Preparedness Newsletter

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

Individual and Community Preparedness October 2021 Newsletter: Staying Safe in Cyberspace, NHS Webinars & More

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September 2021 Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter: National Preparedness Month


Newsletter Moving to Quarterly Format ! 

With this issue, the Individual and Community Preparedness newsletter moves to a quarterly schedule. Each January, April, July and October, readers can continue to look forward to timely preparedness tips and news on youth and community-based organization preparedness, and citizen responder topics such as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). Look for our Leadership Spotlight in each issue, where we feature an interview with a FEMA leader.

Look for the next editions the first Thursday of the month in January, April, July, and October 2022. We hope you find the newsletter informative and share what you learn with family and community members. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at


Ready Tips

Staying Safe during the Holidays 

From Halloween to New Year's, there's a lot to celebrate in the fall and early winter, even as the days grow shorter. Ensure you and your family have happy holidays by keeping these safety tips in mind:

  • Rather than a candle, consider lighting up your jack-o'-lantern with a small, battery-operated flameless one. If you do illuminate it with a traditional candle, remember to blow it out before bed or before you leave home.
  • Only use nonflammable decorations indoors.
  • Whether you're making holiday cookies or the Thanksgiving turkey, practice cooking safety to avoid fires at home. Stay alert in the kitchen and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen.
  • When you shop online for holiday gifts, be cautious, and shop with trusted retailers to avoid scams.
  • Water your Christmas tree regularly. Dry branches are a fire hazard. Turn off the tree's lights overnight or when you're not home.
  • Place your menorah on a sturdy, non-flammable surface out of reach of small children and pets. Never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Follow the latest COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for safe holiday gatherings. The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

For more information on holiday safety, visit 's Holiday and Travel Safety Toolkit . You will find tips, graphics, promotional content, and hashtags on holiday safety and preparedness that you can share. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Staying Safe in Cyberspace

Learn how to protect yourself from cyberattacks during October's Cybersecurity Awareness Month . Cybersecurity involves preventing, detecting, and responding to cyberattacks that can have wide-ranging effects on individuals, organizations, the community, and at the national level.

On an individual level, cyberattacks can involve gaining access to your computer, mobile phone or gaming system. They can result in identity theft, loss of money, and loss of access to your accounts. These attacks target both children and adults.

Protecting yourself can seem daunting, but the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) provides a week-by-week plan to strengthen your cybersecurity know-how. FEMA also has dozens of tips to help keep you safe online.

Week of October 4 – Be Cyber Smart: Limit the personal information you share online. Change privacy settings and do not use location features. Using a password manager, use upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, as well as two-factor authentication (two methods of verification). Read the Creating a Password Tip Sheet for more information.

Week of October 11 – Fight the Phish! Scammers use varying methods to go “phishing” for your personal information, and newer scams use fears about COVID-19 to trick you. Do not click on links in texts or emails from people you don't know. Scammers can create fake links to websites and may try to contact you through social media. Learn more with this tip sheet .

Week of October 18 – Explore. Experience. Share. Learn more about careers in cybersecurity and the need for more trained workers in the expanding cybersecurity industry during Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week .

Week of October 25 – Cybersecurity First. Don't let cybersecurity be an afterthought. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot, such as at a café or hotel, confirm the exact login procedures with staff to ensure the network is legitimate. Avoid sensitive activities like banking while using public Wi-Fi.

For more ways to stay cyber safe, visit .


CERT & Communities

2020 Certification Results

The 2020 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Annual Certification results are in. They provide insight into the activities of CERTs nationwide. The results are particularly striking because they highlight CERTs' incredible diversity. This diversity includes the types of communities they serve, training they undergo, and deployment activities with which they assist.

The graphs in this article were developed from the 2020 Certification results, in which CERTs were asked to report basic information and program activities that occurred during 2020. The versatility of CERTs shown in these results highlights their great success in equipping their communities with the ability to prepare for hazards.


Over 90 percent of CERTs reported that they serve counties and/or cities, while the remainder serve universities, workplaces, neighborhoods, state, or tribal communities. Read more...

2021 National Household Survey Webinars 

Every year, FEMA surveys the public to assess the Nation's progress in building a culture of preparedness and the trends in disaster perceptions and experiences that influence people to take steps to become more prepared.

Join FEMA for a webinar series to discuss the results of the 2021 National Household Survey (NHS)! Learn more about the results of the 2021 NHS here .

  • 2021 NHS Summary Part II – Key Findings and National Overview – October 14 from 2 – 3 p.m. ET. Register here
  • 2021 NHS Summary Part II – Hazards and Demographics – October 28 from 2 – 3 p.m. ET. Register here

For questions, please email .


Children & Disasters

Integrating the Needs of Children

Children comprise a large portion of every community, and it is important that we as a nation are prepared to address their disaster-related needs from the onset of planning. This may include providing age-appropriate supplies, re-establishing child care and educational facilities, or delivering human services. FEMA designed the new Community Preparedness: Integrating the Needs of Children workshop to bring together emergency managers and child-serving organizations that are responsible for the care of children and youth to support and build collaboration among local governments, emergency managers, and community-based organizations that serve children.

In this workshop, you will learn how to identify the unique needs of children and their families while recognizing the organizations and requirements that help keep children safe and healthy during disasters. The workshop includes seven modules and can be delivered in-person or online. In-person options include plans for delivering the workshop as a single day, two-day, or three-day course. Instructions are also included for virtual facilitation.

After completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the disaster-related needs of infants, children, and youth, and the importance of integrating these needs throughout emergency preparedness plans and your community's emergency management programming.
  • Identify key stakeholders to include disability experts in planning efforts.
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Financial Resilience

Disaster Assistance vs. Flood Insurance: Do You Know the Difference? 

If you experience property damage during a flood, you'll likely be able to cover your recovery costs through disaster assistance funding—right? Possibly wrong. In fact, federal disaster assistance isn't guaranteed, and many residents overestimate the amount of funding they'll receive (if any). As climate change worsens and residents face an increasing risk of damage from things like hurricanes, levee failures, and post-fire flooding, you'll want to make sure you're prepared. Take the first step by visiting to learn how flood insurance can best protect you against the financial impact of flooding.

Here are five key differences between disaster assistance and flood insurance:

  1. Disaster Declarations : Federal disaster assistance requires a Major Disaster Declaration from the president to authorize funding for FEMA's Individuals and Households Program . Flood insurance does not require a disaster declaration, so policyholders can make a claim almost immediately after any flood event.
  2. Coverage : Both disaster assistance and flood insurance cover flood damage to your primary residence—but disaster assistance is only designed to make a home “ safe, sanitary, and fit to occupy ,” not to restore it to pre-disaster condition. Disaster assistance can sometimes be used for additional expenses like vehicle repairs, temporary housing, or medical fees, but only flood insurance offers building and contents coverage that is customizable to meet your needs.
  3. Payout : Federal disaster assistance often comes in the form of a FEMA disaster grant, which averages about $5,000 per household, or a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan . By comparison, the average flood insurance claim payment over the past five years was approximately $69,000. Unless purchased through a private vendor, flood insurance policies are backed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) . You will never need to repay the NFIP for your flood insurance, but certain forms of federal assistance, like SBA loans, must be repaid with interest. Read more...


Important Dates


Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services, or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting - - TWITTER: @Readygov


About FEMA

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.

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