Cross Reference: Existence of serious health hazard, Nuisance, Mosquito Spray
Summary: In October 1995, Hurricane Opal struck Escambia, Florida and other surrounding areas. DSR 59840 was written in the amount of $11,373 for the additional cost of mosquito spraying beyond that normally used for the period following Hurricane Opal. The DSR was suspended pending verification from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that a health hazard existed.
Escambia County submitted their first appeal contending that the complaints of mosquito infestation rose significantly following the storm event. The subgrantee claimed that upon being notified by the State Health Department that a health hazard existed from the stagnant water and backed up sewage, the subgrantee increased the spraying for mosquito and arthropod. The first appeal was denied because FEMA determined that there was no immediate threat to the health and safety of the public. The DRM determined that an evaluation by the CDC was necessary prior to approving spraying for mosquito control to ensure that the increase in mosquito population constituted a health threat, not just an increased nuisance.
The subgrantee submitted their second appeal with additional documentation, including the letters from the State Health Department. The letters mentioned the existence of a health hazard and nuisance as a result of Hurricane Opal. However, the letters did not identify the threat from the occurrence of any specific disease as a result of not increasing the mosquito spraying.
Issues: Should FEMA reimburse the cost for mosquito spray?
Findings: No. No specific threat to the health and safety of the public has been identified.
Rationale: According to FEMA Regulation (Public Assistance Guide (FEMA 286/September 1996), removal of health and safety hazards activity includes vector control of insects when there is a serious health hazard, not when they are merely a nuisance. The documentation submitted does not indicate the existence of a serious health hazard that prompted emergency action.