Disaster Survivor Assistance FAQs

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Posted: May 7, 2013  
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Question:

What is the new name of the cadre?  Why did the name change?

Answer:

Community Relations is changing its name to Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA).  The new name reflects our commitment to the survivor, and the capacity of the cadre to address and resolve immediate needs.  Implicit in the name is our expanded role in the field.  In addition to Assess, Inform and Report (AIR), Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) will provide on-site registration, applicant status checks, expedited delivery of disaster assistance, on-the-spot needs assessment; and provide access to Federal, State, Tribal, local and non-government entities offering survivor services as needed.


Question:

Will our mission change?

Answer:

In addition to performing the AIR Mission, the DSA Cadre will expedite the recovery process of disaster survivors by providing them in-person, tailored guidance and services to resolve their immediate and emerging needs, and will identify the needs of the whole community.  The cadre will have multi-functional teams that will play a key role in reducing the need for disaster survivors to connect with FEMA on multiple occasions to obtain critical assistance.  The primary functions of DSA include:

  • AIR Mission (immediately initiated upon arrival at a disaster location)
    • Assess:  Provide ground truth and validate that the operational goals and priorities align with the most critical needs of disaster survivors.
    • Inform:  Ensure disaster survivors have an understanding of and access to the full range of assistance available to support their recovery.
    • Report:  Provide Operators and leadership with comprehensive, actionable summaries that identify needs and trends.
  • Assist the Disaster Survivor:  Services will be provided using tablets and associated apps to conduct AIR, on-site registration and status checks, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tagging, and “live-time” emerging needs assessments (i.e., access and functional needs, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster services).
  • Provide referrals to Federal and Whole Community parnters as needed.
  • Provide a consistent flow of survivor and community information to External Affairs to ensure critical messaging is targeted to disaster survivor needs and concerns, and that local, state and tribal elected and appointed leadership are informed.
  • Coordinate activities and establish strategies to reach those individuals or groups that may not be reached by community-based organizations or conventional media.
  • Respond to internal and external requests, and keep all stakeholders informed on the resolution and progress of requests.
  • Identify public information needs so critical messaging can be developed and disseminated.

Question:

What capabilities will the DSA Cadre have that will allow them to accomplish this expanded mission scope?

Answer:

Recovery and External Affairs are developing a concept of operations for the DSAT and are considering the additional tools and training needed.  This could include, but is not limited to, tablets with appropriate application capabilities.  These capabilities will allow the DSATs to support and complement the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), National Processing Service Center (NPSC), NFIP, Mitigation, and IA registration and status-check capabilities.


Question:

What will be the role the DSA Cadre has under Operations?  Will there be more involvement with IA, PA, Mitigation, or the FDRC?

Answer:

Yes, the DSA Cadre will be report directly to Operations and will continue to work closely with all program areas of the Joint Field Office, including Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, Mitigation, NDRF Operations and External Affairs.


Question:

Does any of the legacy CR function stay in EA? If so, does some of the current CR staff remain in EA?  If so, who decides who stays and who goes?

Answer:

Yes, activities related to Private Sector coordination, Planning and Products, Congressional Affairs, Intergovernmental Affairs, Town Halls and the Joint Information Center will remain within EA. 


Question:

Who is my new Reservist Program Manager?

Answer:

Mark Graham will be the acting Reservist Program Manager, effective April 8, 2013.


Question:

Will training and management address the need for enhanced program knowledge, skills, and abilities?

Answer:

Yes, we are establishing training to address the expanded scope of responsibilities, including program knowledge.  Our goal is to deliver pilot training for this new concept of operations to five pilot teams by May 13, 2013.  Additional training, including webinars, for the disaster workforce will be ongoing throughout 2013.


Question

What are the plans to migrate FEMA Qualification System (FQS) positions from OEA to ORR?

Answer:

Approximately 800 Reservists with CR titles under FQS, which are currently under EA, will be migrated to Operations, with Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) titles, which is under Recovery.  Impacted Reservists will be officially notified the week of April 1, 2013.  EA, ORR, and the IWMO are working closely together with respect to the transfer determinations and notifications.  Several conference calls have already taken place between OEA and the current CR cadre to discuss the transition.


