be about Citizen Corps opposite FEMA, but nothing else.

Now, because of our new administrator I believe, planning talks about planning for the community, exercises talk about how to engage communities for the exercise and how the exercise planning needs to go for engaging communities. We’ve got logistics thinking about communities in a way they never have before.

We have the policy office listening to people in communities and talking about this. As a microcosm of what could happen we hope all over the country, it is not just about Citizen Corps. It is about having that round table but also involving each part of the emergency management team to be a part of this. It is not segregated into one program or one place.

We’ve seen that happen throughout FEMA and I’ve seen it other places as well.

Marla Kendig: You mentioned upcoming discussions in WA, AZ, and CO. What states have you already had these discussions? Have you included or will include communities where past disaster response has not been optimal (e.g. New Orleans, Ninth Ward)?

Paulette Aniskoff: I guess what we’re hoping to do—for the most part, we have been looking for things that are already happening in communities and then asking if we can potentially attend and bring this topic up. We looked across the country and folks sent in suggestions as to events that were happening.

Like in Washington, D.C., we knew there were going to be some state discussions and we asked if we could be a part of those—sort of piggy-backing on things that were already happening—it’s something we are looking forward to doing. One thing we’ve gotten requests for, and I think this would be fantastic—a few folks have asked and I’d be interested to hear if folks on the phone are interested in doing this—a kind of packaging so that this discussion could happen in any community.

A PowerPoint talking points out to any community that wanted to have this discussion—they’d be welcome to it. We have a small number of people working on this at the moment, but in order to get more feedback we’d have to see if local communities were having the same discussions, whatever community it is, whether it be New Orleans or any other that would want to get involved to make sure they have a package they can use to host the same discussion and kind of let us know how it goes and what we can learn from it. I think both of those would be great.

In the PowerPoint, I listed a few—NEMA, IAEM, the Youth Summit, the Latino Summit. Our Latino Summit that we had at FEMA, we had folks from 30 states. We try to have some events that have people from all over, and we try to go into communities for some and have folks just from that community. We wondered if we would get different themes that would come out, but have found that a lot of the themes are the same no matter what.

Amy Sebring: Can you describe the participation you have had from the private sector in these listening sessions a bit more and what types of ideas or feedback you are getting from this sector?

Paulette Aniskoff: I would say because we have such a robust private sector office at FEMA that is doing a lot of great things, we have focused more on community level organizations. I’ll walk through one great private sector example I know—involvement with the National Level Exercise.

One thing I thought was really helpful was the private sector office, and working with private sector companies—they got a lot of feedback that it is really hard to work on the National Level Exercise unless you have a fulltime staff person that only big corporations would. One of the things that we’ve often forgot that we now use as a model is for the private sector to have five tiers of play in the exercise.

When the NLE 11 comes around, some companies will be integrated on a national level. Some companies will decide to take it down a tier and decide if they want to run their own drill or table-top exercise. Some will participate virtually. Some will participate by having their own exercise within their company, or within their company and all of their locals.

Suggesting many ways that people and companies can get involved—the model we’ve used isn’t as easy for the exercise division and working group they have, but it is never about what’s easy. Offering the private sector many ways to be involved in the exercise builds that relationship and gets them to really solidify what their own plan is and how they can be helpful to us (interrupted by noise).

We’ve been able to do things like that with the private sector that now we’re using as a model to get other organizations involved for the National Level Exercise. I hope that answers your question.

Amy Romanas: Paulette, Can you please tell me if you are currently including communities outside of the United States. We are located in Richmond British Columbia and have taken the CERT training and stay in contact with Whatcom County as well as Point Roberts teams. We are undergoing research and design on community readiness to create and implement programs throughout the lower mainland here in British Columbia.

Paulette Aniskoff: The full list is probably on the slide further back. We’ve had this discussion globally with the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands and some of them are taking this on. I don’t know if we’ve been interviewing those communities, but I can see that a lot of it is a cost basis, too, on how many we can actually drive to and hit while keeping this going with the other parts of our responsibilities.

