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FEMA NEHRP State Assistance Program

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) is the coordinated federal effort to address earthquake risks facing the nation. To support national, state, and local earthquake safety and resilience activities, FEMA awards non-competitive, cooperative agreements to 36 states and territories as well as regional Earthquake Consortia and other multi-State groups to enhance and implement earthquake risk reduction activities. The FEMA NEHRP State Assistance Program also supports States by delivering earthquake education and awareness training through the National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP), contracts with the Applied Technology Council (ATC), publications such as technical bulletins, and other guidance. Below is additional information on the FEMA NEHRP State Assistance Program.

Background and Authorities

As authorized by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977 (Public Law 95–124), as amended in 2004 (Public Law 108-360) and as required by the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Reauthorization Act of 2018 (Public Law 115–307), it is the mission of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in cooperation with other agencies participating in National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), "to reduce the risks of life and property from future earthquakes in the United States through the establishment and maintenance of an effective earthquake risk reduction program." In support of this mission, Public Law 115-307 directs FEMA to operate a program of direct assistance to states to accomplish various eligible earthquake safety and mitigation activities, including assistance to multi-state groups. The FEMA NEHRP State Assistance Program is designed to increase and enhance the effective implementation of earthquake risk reduction at the national, state, and local level.

FEMA NEHRP State Assistance Grant Program

FEMA awards non-competitive, cooperative agreements to eligible states and territories with moderate to very high seismic risks to fund one or more of the following allowable activities. The purpose is to support the establishment of earthquake hazards reduction programming and the implementation of earthquake safety, mitigation, and resilience activities at the state and local level.

1. Develop seismic mitigation plans

States and territories may use FEMA NEHRP State Assistance grant funding to develop, update, or enhance their seismic mitigation, preparedness, and response plan.  This may include funding milestones such as risk analysis (including Hazards-United States HAZUS loss estimation.), needs assessment, workshops to develop the plan, local plan adoption and training and other actionable and measurable tasks in direct support of this eligible activity.

Any seismic mitigation plan funded under this program shall be aligned with and support the state’s overall approved Hazard Mitigation Plan to ensure a well-coordinated community risk reduction effort.

 
2. Prepare inventories and conduct seismic safety inspections of critical structures and Lifeline Infrastructure                                                                                                                                         
States and territories may use FEMA NEHRP State Assistance grant funding to plan, execute, and manage property inventories and seismic safety inspections of critical structures and lifelines. This may include funding planning, training, field data collections and inspections, data analysis and management, report formulation, staffing, or other actionable and measurable tasks carried out in direct support of this eligible activity.

FEMA NEHRP recommends the use of Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards (FEMA 154) as a method for initiating local building inventory projects and Post Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings (ATC-20) for seismic safety inspections. If a certain State or territory determines this eligible activity to be a priority under this cooperative agreement, FEMA may be able to provide technical assistance FEMA 154 or FEMA 154 AND ATC 20 training at no cost to the community except for minimal logistical support.

3. Update building codes, zoning codes, and ordinances to enhance seismic safety
States and territories may use FEMA NEHRP State Assistance grant funding to plan, develop, update, adopt, or communicate local building codes, zoning codes, and other community development ordinances to enhance seismic safety. This may include funding milestones such as training, staffing, code development, and other actionable and measurable tasks in direct support of this eligible activity.

Based on the lessons learned from historical U.S. disasters and the 2010 Chilean and 2011 Japanese Earthquakes, building codes play a critical role in improving community resilience.  Building codes benefit public safety by ensuring that buildings and non-structural elements are built or rehabilitated to a design that would withstand or minimize damages and prevent losses and injuries should an earthquake occur.  FEMA highly recommends this eligible activity. 

For more information, visit the International Code Council at www.iccsafe.org.

4. Increase earthquake awareness and education
States and territories may use FEMA NEHRP State Assistance grant funding to plan, develop, and implement local earthquake awareness and education efforts. This may include funding the development of outreach or marketing plans, educational or informational materials or online tools, staffing, workshops, and other actionable and measurable tasks carried out in direct support of this eligible activity.

FEMA NEHRP recommends that the States and territories consider the earthquake publications, tools, and training resources already available on the FEMA.gov and NEHRP.gov websites prior to or when developing local earthquake awareness and educational materials. FEMA NEHRP also strongly recommends integration of risk-reduction messaging into most or all the proposed projects under this eligible activity.
 
5. Encourage the development of multi-State groups for such purposes
States and territories may use FEMA NEHRP State Assistance grant funding to establish and maintain local groups, advisory, boards, and/or committees that can demonstrate measurable support to local earthquake safety and any of the other eligible activities mentioned above.  This may include funding staffing, documentation, meeting logistics, travel, and other actionable and measurable tasks in direct support of this eligible activity.

6. Participation in emergency management exercises that substantially benefit earthquake mitigation efforts                                         
Emergency management exercises can provide opportunities to build partnerships and demonstrate the value of incorporating earthquake mitigation into comprehensive pre and post disaster emergency management planning. These activities can also be used to increase public awareness of earthquakes and to stimulate behavioral changes to foster a self-help approach to earthquake mitigation and preparedness.

7. Promotion of Earthquake Insurance                                                  
States and territories may use FEMA NEHRP State Assistance grant funding for education, awareness and outreach activities that promote the purchase of Earthquake Insurance by property owners. Materials and communications developed using FEMA NEHRP State Assistance grant funding cannot promote or create the appearance of promoting a specific vendor or insurance company.

