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Webinars & Presentations

Webinar on Flood Vulnerability Assessment  +/-

A February 23, 2017, Silver Jackets webinar introduced a flood vulnerability assessment method for critical facilities, which was developed with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Sea Grant College program. Flood plain managers deal with special requirements for critical facilities while meeting the requirements of Executive Orders 11988 and 13690, developing emergency action plans, infrastructure site planning, providing general technical assistance, and making communities resilient. Molly Woloszyn is the Extension Climate Specialist for Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the Midwestern Regional Climate Center, which are both a part of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Woloszyn has developed a method to assist floodplain managers by providing a tool to identify specific vulnerabilities to critical facilities. It was recently piloted in the Greater Chicago Metro area. The assessment includes recommendations and suggested resources to reduce risks to critical facilities.

A recording (mp3, 7.18 MB) of the webinar along with her presentation (pdf, 2.17 MB) on a tool for Flood Vulnerability Assessment for Critical Facilities are now available.

Date: February 23, 2017

The CRS and Repetitive Loss Area Analysis (RLAA)  +/-

Interested in addressing repetitive flood losses through the support of NFIP's Community Rating System (CRS)? On February 23, 2017, David Stroud, a FEMA contractor supporting the CRS program, steps us through the process by defining a repetitive loss and describing the Repetitive Loss Area Analysis (RLAA) approach. The process of completing a RLAA is one that engages a number of stakeholders into the analysis, including local officials, government agencies, residents, and civic and social organizations. This collaborative effort is explained by Mr. Stroud such that we are in better position to provide technical assistance to communities.

His presentation (pdf, 5.88 MB) and recorded session (mp3, 22.5 MB) are available.

Date: February 23, 2017

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)  +/-

A Silver Jackets webinar was held Dec. 7th on FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System or IPAWS. Wade Witmer from FEMA provided a 60 minute presentation on this system.

Wade Witmer has served as the Deputy Director of FEMA's IPAWS Division within the National Preparedness Directorate since January 2009. The IPAWS Division is responsible for implementing Executive Order 13407 by providing "an effective, reliable, integrated, flexible, and comprehensive system to alert and warn the American people in situations of war, terrorist attack, natural disaster, or other hazards to public safety and well-being".

In 2011, IPAWS began providing public safety officials at all levels of government a way to warn people by radio, TV, and cable via the Emergency Alert System; cellular phones via Wireless Emergency Alerts; weather radios via the National Weather Service's All-Hazards Radio network; and Internet applications via an IPAWS All Hazards Alert Feed. Today the number of local, state, territorial, tribal, and federal agencies using IPAWS has grown to over 1,000 users.

Wade and the staff from the IPAWS Division continue to enhance the current warning capabilities and improve the system by making warnings to people in danger more effective.

The presentation (pdf, 2.11 MB) as well as the recorded session are available.

Date: December 7, 2016

Webinar on Social Effects and Social Vulnerability  +/-

After floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters strike, some communities are resilient and can bounce back quickly; however, in other communities, it can take a lot longer.  Social impacts of hazard exposure often fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable people in a society – the poor, minorities, children, the elderly, and the disabled. These groups often have the fewest resources to prepare for a flood, live in the highest-risk locations in substandard housing, and lack the knowledge or social and political connections necessary to take advantage of resources that would speed their recovery after a natural disaster.

In a November 14, 2016, Silver Jackets webinar, we hear about a method that allows us to factor in vulnerability, referred to as the Social Vulnerability Index.  This index tool utilizes census data on a GIS platform and can identify communities and vulnerable populations within our nation that may have a difficult time managing a comprehensive response or long-term recovery.  This comparative metric tool is useful during problem identification in providing a broad perspective and can contribute to the development of more complete and acceptable alternatives and projects.

Susan Durden, a senior economist with the Institute for Water Resources, steps us through the process.  As a senior economist, she develops planning methods and tools to address economic, social, and environmental needs in water resources.
Ms. Durden has degrees in economics and education with extensive post-graduate training in strategic planning, conflict resolution, environmental issue resolution, and communications.

A copy of Ms. Durden's presentation (pdf, 2.79 MB) is available as well as the recorded session (mp3, 8.36 MB).

Date: November 14, 2016

Silver Jackets Webinar: NIST Community Resilience Guides and Activities  +/-

On August 23, Stephen Cauffman, a Research Engineer with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was the feature presenter for a Silver Jackets webinar on the "NIST Community Resilience Guides and Activities." The webinar provided background on the motivation for community resilience and the approach that NIST is taking in its community resilience program. The focus of the webinar was to introduce the Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, a six-step planning process for community resilience. The webinar also introduced the companion Economic Decision Guide, that allows for competing projects to be evaluated not only on their contribution to improved resilience, but also co-benefits that can be derived during normal conditions.

