ALBANY, N.Y. -- Repairs to the Endicott High School building in Broome County, damaged during the June 2006 flooding, were designed to a higher standard and may be less vulnerable to future flooding.
Thanks to a New York State and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) policy, extra funding is provided to mitigate against future damages to public infrastructure.
River flooding due to June’s torrential rains resulted in a total loss of electrical, heating and ventilation systems as well as the flooring and carpets on the ground floor. “The water rose 33 feet over the normal river level,” said George Stephens, assistant director of Facilities and Operations for the Endicott Central School District. “It destroyed the auto shop, the woodworking shop, the computer lab -- all a total loss. The total damage is $2 million and counting.”
President Bush signed a major disaster declaration for New York State as a result of the 2006 flooding.
The disaster declaration triggered the Public Assistance Program in Broome County to reimburse government entities and certain non-profits for emergency protective measures and the repair of damaged public infrastructure.
FEMA provides 75 percent of the grant funding. The 25 percent non-federal share is funded by the state. The New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) administers the program.
A major FEMA and SEMO goal is to mitigate, where it is cost effective, when restoring damaged infrastructure so the repaired facility is better able to withstand future disaster damages. Extra money spent now can reduce future impacts and costs.
SEMO and FEMA have approved about $185,000 in repairs and equipment replacement. An additional $35,000 is earmarked to install flood doors at the auto shop exterior and two sets of exterior hallway doors leading to the pool area so that water in a flood like the June 2006 event will not damage the facility. The total project costs approximately $220,000, of which the federal share is approximately$165,000.
“Mitigation activities such as these are a smart way of doing business by spending monies now to lessen the threat on communities before an event occurs in the future,” said State Coordinating Officer John R. Gibb, Director of SEMO.
“This is an excellent example of an investment in improvements that will pay dividends for years to come,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Marianne C. Jackson.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.