Federal And State Agencies Plan To Rebuild Public Facilities Smarter

Jan. 14, 2010
Future storm damage is less likely to occur when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) join forces and provide extra funding to mitigate public facilities so that they are better prepared to face and withstand impending disasters.

Federal funding is available to state and eligible local government and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair/replacement and mitigation of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding last Oct. 29 through Nov. 8.

“Disaster recovery includes building smarter and stronger for better protection from future disasters,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin Hannes. “Mitigation specialists from FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program will be working closely with our state and local partners to identify cost effective mitigation programs that will reduce risk of future damage for all eligible projects.”

The FEMA PA program works in coordination with state and local officials to identify, develop and fund recovery measures to include the restoration of disaster-damaged government and certain private nonprofit organizations’ facilities. Facilities are defined as buildings, roads, bridges and water and sewer plants. In addition, FEMA will provide recommendations for project-specific hazard mitigation as part of the restoration process.

This mitigation is developed and funded under FEMA 406 mitigation. The cost share of the additional mitigation is 75 percent from FEMA with the remaining 25 percent shared by the state and local applicant.

“The goal is to allow local officials an opportunity to reduce risk of damage to their infrastructure and in the long term, save scarce local dollars,” said Hannes. “Mitigation programs have to be looked at as an investment with a significant return. An independent study shows that for every dollar spent on 406 mitigation, the applicant will save $4 in future repair costs.”

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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