Main Content

H1N1 Influenza Frequently Asked Questions

Main Content

This Fact Sheet answers questions regarding the types of emergency protective measures that may be eligible under the Public Assistance Program in the event of an emergency declaration as a result of human influenza pandemic in the United States and its territories. For additional information please refer to Disaster Assistance Policy DAP9523.17 Emergency Assistance for Human Influenza Pandemic, dated November 25, 2009 and Disaster Assistance Fact Sheet 9580.106, Pandemic Influenza, dated October 22, 2009.

Questions & Answers (Q&A)

  1. What is the relationship of the Fact Sheet 9580.106 to Disaster Assistance Policy DAP9523.17 Emergency Assistance for Human Influenza Pandemic?

    FEMA originally issued DAP9523.17 March 31, 2007, in response to concerns about a potential pandemic due to the H5N1 virus (also known as Bird Flu). Since that time the Federal government has undertaken significant planning and has determined how Federal authorities will be implemented in response to pandemic influenza. FEMA has updated DAP9523.17 to be consistent with the current planning to provide an accurate description of how FEMA will use the Stafford Act in response to health emergencies. Fact Sheet 9580.106 provides additional information, including a list of Pre-Scripted Mission Assignments that are eligible forms of assistance under DAP9523.17

  2. Is the procedure for a governor to request a pandemic influenza declaration the same as for other requests?

    Yes. FEMA will follow the procedures described in 44 CFR 206.35, Requests for emergency declarations. As indicated in DAP9523.17 there are four primary evaluation criteria for this type of request:

  • Whether the State has directed execution of its State emergency plan; and

  • Whether the requesting State has demonstrated that its incidence of influenza is significantly higher than the State’s seasonal average; and

  • Whether the State can demonstrate that effective response to the pandemic event is beyond the capability of the State and affected local governments; and

  • Whether the State has identified specific, supplemental direct Federal emergency assistance that is required to save lives, protect public health and safety, or lessen or avert the threat of a disaster.

  1. Can the Governor of a State request that the President declare an emergency or major disaster when an incident extends over a long period?

    Yes. The Governor of a State may request an open-ended incident period.

  1. What is the President’s role in approving all declaration requests?  

    The President retains sole authority to approve all declaration requests, irrespective of any FEMA recommendation.

  2. For the purpose of emergency declarations under the Stafford Act for pandemic influenza, what does FEMA anticipate that its recommendations to the President will be?

    For the purpose of emergency declarations under the Stafford Act for pandemic influenza, the FEMA recommendation to the President will be:

  • Limited to Public Assistance Emergency Protective Measures, also called “Category B” measures;

  • Further limited to Direct Federal Assistance (DFA); and

  • That the Federal Government pays 75% of the cost of these direct Federal resources, with the State responsible for the remaining 25%.

  1. What assistance will be available from an emergency declaration for pandemic influenza?

    Under a Presidential declaration as described above, the following Emergency Protective Measures may be provided directly by the Federal Government:

  • Emergency medical care (non-deferrable medical treatment of disaster victims in a shelter or temporary medical facility and related medical facility services and supplies, including emergency medical transport, X-rays, laboratory and pathology services, and machine diagnostic tests).

    • Temporary medical facilities (for treatment of disaster survivors when existing facilities are overloaded and cannot accommodate the patient load).

    • Purchase and distribution of food, water, ice, medicine, and other consumable supplies.

    • Management, control, and reduction of immediate threats to public health and safety (e.g., to include sanitizing eligible public facilities).

    • Movement of supplies and persons.

    • Security, barricades and fencing, and warning devices.

    • Congregate sheltering (for disaster survivors when existing facilities are overloaded and cannot accommodate survivors’ needs).

    • Communicating health and safety information to the public.

    • Technical assistance to State and local governments on disaster management and control.

    • Search and rescue to locate and recover members of the population requiring assistance and to locate and recover human remains.

    • Storage and interment of unidentified human remains.

    • Mass mortuary services.

    • Recovery and disposal of animal carcasses (except if another Federal authority funds the activity - e.g., U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Service provides for removal and disposal of livestock).

  1. Will FEMA provide the assistance directly or reimburse the State or local government for eligible expenses?

    FEMA will provide the assistance directly using its own resources or by mission assignment to another Federal agency. Reimbursement of costs associated with State or local emergency protective measures will not be available under an Emergency Declaration for Pandemic Influenza.

  2. What other sources of Federal assistance are available for H1N1?

    On April 26, 2009, the HHS Secretary declared a public health emergency for H1N1 which was renewed on July 24, 2009. When the HHS Secretary declares a public health emergency, the HHS Secretary may take certain actions in addition to his/her regular authorities. Additional authorities can be made available if the President invokes the National Emergencies Act or the Stafford Act. The President invoked the National Emergencies Act on October 23, 2009. This decision has provided HHS with significant flexibility to assist hospitals with waivers from Medicare, Medicare and the SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) and to use its authority to move patients when a given hospital has too many patients as well as temporarily suspending certain patient privacy rights in order to effectively assist them during the emergency. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FEMA, and HHS remain in close coordination with HHS. For information about HHS, see

More Information

For more information on Public Assistance eligibility and the H1N1 influenza visit:

Elizabeth A. Zimmerman    Date
Assistant Administrator
Disaster Assistance Directorate

Date: November 25, 2009

Last Updated: 
02/12/2015 - 15:25