OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- To date, nearly $2.25 million in Public Assistance (PA) funds have been obligated to assist state and local governments under the wildfire federal disaster declaration. The funds are being made available through a continuing partnership between the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management (OEM).
"OEM continues to work with applicants in finalizing their paperwork for public assistance and soon those funds will be delivered to assist state and local governments impacted by the fires," said OEM State Coordinating Officer Kathleen Shingledecker.
Under FEMA's PA program, grants are awarded to assist state and local governments as well as certain private non-profit entities in Oklahoma that are engaged in Emergency Protective Measures (EPM). EPMs are actions taken by applicants before, during and after a disaster to save lives, protect public health and safety, and prevent damage to improved public and private property.
"FEMA very clearly understands the financial strain that the wildfires have had on first responders and local government," Federal Coordinating Officer Philip E. Parr said. "That is why we have worked diligently to obligate funds in a timely manner."
Once obligated, the funds are available for Oklahoma to award as grants to approved applicants, reimbursing the applicant for approved expenses. FEMA PA funds usually cover 75 percent of the cost incurred by the applicant with 25 percent matched by the state and the applicant.
"We recognize our request for additional records came as many fire departments and other applicants continue to battle wildfires," Shingledecker said. "OEM will continue to work with all the local responders to see that federal-state assistance is delivered as quickly as possible."
Public Assistance questions for the Oklahoma wildfires should be directed to OEM Public Assistance personnel at 405-917-3800.
Individuals with wildfire damages and losses are urged to apply for federal and state disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The speech and hearing impaired may call 1-800-462-7585. An application can also be made online at www.fema.gov.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program.