PA ID# N/A; Hancock County Amateur Radio Association
PW ID# N/A; Request for Public Assistance
Conclusion: The Applicant’s radio station constitutes an “other essential governmental service facility” because it provides “health and safety services of a governmental nature” and, therefore, the Applicant, a private nonprofit organization, is an eligible PNP Public Assistance Program applicant.
The Hancock County Amateur Radio Association (Applicant) operates a low-power FM radio station. The Applicant is a 501(c)(3) private, nonprofit (PNP) organization. In 2005, in response to Hurricane Katrina, the Applicant moved its operations to the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and enabled the EOC and other organizations to broadcast vital information during the event. Following Hurricane Isaac in 2012, the Applicant submitted a Request for Public Assistance. In a letter dated October 30, 2012, FEMA denied the Applicant’s RPA, stating that the Applicant did not operate a facility falling within the six categories of facilities set forth in applicable Public Assistance (PA) Program regulations and, therefore, that the Applicant was not an eligible PNP applicant under the program. On first appeal, the Applicant argued that it is an eligible PNP applicant because it operates “a critical facility that serves citizens in the local community and surrounding areas” by providing “essential emergency information for the safety of life, health and property.” The FEMA Regional Administrator denied the first appeal, concluding that the Applicant’s emergency public service transmissions were infrequent and that the Applicant typically engages in more varied activities. On second appeal, the Applicant explained in more detail its emergency response role and highlighted its connection with the Hancock County EOC and Emergency Alert System responsibilities.
Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)
Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), Sections 102 (42 U.S.C. § 5122) & 406 (42 U.S.C. § 5172)
Under the PA Program, PNP organizations or institutions that own or operate a PNP facility (as legally defined) are eligible to apply for assistance.
Eligible PNP facilities include those considered an “essential governmental service facility,” which includes, among other things, zoos, community centers, libraries, and homeless shelters, and “facilities which provide health and safety services of a governmental nature.”
The Applicant’s radio station qualifies as an “essential governmental service facility”:
Under Hancock County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) guidelines, the Applicant’s radio station is to operate out of Hancock County’s Emergency Operations Center during hurricanes and tropical storms and other catastrophic events.
The Applicant’s radio station is the only Emergency Alert System-licensed station in the county.