A copy of Mr. Cauffman's bio (pdf, 183 KB) and his presentation (pdf, 2.0 MB) are available as well as the recorded session (mp3, 10.0 MB).

Date: August 23, 2016

Silver Jackets Webinar: USGS Texas Water Dashboard  +/-

For a June 10, 2016 Silver Jackets webinar, Mr. Daniel Pearson, the Data and Spatial Studies Chief from the USGS Texas Water Science Center, presented on a new USGS mapping application called the Texas Water Dashboard. The USGS Texas Water Science Center began development of the application in July 2015. The application delivers real-time water data in Texas and is composed of two related parts to provide easier access to water data from the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS). One element is a dynamic web mapping application that presents USGS real-time stream, lake, reservoir, precipitation, and groundwater well data from over 750 observation stations in Texas in context with current weather and hazard conditions such as current precipitation, past precipitation totals, future precipitation forecasts, and drought conditions. Additionally, the USGS Texas Water Science Center, in partnership with Twitter, developed two autonomous data feeds to deliver water level and precipitation data for sites experiencing potentially hazardous conditions. This first-generation tool from Texas is being considered as a potential national solution for USGS in the future.

A recording (mp3, 12.1 MB) of the webinar, a copy of the bio (pdf, 210 KB) and the presentation slides (pdf, 8.46 MB) are available.

Date: June 10, 2016

Silver Jackets Webinar: Using Serious Games to Improve Flood Risk Awareness and Build Resilience  +/-

A Silver Jacket webinar was held on May 17th entitled: Using Serious Games to Improve Flood Risk Awareness and Build Resilience. Serious or applied games incorporate gaming elements into simulations of real-world events or processes to promote problem solving and 'learning by doing.' It is not a new concept, and many fields including military, health, business, and education have used games to educate, train and motivate the player. The Silver Jackets webinar explores how serious games have been used by the USACE and others to improve flood risk awareness, identify solutions to manage risk, and improve resilience.

Elizabeth Eide, Director of the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and the Water Science and Technology Board for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine moderated the panel discussion. She set the stage by providing background on the advantages of using serious games to build disaster resilience and the positive challenges of game development.

The panel showcased three serious games that use different formats but have a common goal of improving flood risk awareness (as well as for other hazards) and identifying solutions to make a community more resilient.

  • Michelle Schultz, Enterprise GIS Specialist at USACE Omaha District, demonstrated the Missouri River Balancer, an animated video game that provides insight into the challenges of operating the Missouri River reservoir system for multiple purposes, including flood risk management.
  • Patrice Legro, Director of the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences, described Extreme Events, a role-playing game developed in collaboration with the Resilient America Roundtable to help communities learn how to work together to identify the resources needed to become more resilient during a disaster.
  • Harvey Hill from the USACE Institute for Water Resources, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy Fellow, shared how competitive Multi-Hazard Tournaments can improve flood risk awareness and result in innovative risk reduction solutions that address multiple hazards.

Copies of the slides are available through these five hyperlinks:  Welcome and bios, Elizabeth Eide’s slides, Michelle Schultz’s slides, Patrice Legro’s slides, and Harvey Hill’s slides.  The recording is accessible as well.

Date: May 17, 2016

Silver Jackets Webinar: Evaluating the Feasibility of Adopting Nonstructural Measures as Applied in Manhattan, Kansas  +/-

The webinar held May 6, 2016 covered some of the inroads that the National Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee has made.

In 1985, the USACE expanded their flood risk management portfolio  by establishing the National Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee to promote the use of nonstructural flood proofing measures  As a reminder, the nonstructural measures differ from structural measures in that they focus on reducing the consequences of flooding instead of focusing on reducing the probability of flooding.

As the Chairman of the National Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee, Randy Behm traveled the country conducting nonstructural workshops.  In the course of providing technical assistance, Randy and the committee have implemented a number of efficiencies.  This webinar addresses these products.

A cost effective approach has been developed to do a broad-brush analysis of a large geographic floodplain to determine the viability of nonstructural flood proofing measures.  Brian Rast’s presentation highlights the successes and lessons learned when applied to Manhattan, Kansas.

