New York, NY -- Approximately 50 county emergency management coordinators, municipal emergency responders, and emergency medical providers attended State-hosted briefings to learn how the federal government will reimburse their staffs and facilities for exceptional expenses incurred by the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, federal and state recovery officials said.
"The Presidential emergency declaration of September 19 for the State of New Jersey authorizes federal funding for emergency protective measures in all 21 counties," said Peter Martinasco, federal coordinating officer for the State of New Jersey.
"Besides county and municipal emergency responders, this federal public assistance program includes State agencies and certain private-not-for-profit organizations, such as eligible hospitals. The federal government will reimburse 100 percent of all eligible overtime, nonscheduled hours billed by first-response emergency workers and related equipment expenses," he said.
Coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM), meetings were held in Burlington, Middlesex and Morris counties on Oct. 1 and 2, said Martinasco.
Meeting participants learned about eligibility requirements and were provided application forms. Municipal overtime hours for emergency personnel and allowable emergency equipment costs will be consolidated at the county level, forwarded to the State OEM, and then sent to FEMA. The total amount of federal aid will be determined after this data is approved. County and local repayments will be made by the State of New Jersey through electronic transfers, while private-not-for-profit groups, including some fire companies and emergency medical units, will receive State-issued checks.
"Although federal reimbursement for emergency protective measures is clear, the terrorist attacks resulted in unique emergency response situations," said Charles McSloy, state public assistance officer. "For example, the State is working with volunteer emergency-response teams to document expenses for potential federal funding."
Lt. Ed O'Neil, state-coordinating officer for the New Jersey OEM, reminded participants there is a significant individual assistance component to the recovery, too. He told them about the social services at the "Family Assistance Center" in Liberty State Park (exit 14-C off the New Jersey Turnpike).
"About 300 New Jersey families have visited the Center," said O'Neil. "They received financial and legal counseling, FEMA instruction, emotional and physical support, guidance to apply for New York Crime Victims aid, New Jersey Violent Crime Compensation Board assistance, missing persons assistance, expedited death certificate filings, and much more. It begins with one phone call to 1-866-NJ CRISIS or 1-866-652-7474."
Besides FEMA Public Assistance, federal aid includes U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) "Economic Injury Disaster Loans" (EIDLs) to eligible small businesses in Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic, Sussex and Union counties. EIDLs are available to small business owners that are unable to pay bills or meet normal operating expenses due to the explosions and fires at the WTC. These loans carry an interest rate of 4 percent and loan terms may run up to 30 years. Small business owners that want to apply for EIDL assistance may call SBA directly at 1-800-659-2955.