We’ve certainly been including international emergency management in the discussion about if this would be a good option for them in their countries. This has been an international discussion. I don’t know that we’ve been able to be the ones interviewing, listening and hearing those communities on a local level, mostly due to money and time.

Susan Sanderson: Some of our local Citizen Corps Councils are not including (or funding) private sector as a true partner. In speaking with other councils across the country this is also an issue. What can we do to help bridge the gap from public to private sector?

Paulette Aniskoff: Great question—one thing I’m really excited about is Administrator Fugate—there are a couple of things he thought we were not doing well enough. One was taking advantage of private sector opportunities. One of the ways we hope to start doing more, and I hope this will work with many councils, we will now have a regional person that is working on private sector and trying to look across FEMA in that region and see what we can do better when it comes to private sector and making a plan for that.

The other, and I think this is very applicable—we’ve just surveyed all the Citizens Corps councils across the country and they’ll be filling in those surveys over the next two months or so. What we hope to do is get back that information and determine where our gaps are as far as Citizen Corps councils and CERT programs go and say, "Clearly, only a small percentage are working with the faith or private sector community or whatever it might be. We really need to build tools and guidance based on that specifically.

When we get those numbers back to take a look and analyze them, we’ll have a very quantitative way of determining what our next guidance and tools package needs to be and hope that happens. All we can do is lead from above and show what we’re doing—push guidance out and try to push specific states if we see they have a lot of councils that are not doing certain things that we may think will be successful. We’ll be able to have that conversation and hopefully have the resources to back it up.

Dr. Jacqueline McBride: What is the process for grass roots, neighborhood organizations to join the "Emergency Management Team" and co-host a community discussion? Thank you!

Paulette Aniskoff: One of the best structures we have to do that is Citizen Corps. I think in many places it has been a successful grass roots discussion. If the Citizen Corps council is not productive in that way in the area where someone lives, we hope to package up this discussion so that communities could take it and pull those discussions together if they so chose.

Mike Gaffney: Are there any plans to coordinate with, and leverage, existing Community Oriented Policing activities and institutions? The "co-production of public safety" is familiar territory for COP, and the existing citizen/government connections could be used to advance disaster preparedness.

Paulette Aniskoff: I so agree. It is so interesting that you brought it up because it used to be a part of our Power Point discussion. Community policing, as well as a lot of public health initiatives have been really great models for this type of thing. We don’t feel like we have to start from scratch. The use of those partnerships and problem-solving techniques are a great model to use. We hope very much to use that as a starting point for this discussion. It is one we generally bring up in all our discussion points.

Stephanie Supko: Is FEMA considering any other major projects with community and technical colleges in addition to the C3P2 grant?

Paulette Aniskoff: I’m not sure I know the answer to that one. We are, at the moment, for the next two years, my division will be focusing on youth preparedness. We hope to start with kindergarten through fifth grade and then move on to middle school, high schools, and colleges. Clearly, there are very different needs for very different age groups.

In technical colleges, in the programs that currently have happened, I know there is a vast interest from my division and the private sector office actually does a lot with community and technical colleges as well. I think things will be coming because there is such a high interest and demand and such great work out of the colleges, but I don’t know of anything specific on the horizon.

Thomas Fahy: Will you be working with the National Weather Service building on their Storm Ready program in communities across the nation?

Paulette Aniskoff: I don’t know, in part because my division doesn’t work with them directly. The Ready Campaign and Craig Fugate in particular have been very invested in working with them and making sure we have a connection there, as well as the private sector office. I can’t answer that question because I just don’t know the details in any depth.

Christopher Effgen: As part of the UN's International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. there is a global "One million safe schools and hospitals campaign." Is this the kind of thing that your office could lend support to or promote?

Paulette Aniskoff: Actually, I believe it was the _______ office who brought that up to us and finding ways to support that, we would be very interested. Secretary Napolitano has been very interested and asked Secretary Arne Duncan, our Department of Education Cabinet Secretary to get together and talk about ways they can promote school preparedness.