Copies of the bios (pdf, 344 KB) and the presentation (pdf, 3.88 MB) can be accessed. A recording (mp3, 7.89 MB) of the main presentation is also available.

Date: May 6, 2016

Silver Jackets Webinar: Connection with Private Philanthropy and NGOs  +/-

Are you looking for new partners to help manage flood risk and build resilience? Have you considered working with philanthropies, such as community foundations? The Silver Jackets Program hosted a one-hour webinar on working with philanthropy for flood risk management on Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

Bob Ottenhoff, the President and CEO of The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and a veteran in philanthropy and non-profit leadership, was the key presenter. Philanthropy is the use of private dollars for the public good. Partnering with philanthropies can offer benefits including: flexible funding, a different lens on community life, knowledge capital, networking opportunities, and increased transparency & public trust.

During this webinar, the potential benefits of partnering with philanthropies were discussed, as well as how to find and engage philanthropies in your area. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s mission is to transform disaster giving to increase donor effectiveness throughout the lifecycle of disasters.

A recording of the webinar as well as the PowerPoint presentation are available.

Date: March 2, 2016

FEMA’s National Mitigation Planning Program – Overview and Updates  +/-

The Silver Jackets program hosted a one hour webinar on mitigation planning and the new guidance.  Jennifer Burmester, the National Mitigation Planning Program Manager from FEMA HQ, stepped the participants through the basics of mitigation planning while introducing the new 2015 guidance.

The mitigation planning process is an opportunity for key players to come together and collaborate on identifying and reducing potential risks from known hazards.  The majority of communities and most of the states have mitigation plans on the books. Now the challenge is to make them dynamic plans that effect change and engage key players.

Good mitigation plans are key to states’ efforts to break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damages.  It is not uncommon for a Silver Jackets team or an interagency, flood risk management team to use the existing state mitigation plan as a focus document to identify long-term strategies for risk reduction.

The final part of the webinar includes report-outs from two USACE district personnel on how states’ mitigation plans have been important for the teams’ success.

The PowerPoint and the recorded session are available.

Date: November 17, 2015

Climate Preparedness and Resilience Webinar  +/-

States across the nation are dealing with the very important issue of climate change, which can cause different types of disasters from drought to record breaking floods. There is no doubt that the climate is changing and will continue to change, thereby increasing hydrologic variability. Collaborative efforts are needed to translate best available science into usable information for decision-makers.

Silver Jackets hosted a webinar on October 21, 2015, to address climate change and provide tools for floodplain managers. Kate White, the USACE Lead for the Responses to Climate Change Program, introduced the audience to Climate Preparedness and Resilience and presented resources, tools, and Corps guidance relevant to flood risk management.

A copy of her PowerPoint can be accessed as well as the recorded session.

Date: October 21, 2015

Improving Public Response to NWS Coastal Flood Forecasts  +/-

The Silver Jackets program hosted a one hour webinar on Understanding and Improving Public Response to NWS’s Coastal Flood Forecasts. Rachel Carr, the Director of the Nurture Nature Center, was the primary presenter. The National Weather Service (NWS) has a comprehensive and timely suite of flood forecast and warning products that provide accurate information that residents can use to prepare when coastal flooding occurs. Still, many residents fail to take steps to protect their lives and property. What barriers prevent effective risk communication, and what forecast products do the public value most? Rachel presented recently released findings from a social science research study that addressed these questions. This study, “They Had the Facts, Why Didn’t They Act”, was funded through NOAA’s Coastal Storm Awareness Program to understand decision-making during extreme weather events. The study looked at how residents of the New Jersey coast understood and valued the coastal flood forecast and warning products issued by the NWS during Hurricane Sandy with a particular emphasis on the role emergency briefings could play in communicating risk to public audiences.

The PowerPoint and the recorded session are available.

Date: September 30, 2015

Rapid Assessment of Flooding Toot (RAFT)  +/-

On June 25, 2015, Ryan Cahill, a hydraulic engineer from USACE Portland District, addressed the Oregon Silver Jackets Team's development of a Rapid Assessment of Flooding Tool (RAFT) that was highlighted in the spring issue of the Silver Jackets newsletter. The interactive, real-time tool characterizes the severity of forecasted flooding across the state. The tool synthesizes flood frequency data from various federal partners, as well as flood forecasts from NWS Forecast Center, and depicts expected severity of flooding.

Ryan explained the motivation behind RAFT, described the structure, identified the uses, and demonstrated its applications. The RAFT is a prime example of agencies working together to produces a better product.

The recorded session and the presentation including Ryan Cahill’s bio are available.

