HARRISBURG, PA -- As a result of the severe winter storms and snowstorms which struck the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from February 5-l1, 2010, Federal disaster aid has been made available to Pennsylvania to supplement recovery efforts. The disaster was declared on April 16, 2010.
Federal funding is available to Pennsylvania and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storm and snowstorm, and for emergency protective measures, including Category B snow assistance. Assistance is available to the designated counties for any continuous 48-hour period during or proximate to the incident period, with assistance available to Delaware County for any continuous 72-hour period.
Public Assistance Coordinators (PAC) Crew Leaders will work with Pennsylvania officials to prepare Project Worksheets (PWs) which will be filed with FEMA along with appropriate documentation. These PWs spell out the project purpose, cost, timeline and other information. An applicant may have a number of projects—bridges, road washouts, buildings, etc. Public Assistance projects fall into seven categories:
Category A: Debris removal on public property.
Category B: Emergency protective measures, including police services, taken before, during and immediately after a disaster to protect life and property, including short-term, mass-care sheltering and snow assistance.
Category C: Roads and bridges, including ditches, lighting and signs.
Category D: Water control facilities — irrigation systems, drainage channels and pumping facilities; limited repair of levees, dams and flood control channels;
Category E: Buildings and equipment — repair or replacement of buildings, contents, systems and vehicles.
Category F: Utilities — water treatment and delivery, power generation facilities and sewage collection and treatment.
Category G: Parks and recreational facilities, municipally owned cemeteries, engineered beaches and work not covered under other categories.
Project approvals depend on the Commonwealth and the Robert T. Stafford Act, which governs Federal Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. as amended). Affirmative answers to five main issues are required:
Is the applicant eligible? As a general rule, Public Assistance grants are for Commonwealth agencies, local governments and some private non-profit organizations. To qualify, the latter must provide a governmental-type service to the general public.
Is the work eligible? The project must be emergency work — action taken to save lives or protect property or for permanent work — restoration of eligible infrastructure. The work must be required as a direct result of the declared disaster event.
Is the facility eligible? The applicant must own the facility. If the facility is leased, the applicant must be legally responsible to make the repairs.
Is the area eligible? The project must be located in a designated county within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Is the cost eligible? The project cost must be reasonable and necessary.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.