Available Funding and Eligible Applicants

Eligibility for the Earthquake Direct State Assistance (EDSA) funding opportunity is limited to those 36 States and Territories at Moderate to Very High Risk of earthquakes. This determination is compiled annually by FEMA NEHRP as part of the State Assistance Target Allocation List. The List is based on the combination of the Seismic Design Category and Annualized Earthquake Loss contained in FEMA 366 HAZUS-MH Estimated Annualized Earthquake Losses for the United States. Specifically, states qualifying for the base level of Direct State Assistance funding are those states that are determined to contain Seismic Design Category C using the seismic design map for the 2015 International Residential Code. States qualifying for the risk-based component of FEMA NEHRP State Assistance funding, and the proportion of that funding, are determined using the Annualized Earthquake Losses from FEMA P-366, dated April 1, 2017.

States and Territories that are eligible to apply for the EDSA funding opportunity, must provide a required 25% non-Federal cost share. States and Territories may use third party “In-Kind” contributions to satisfy the non-Federal cost share.

States and Territories that elect not to participate in this funding opportunity will still receive assistance through national FEMA earthquake mitigation activities and multi-State activities managed and implemented by regional Earthquake Consortia and other multi-State groups. NETAP Training, FEMA technical assistance and support for the annual Great ShakeOut are examples of these activities. To further align our NEHRP grant program with other FEMA grant programs, FEMA will pay for all eligible States and Territories to attend the annual National Earthquake Program Manager Meeting. Beginning in 2020 States and Territories will no longer be required to use their limited grant funding to pay for this event.

Eligible regional Earthquake Consortia and other multi-State groups may apply to receive federal funding through the Earthquake Consortia and Partner Support (ECPS) funding opportunity. Federal funding is provided to specific regional Earthquake Consortia and Partners that possess the critical skills necessary to develop and implement regional (multi-state) and/or national earthquake risk mitigation activities.

Cooperative agreements have been chosen as the funding mechanism for this State Assistance Program because eligible recipients are identified based on seismic risk levels. Also, cooperative agreements provide an appropriate framework for ensuring continuous dialogue, increased partnership, and mutual cooperation between FEMA and the recipients aimed at understanding local risks, implementing sound seismic risk reduction strategies, and effectively completing approved activities.

Annual Guidance

Performance Reports

National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP)

The National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP) is designed to help state, local, and tribal governments obtain the knowledge, tools, and support that they need to plan and implement effective earthquake mitigation strategies. Resources available through the program include instructor-led training courses, technical assistance, tool-development aid, and special-project support.

Building Codes and Consensus Standards

Under NEHRP, FEMA is responsible for developing effective risk reduction tools and promoting their implementation, as well as supporting the development of disaster-resistant building codes and standards. Building Codes and Consensus Standards are one of the most effective mitigation strategies to reduce future losses. The FEMA Earthquake Program stays involved in the code process by:

  • Developing and maintaining a library of seismic technical design guidance products that provide input to the model codes and consensus standards development process;
  • Monitoring the codes and standards development process by its Seismic Code Support Committee; and
  • Tracking State and local code adoption using the International Code Council and the Insurance Services Office (ISO)/Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS).

FEMA was one of the first organizations to participate in the building code process, dating back over 35 years.  This investment has paid dividends as International Codes have been adopted in some form by all 50 States and Territories.

Contact Information

  • State Earthquake Contacts: State personnel responsible for managing and implementing the FEMA NEHRP Earthquake State Assistance Program and other local activities supporting earthquake risk reduction.
  • FEMA Regional Earthquake Contacts: Personnel in FEMA regional offices responsible for coordinating, collaborating with, and supporting state partners in the implementation of FEMA NEHRP Earthquake State Assistance Program cooperative agreements and other earthquake risk reduction activities.
  • FEMA Headquarters Team: Official responsible for overall nationwide oversight and coordination of the FEMA NEHRP Earthquake State Assistance Program.
     

Ed Laatsch
FEMA NEHRP Program Manager
400 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472

edward.laatsch@fema.dhs.gov

For questions about our FEMA NEHRP State Assistance grant program please contact the two Program Specialists below.

David Javier
FEMA NEHRP Senior Program Specialist
400 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
(202) 646-4037

gabriele.javier@fema.dhs.gov

Jon Foster
FEMA NEHRP Program Specialist
400 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
(202) 212-7852

jonathon.foster@fema.dhs.gov

For questions about NEHRP Special Projects and Building Codes and Consensus Standards please contact Mike Mahoney below.

Mike Mahoney
FEMA NEHRP Senior Program Specialist
400 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
(202) 646-2794

mike.mahoney@fema.dhs.gov

For questions about NEHRP Guidance for Existing Buildings please contact Drew Herseth below.

Drew Herseth
FEMA NEHRP Program Specialist
400 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
(202) 646-3706

andrew.herseth@fema.dhs.gov

For questions about NEHRP Guidance for New Buildings please contact Mai “Mike” Tong below.

Mai “Mike” Tong
FEMA NEHRP Program Specialist
400 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20472
(202) 646-4681

mai.tong@fema.dhs.gov

 

Last Updated: 
09/04/2019 - 08:52