Date: June 25, 2015

Webinar: Public Involvement in Flood Risk Management Pilot Program Results  +/-

On June 11, 2015, the Silver Jackets program hosted a webinar to present the results of a two-year pilot program to increase public involvement in flood risk management activities.  Maria Lantz with the USACE Institute of Water Resources (IWR) organized and introduced a panel to discuss the results.  The panel members included:  Bruce Laclereque, Flood Control Program Manager from Santa Cruz County, CA; Joel Benegar, Senior Program Planner from San Francisco District, Chad Bunger, Senior Planner with the City of Manhattan, KA; Quana Higgins, Tribal Liaison and Lead Planner for the Los Angeles District; and Eileen Takata, a Watershed Program Manager from USACE IWR.

The pilot program was prefaced on the experts’ conclusions that, if we increase engagement with communities in which we are trying to reduce risks, we will achieve better outcomes.  The webinar focused on the results of the program and featured specific activities from several of the projects.  The presenters focused on successes, as well barriers, to increasing community engagement.

The PowerPoint presentation, the recorded session, and the individual bios of each of the panelist are available.

Date: June 11, 2015

Social Science Study on Effective Flood Risk Managing  +/-

Emergency managers and others working in flood-prone communities know only too well that getting residents to evacuate and take the right action during a flood event can be difficult. Even with highly accurate and timely data available from the National Weather Service, people often don’t take steps to prepare and evacuate prior to a major flood event. Rachel Hogan Carr, Director of the Nurture Nature Center, presented findings from a recent social science study on communications.  The findings resulted in recommendations about how the National Weather Service and others can improve flood forecast and warning tools so that they are easier to understand and more likely to motivate people to take protective actions. Download the presentation slides (pdf, 4.1 MB) and audio recording (mp3, 30.0 MB).

Date: November 12, 2014

Mobile Information Collection Application (MICA) System  +/-

The Mobile Information Collection Application (MICA) system offers real-time data collection and decision support using mobile devices.  It is an excellent tool for those in the field and for those that support them. Pictures, videos, notes, or custom form data can be captured digitally from the start and made available for analysis immediately, saving hours of writing on forms and typing data into spreadsheets. MICA has been used primarily by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to collect information on situational awareness, debris removal, and flood damage to levees and infrastructure. Floodplain managers and staff from multiple agencies could potentially use the MICA tool to collect high-water data, identify substantially damaged buildings, track past mitigation projects, and flag structures for future mitigation projects. Download the presentation slides (pdf, 1.85 MB) and YouTube video.

Date: May 13, 2014

Risk Communication and the Nebraska Silver Jackets Team  +/-

With so many agencies involved with flood risk management, emergency response, levee safety, and water resources, the diversity of flood risk messages available to the public can be overwhelming, and no single agency or website provides the public with a full understanding of flood risk management. To address this need, several agencies have teamed up through Nebraska Silver Jackets to more efficiently get the message out. A unique and innovative outcome is the new website. The team also hosted a well-attended and well-received educational seminar for levee sponsors and stakeholders. As shown through pre- and post-tests, the interagency group of presenters increased understanding of key levee safety concepts, the levee safety process, evolution of levee safety laws and programs, and risk treatment methods.  Download the presentation slides  (pdf, 2.52 MB) and audio recording (mp3, 11.7 MB).

Date: December 12, 2013

Community-based Hydrologic Warning Systems  +/-

Community-based Hydrologic Warning Systems (CHWS) provide a cost effective nonstructural flood risk reduction strategy when properly designed and implemented. Whether developing a project to address coastal concerns, dam safety, river flooding or a variety of other hydrologic hazards, understanding the technology available to capture and effectively communicate associated risk is critical to the success of the CHWS. This presentation examines the necessary components of a CHWS, strategies for implementation of a CHWS, and potential benefits beyond saving lives and property. This webinar was presented by the National Hydrologic Warning Council (NHWC), whose membership includes flood-warning professionals, service providers, and vendors in the United States and abroad.  Download the presentation slides (pdf, 8.39 MB).