She has taken such an interest to make sure we are doing all we can to make sure schools have the resources, whether they be school or grant dollars to make sure they are able to prepare. I just heard about this recently from the_______, this UN strategy. It is something we’d be very supportive of and something that we should consider connecting when it comes to that school preparedness effort.

Isabel McCurdy: Hi Paulette: How do we get our political leaders to change their ideology of not getting involved in emergency management? I cite an e.g. The former Governor of California didn't participate in their state wide earthquake drill as well as our Premier of our province of British Columba didn't either. Look at the message these leaders demonstrated.

Paulette Aniskoff: One that has been interesting to me is with the new election that happened in 2010, there are a massive number of new governors, more than there have been at any one given time in quite a long time. There has certainly been a massive outreach effort from FEMA. FEMA’s intergovernmental shop that works with governors and mayors across the country was the first to make sure that Craig Fugate gave new governors a call to make sure that was one of the first things they discussed in their new job.

They were all invited to the White House to talk about a lot of Homeland Security issues and get them integrated into what their new job means in part, which is preparedness in emergencies. We’d done a tremendous amount of outreach with governors. I think it is tough when folks have so much on their plate to make sure that they are doing everything we would like them to do.

As long as we are engaging communities to make sure they are also pushing their leadership, the best movement tends to come from the top and bottom at the same time—that’s when we tend to see the most political movement, when they’re hearing it from their constituents and leadership. As FEMA and DHS really have been doing their best to make sure governors take preparedness very seriously and know the resources within FEMA that are available for them, and that relationship is there, but it also has to come from the bottom to be successful.

I would say that is something that would be critical for community organizations to be thinking about—to make sure they are writing letters and calling the governor and making sure that happens. It can’t happen only from the top.

Amy Sebring: On your Next Steps, is there an endpoint to this phase of your efforts, that is, will there be a summary report of recommendations published? If so, when?

Paulette Aniskoff: We are actually, now that we’ve gotten these themes together, we are working out a plan of what comes next and how we can move this from theory to pragmatic and useful tools. We’ve been having a lot of discussions with the folks who wrote CPG 101 and working with those planning teams in how to overall put these things throughout the planning.

For the most part, it will not look as if there is one clean effort of this and something else starts, but in reality this is happening throughout FEMA and this concept is happening in planning, response, recovery, logistics, preparedness, and at all levels throughout FEMA. Instead of seeing one very clean start and finish to one project, what we’ll see is wrapping up this and creating some tools and resources out of this so that the best thing we could hope for is that this is being integrated into each division at FEMA.

This happens in many ways and forms across the agency. That is the real goal—to make sure we aren’t just talking the talk, but walking the walk at FEMA. This is not just about policy or one division, but making sure this happens throughout. We have initiatives happening in every division now based on this whole community theory. It has been very exciting to see. It has been a big change over the last two years since Administrator Fugate began.

It has been an exciting time. The answer is that you will continue to see things as they come out in part with this, with this being a piece of what they are.

Avagene Moore: Do you envision having some type of performance measure for this after a couple of years, to be able to tell that we are actually more resilient, that there are things going on that are building things at a local level?

Paulette Aniskoff: That is such an awesome question. Our assessments division is consumed with how we can figure this out. We have a few measures at the moment that we are working toward. Nothing perfect—it is hard to even define what a resilient community is. Our assessments division is working with us and working with policy shop and attempting to figure out what are some gauges. They may not be perfect measurements, but they will give us some idea.

One example is we surveyed people across the country on preparedness about what they hear and if they got involved in anyway. We hope to see that number go up over the next decade.

Another is figuring out what Citizen Corps councils and CERT programs have been doing around the country and using those as another measurement. To be honest, we have such a long way to go when it comes to describing exactly what resiliency means. If someone has planning they have done that hits on specific factors, are they indeed a more resilient community?

We have to have measurements we can control now and that we can look to in the future. We have a team of people that work on that day-to-day and try to figure out what the best options are. I don’t think it will be perfect any time soon, but I think there are things we can look to measure and a daily discussion around FEMA is how to make those measurements on a FEMA level and share them with communities so they can do the same.