Question:

How will the CR FQS titles transfer over to Operations?

Answer:

The four titles will transfer to Operations with no changes other than the new cadre name.

  • Assistant EAO Community Relations to Disaster Survivor Assistance Branch Director
  • Community Relations Manager to Disaster Survivor Assistance Manager
  • Community Relations Assistant Manager to Disaster Survivor Assistance Assistant Manager
  • Community Relations Specialist to Disaster Survivor Assistance Specialist

Question:

Will my pay change?

Answer:

Your pay will remain the same unless you are transferred to a position with a higher rate of pay.


Question:

Will people who are qualified and can prove they are qualified for higher positions than a Specialist or Trainee have an opportunity to prove it and “move up”?  What about the people who are FQS Managers or Assistant Managers that are not qualified – will they be “moved down”?

Answer:

The Certifying Official (CO) of the DSA Cadre manages the program’s force structure and FQS obligations.  Based on force structure, the CO will coordinate with eligible Reservists in their program area to discuss the next steps in FQS career path progression.  Employees that are qualified in their primary FQS position can be considered for advancement along their career path based on demonstrated experience and completed training.  This advancement is a coordinated effort between the CO, RPM and the employee.  Additionally, an employee’s open Position Task Book (PTB) and reviewed tasks will remain valid in the upcoming transfer.  A new PTB and associated qualification sheet will eventually be created as the migrated program matures in ORR.

Please refer to the FEMA Qualification System Guide (FQS) Guide Link:  http://on.fema.net/components/orr/response/Documents/FQS_Guide_Addendum_Appendixes_2012_Oct1.pdf


Question:

I heard that FEMA Corps members have been given a “relaxed” set of FQS standards that allow them a “fast-track” to becoming qualifiedIs this true? This does not seem fair to Reservists who often need years to obtain qualifications.

Answer:

The steps to become Qualified are not altered or relaxed for FEMA Corps members.  FEMA Corps members are given substantial training to ensure they are prepared to effectively support deployment activities.  The members train and work in a specific disaster title with the goal of becoming FQS Qualified.  FEMA Corps members begin as a “Specialist Trainee” with an open Position Task Book (PTB).   FEMA Corps team members receive necessary training in their title and are assessed by an assigned FQS Evaluator during deployment.  The Evaluator will sign-off on the PTBs of members based on positive demonstrated performance in their disaster role.  


Question:

I am a former Disaster Assistance Employee (DAE).  Do I have a chance to be hired as a Reservist?

Answer:

The DAE program expired on Dec 31, 2012, but was extended for 120 days due to the need created by Hurricane Sandy.  Those who were extended and whose extension is ending in April received a notification regarding the opportunity to apply for a limited number of Reservist positions in DSA and other programs.  USAJobs posted the announcement on March 25, 2013, and it will remain open until March 29, 2013.  If you are interested and have not done so already, please visit https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/340459900 to apply online. 


Question:

Will FEMA Corps be involved in piloting the DSA Cadre?

Answer:

Yes, not only are FEMA Corps members part of the FEMA Working Group that is focusing on the CR transfer, but they will also participate in the pilot training.  Upon transfer of the cadre, FEMA Corps members will be included in deployments, along with FEMA Reservists and full time staff.


Question:

What is the membership of the FEMA “Working Group” that is focusing on the CR transfer?

Answer:

The Office of External Affairs (EA) and the Office of Response and Recovery (ORR) are working closely together to ensure that overall efforts are effectively coordinated and transparent.  The Working Group includes representatives from the Reservists, Regions (EA and Response/Recovery), Recovery, Individual Assistance, National Processing Service Centers, Response, Incident Workforce Management Office (IWMO),  Incident Management Assistance Teams, Disaster Emergency Communications, Logistics, Office of the Chief Counsel, Federal Coordinating Officers, Federal Disaster Recovery Officers, Office of Disability and Integration Coordination, Geospatial Information Systems, Private Sector coordination office, and FEMA Corps.


 

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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