Washington, D.C. -- Federal disaster funds have been authorized for Pennsylvania communities hit by last month's record snowfall under an emergency declaration issued today by President Bush, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Michael D. Brown, FEMA director and under secretary designee for the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, said the President took the action after a review of the agency's analysis of the state's request for federal assistance. The declaration covers jurisdictions with record and near-record snowfall from the storm that occurred over the period of February 14-19.
Following the declaration, Brown designated 29 counties eligible for federal funding to pay part of the cost for emergency protective measures undertaken as a result of the snowstorm. This includes state and local government operations needed to protect public health and safety and to prevent damage to public or private property.
The designated counties include Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Cambria, Chester, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Montour, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Somerset, Union, Westmoreland and York.
Under the emergency declaration, FEMA will provide reimbursement to state and local government agencies for 75 percent of the total eligible costs of equipment, contracts, and personnel overtime related to emergency services in dealing with the snow over a 48-hour period. These are the crucial hours when work crews clear snow from emergency routes and roads to critical facilities to permit the passage of emergency vehicles. Related emergency protective measures such as sanding and salting, search and rescue, shelter operations, and police and fire department response will also be eligible for reimbursement.
Brown named Thomas Davies of FEMA to coordinate the federal assistance in the affected areas.