Dale Shipley: One of your slides referenced training and education efforts. When can we expect new course materials, policy, exercise guidance, etc, addressing "Resilience" and how it differs from or adds to Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery?

Paulette Aniskoff: I will start with the training, education and exercises. I would say we are working on a few new things that I hope will be well received. I think they will be because we brought in a lot of community folks to discuss them. One, my division paired up with the training division to fill what we felt like was a gap and heard from communities was a gap.

We have a lot of educational materials when it comes to ready.gov and Red Cross tear sheets and that stuff may circulate, but we haven’t seen much behavior change. When people want to get more involved, they can jump to a 25 hour CERT training, but there’s really not something that is a little more manageable, especially for underserved communities.

As an example of new training, we are working with the training division to finalize, we hope in April, a new training that we will test out this year, instead of running through a CERT program or fire department, it might be run through a church or an organization like the Urban League, or Operation Hope, that they would be able to train their own members and push this out through their own network.

It would be a little bit of a family plan and kit on a budget. We’ve heard a lot about a kit not being on a budget, being a really tough leap for some people to look at a list of $300 worth of items they think they may need to buy. We’d like to change that perspective a bit.

It would also be whatever their most general local hazard is, as well as fire safety, which is the number one hazard for underserved communities. That one new training we’ve got will be cut up into small modules of 20-30 minute activities that collectively go up to two or three hours that they could do Sunday after church or a Kiwanis club meeting.

Community organizations would be able to take those in themselves to make sure they are getting their own members integrated into something like training or activities. That type of thing is an example of new training.

Education wise, we are working to make sure that the Red Cross and FEMA are really closely messaging the same types of information in educational materials. We have some new educational materials that are being updated, both on a very small scale of things like a one page Red Cross tear sheet, to a large scale of our big, fat book called "Are You Ready?" of information to use as a resource guide.

We’ve seen a lot of examples across the country of CERT teams and programs willing to take education out into communities—this great band of volunteers that is willing to go out and help. Seeing ways that we can not only make sure our education materials are the same with our big partners, like the Red Cross, but making sure we have outlets to push it out, and make sure that things that are already in place like CERT teams could go out and look around their neighborhood and community and see there is a need for education and fill that gap.

With exercises, Fugate is very much telling us that he expects NLE 11 to be the first real test of whole community initiative. He said there are things floating out there that are starting to be done, already done, beginning—we want to test them. A lot of those would be things like resources, from my working groups’ side we hope to provide some resources and ideas for communities to use if they are having a functional exercise or a full exercise depending on what their need might be.

Ideas on that—resource guides that could help foster that through an exercise. At the moment, one of the best exercise tools is the fact that we do have these tiers of play for organizations to get involved, which has been very well received. I’m proud of that exercise. Also, on the community level side, national organizations have been signing up to play in the exercise in some way, even if it is a very small role.

It builds a relationship with them and helps get them invested in preparedness and emergencies in general. That has been great. As far as how it differs, I’m not sure how we’ll lay that out in the training or educational piece of the exercise, but I do know that we’ve got all our resilience efforts—we’re trying to make sure folks know they’re happening—the new training education exercises and providing more resources.

I’m looking forward to your ideas on how that differs from what is currently happening. Part of that would be us walking around to these different communities and leading and listening to the discussions and talking about some of our new initiatives as a piece of that.

Kathleen Conley: Would you be able to provide your contact information for us to communicate in the future and tease out some of the ideas and initiatives discussed today?

Paulette Aniskoff: The last slide has my personal email and in general, we’ve been collecting from all over the country at that FEMA community engagement address. At either one, we’d love to connect.


Avagene Moore: Time to wrap for today. Thank you very much Paulette. We appreciate your taking the time to be with us today and share this information, and wish you continued success with your efforts in the future. Please thank your staff members Elizabeth Lake and Claudine Hughes for their assistance as well.

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