Music NARRATOR: When a community is hit by a disaster, it is the local government and voluntary organizations that work the longest and hardest to rebuild their community. FEMA provides disaster assistance to many households in the same affected community as other disaster assistance partners. FEMA works with these partners to avoid duplicating assistance, benefits and other services. FEMA understands that in order to effectively provide the best possible assistance, we have to share some personally identifiable information, or PII of disaster applicants with disaster assistance partners. By Federal law, FEMA cannot disclose the PII it collects when administering disaster assistance. However, there are exceptions that allow disclosure of PII. The exception FEMA uses is called Routine Uses. Routine Uses are published in the Federal Register and are updated by FEMA when there is a need. When there are updates or new routine uses, FEMA briefs its partners so they have the latest information on the agency's information sharing practices. Routine Use "(H)", with its four subsets, allows information sharing with external partners who are providing benefits and services to disaster assistance applicants. Routine Use "(H)(2)" allows the release of personal information to a local government or voluntary organization who provides disaster assistance and is specifically charged to administer disaster relief programs. The request must include the official disaster number, the applicant's name, date of birth, FEMA registration number and damaged dwelling address. In addition, the request must state the type of assistance being offered by the entity and the form of verification the requesting entity will employ prior to awarding additional assistance. This is to help prevent local governments and voluntary organizations from duplicating aid that FEMA has already awarded. A Federal disaster can have hundreds, thousands, or even millions of disaster applicants. Routine Use "(H)(2)" reduces paperwork by allowing the requesting entity to include multiple applicants on one written request. To receive information from FEMA on disaster applicants, the local government agency or voluntary organization must submit a written request to the FEMA representative at the Joint Field Office. Or JFO, or if the JFO is closed, to the appropriate FEMA regional office. The appropriate office will review and determine if it is a valid request. If accepted, FEMA will request the applicable data from the National Processing Service Center or NPSC. FEMA then sends an official response to the requesting entity. Any information released to an entity cannot be further disclosed. The JFO or Regional Office will keep a copy of the incoming request, response, and data disclosed. When a community is affected by a disaster, the "boots on the ground" - the local government agencies and voluntary organizations - are crucial to disaster assistance work and recovery. FEMA provides the rules and tools to ensure information is being shared with disaster assistance partners, while protecting the personal information of the FEMA applicants. There are many particular situations and needs unique to every disaster event. For more information please contact your State Emergency Management Representative or FEMA Regional Office.