WARWICK, R.I. -- When Rhode Island was struck by the severe storms in March and April, some community leaders turned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide guidance on how to apply for federal funding.
Since the presidential disaster declaration in Rhode Island, FEMA Public Assistance (PA) project specialists have been in neighborhoods helping local officials document disaster damage. State and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations are working with FEMA so they can receive PA funds to help clean up debris and repair public facilities, such as roads and bridges.
Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency Executive Director J. David Smith said he is glad FEMA is here. “We’re happy to have FEMA helping our communities. I know it was a relief to many community leaders to have Public Assistance project specialists meet with them face to face and clarify the application process.”
Smithfield town officials said they were happy they connected with a FEMA PA project specialist to help them apply for funding. John Ratcliffe, acting director for Smithfield’s Department of Public Works, said, “I cannot say enough about how painless the FEMA project specialist made the process of wading through the unfamiliar paperwork to request reimbursement to repair infrastructure damaged by the flood waters.”
FEMA teams went into action immediately when they hit the ground in Scituate, according to Rich Tucker from Scituate’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA). “A FEMA PA specialist helped me forge through the application process and was available to answer all my questions,” he said.
North Providence officials say FEMA responded to their town’s needs within days after the flood. Frank Bursie, deputy director for the North Providence EMA said, “North Providence could not be more satisfied and fortunate to have a FEMA projects specialist assigned to help with the reimbursement process. His vast knowledge of the system and reimbursement process, coupled with his user-friendly personality, provided much needed and timely information that relieved our anxieties.”
While FEMA PA project specialists help community leaders apply for grants that will help local government and organizations, their final goal is to help a community and its citizens recover and mitigate impact from future disasters.
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.