Date: March 27, 2013

Natural Hazard Mitigation Association’s Resilient Neighbors Network  +/-

In early 2012, the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA) launched a program named Resilient Neighbors Network to link together grassroots communities that are working to become safer, disaster-resilient, and sustainable. NHMA has been working with ten pilot communities around the USA to create a peer-to-peer sharing network in order to enable grassroots communities to work together to strengthen and expand local hazard-mitigation programs. The presentation slides (pdf, 4.23 MB) includes an overview of the Resilient Neighbors Network initiative and local examples from Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was organized by NHMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Date: February 1, 2013

Risk MAP and North Carolina’s Digital Flood Risk Implementation  +/-

In 1999, Hurricane Floyd flooded thousands of square miles of eastern North Carolina and left thousands of people homeless. This disaster highlighted North Carolina’s vulnerability to natural disasters and the need for accurate, up-to-date floodplain maps for safer floodplain development standards. In a webinar (pdf, 20.7 MB) hosted by FEMA and USACE, John Dorman, the Director of the Geospatial and Technology Management Office, North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety, walked through the progress that the state has made since 2000. With the support of FEMA and other federal and state agencies, the state has implemented a statewide digital risk management vision. The state’s work eliminated the need for the cartographic production of digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, developed a statewide building footprint dataset of 5.2 million structures, surveyed 165,000 first floor elevations and 4,100 miles of coastal roadway elevations, and established an interactive flood hazard risk management website

Date: July 17, 2012

Take Flood Awareness to Action with NFIP FloodSmart Tools  +/-

FloodSmart, the marketing campaign of the National Flood Insurance Program, has published tools and information to communicate clearly about flood risk and flood insurance. This webinar (pdf, 1.6 MB) shared information gained about communicating flood risk, demonstrated interactive tools, and showed new features available on FloodSmart.gov. These features include numerous website widgets, testimonial videos, a levee simulator, and an interactive risk profile - most of which can be shared on your website(s). 

Date: July 11, 2012

Community Rating System: How the Changes in the CRS Can Affect Your Agency  +/-

A webinar (pdf, 1.30 MB) on Community Rating System (CRS) reviewed the basics of the program and focused on expected changes to the program with the publication of the 2012 CRS Coordinator's Manual. The webinar encouraged agencies to get involved by offering communities technical assistance and prepared the agencies to help communities asking for help in meeting the revised requirements or increasing CRS credit. 

Date: May 1, 2012

Community Rating System Program  +/-

The Community Rating System (CRS) program recognizes local community action to manage risk beyond the minimum steps required by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and provides a unique opportunity for communities to lessen the cost of NFIP premiums paid by their residents. 

Bill Lesser from FEMA HQ was the feature presenter for a webinar cosponsored by FEMA and the USACE on the basics of CRS and how it overlaps with the goals of the Silver Jackets teams. Al Goodman from the State of Mississippi presented on CRS User Groups and offered the state perspective. Stephanie Bray from USACE emphasized the advantages of Silver Jackets involvement with the CRS program. The hour long webinar was recorded.

Date: September 20, 2011

Sustainability with U.S. Department of HUD  +/-

A one hour, fifteen minute recorded webinar provided an overview of the US Department of HUD's Community Sustainability initiative to allow Silver Jackets team members and HUD Sustainability Officers to identify opportunities to leverage resources to meet common goals in order to strengthen community resiliency through community mitigation planning and projects. The webinar also includes a presentation summarizing the Natural Hazards Mitigation Association’s interagency “patchwork quilt” approach to addressing a community's long-term objectives while building livable, sustainable communities. Leveraging multiple programs can create a synergy more beneficial than a project developed by any agency working alone. See also, the supporting document: "Planning and Building Livable, Safe and Sustainable Communities: the Patchwork Quilt Approach", June 2011 (pdf, 1.10 MB). The webinar was sponsored by HUD, FEMA, USACE and the Natural Hazards Mitigation Association (NHMA).

Date: June 2, 2011

The State of Flood Risk Reduction in the US: Are We Reducing Risk or Incentivizing It?  +/-

A one hour, forty minute recorded webinar on the status of flood risk management and the prognosis for moving the effects in a sustainable direction that reduces risk and gradually restores the ecological services performed by our nation's floodplains. Presenters include: Sandra Knight, Deputy Assistant Administrator of Mitigation for FEMA, Alex Dornstauder, Deputy Director of Homeland Security from USACE, Larry Larson, Executive Director of ASPFM, James Fiedler, President of National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies, and Andrew Fahlund, Senior Vice President for Conservation from American Rivers was held May 4, 2011. 

Date: May 4, 2011

Risk MAP and Silver Jackets  +/-

This webinar (pdf, 1.45 MB) introduced FEMA’s Risk Mapping Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) process, focused on its public engagement pieces and outlined some of the mutual benefits stemming from a strong Silver Jackets/Risk MAP linkage.

Date: April 28, 2011


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