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

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“A prerequisite for identifying and quantifying disaster- related damages is establishing a benchmark based on — what was the condition, capacity and function of the facility before the event occurred?”

Time and materials contracts should be avoided, although FEMA may allow this type of contract for work that is necessary immediately after a disaster —when a clear scope of work cannot be developed. There may be instances when an immediate emergency contract must be awarded to stabilize a facility to prevent an imminent threat to the life, health or safety of the community, or reduce the threat of significant damage to improved public 3 or private property. This type of contract is normally allowed if reasonable, but once the threat has been eliminated and more time is needed to complete all disaster- related repairs, the remaining work must be put out to bid to comply with Public Assistance requirements. All work should stop until a new contract can be awarded. Cost-plus-percentage-of-cost contracts are not eligible.

Specific guidance on contracts can be found in FEMA’s Field Manual — Procurement Guidance For Recipients And Subrecipients Under C.F.R. Part 200 (Uniform Rules) Supplement To The Public Assistance Procurement Disaster Assistance Team (PDAT).

Establishing a Benchmark

A prerequisite for identifying and quantifying disaster-related damages is establishing a benchmark based on— what was the condition, capacity and function of the facility before the event occurred? Remember that the fundamental goal of the Public Assistance program is to return the facility to its pre-disaster condition, capacity and function— including adherence to applicable codes and standards in place at the time of the event.

This requires vigilantly keeping and updating maintenance records. Eligible items that should be monitored include: buildings; equipment that is non- expendable, costs $5,000 or more and has a life expectancy of more than a year; vehicles; bridges; culverts; road systems, including drainage ditches and road surface maintenance; water control facilities; utilities; and recreational facilities.


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