Be Ready for the Next Disaster - and the Public Assistance Process!


...declarations and 114 fire declarations— the most in 60 years. You can imagine the number of public entities that have been affected by the changing weather patterns many areas have been experiencing. While some regions might be prone to certain types of disasters, a lesson to be learned is that no one is completely immune from being affected by some sort of disaster, whether it is nature driven or man-made. The best way to recover from a catastrophic occurrence is by being prepared to the best of your ability.


After a disaster strikes, it is the local community’s responsibility to respond. If that is beyond their capabilities, the state may be called in to provide assistance. If this collaboration falls short of adequately responding to the disaster, the state can request assistance from the federal government.

Fortunately, our federal government —by authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93-288, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 5121- 5206 —provides assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a component of the Department of Homeland Security. State, local and tribal governments and certain types of private nonprofit organizations (PNPs) are eligible to receive federal grants through the Public Assistance (PA) Program that FEMA implements.

Once the president declares a major or emergency disaster for a specific location, FEMA— in coordination with the state or “grantee” (recipient) —will arrive to work with the eligible local and tribal governments and PNPs or “sub-grantees” (sub-recipients) to implement the Public Assistance Program. Following their standard operating procedures, FEMA and the state will conduct informational meetings and assign Public Assistance personnel to work with the affected entities to aid them in submitting grants to recover their costs in responding to the disaster — and rebuilding to become whole again. The Public Assistance Program is complicated and it includes guidelines to insure that the funding needed by...

“The best way to recover from a catastrophic occurrence is by being prepared to the best of your ability.”