National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program's State Assistance Program
Background & Authorities
State Assistance Program Process
Eligibility & Funding
Guidance, Reports & Best Practices
NEHRP eBlast Archive
FEMA administers several grant programs intended to reduce the risks to people and property posed by natural hazards. Although these programs are not dedicated exclusively to earthquakes, they can be valuable sources of funding for risk reduction efforts targeting earthquakes or earthquakes and other hazards at state or local levels.
Below is information about FEMA’s National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP) state assistance grant program, including current eligibility and application guidance.
See Other FEMA Grant Programs
FEMA NEHRP State Assistance
The FEMA National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Earthquake State Assistance Grant Program was created to increase and enhance the effective implementation of earthquake risk reduction at the local level.
NEHRP offers specialized training programs for state earthquake assistance. Learn more on the Workshops page.
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 grants and assistance to enable states to accomplish various eligible earthquake safety and mitigation activities, including assistance to multi-state groups. The FEMA NEHRP State Assistance Grant Program has two separate funding opportunities. Both the Individual State Earthquake Assistance (ISEA) and Multi-State and National Earthquake Assistance (MSNEA) funding opportunities are designed to increase and enhance the effective implementation of earthquake risk reduction at the national, state and local level.
Individual State Earthquake Assistance (ISEA)
FEMA awards non-competitive, grants to eligible states and territories with high 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. Support Seismic Mitigation Planning
States and territories may use Individual State Earthquake Assistance grant funding to develop, update, or enhance seismic components of the mitigation planning process. This may include development and analysis of seismic vulnerability data (excluding earth science research) and collaborative workshops to develop seismic mitigation strategies and support their implementation. Any seismic mitigation planning funded under this program shall be in alignment or in support of the State’s overall approved Hazard Mitigation Plan to ensure a well-coordinated risk reduction effort.
2. Develop inventories and conduct seismic safety inspections of critical structures and Lifeline Infrastructure
States and territories may use Individual State Earthquake Assistance grant funding to plan, execute and manage property inventories and conduct seismic safety inspections of critical structures and lifeline infrastructure( including residential housing). This may include funding milestones such as planning, training, field data collections and inspections, data analysis and management, report formulation, staffing, and other actionable and measurable tasks in support of this allowable activity. Information regarding seismically vulnerable structures identified during the conduct of this activity should be incorporated in State Hazard Mitigation Plans.
FEMA NEHRP recommends the use of FEMA 154 Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards as a method for initiating local building inventory projects and ATC 20 Post Earthquake Safety Evaluations of Buildings for seismic safety inspections.
3. Update building codes, zoning codes, and ordinances to enhance seismic safety
States and territories may use Individual State Earthquake Assistance grant funding to plan, develop, update, adopt and communicate local building codes, zoning codes and other community development ordinances to enhance seismic safety.
This may include funding milestones such as staffing, code development and other actionable and measurable tasks in direct support of this allowable activity. Funding may be used for the purpose of training local building code officials on topics related to this allowable activity. States and territories supporting these code related activities must adopt and enforce one of the two most recent editions of a model code at the state, territorial, or local level that adequately addresses seismic and other natural hazards, such as the International Codes, which are promulgated by the International Code Council.
Based on the lessons learned from historical U.S. disasters and the recent Alaska, California, Puerto Rico, and Utah earthquakes, building and zoning 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 retrofitted to a design that would withstand or minimize damage and prevent losses and injuries should an earthquake occur.
FEMA strongly encourages states and territories to consider investing in this allowable activity. For more information, visit the International Code Council website.
4. Increase earthquake awareness and education
States and territories may use Individual State Earthquake Assistance funding to plan, develop and implement local earthquake awareness and education activities that assist the public in preparing for, mitigating against, responding to and recovering from earthquakes.
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 in direct support of this allowable activity.
FEMA NEHRP recommends that the states and territories consider the earthquake guidance and materials already available on FEMA’s website and the National Earthquake Hazard Reductions Program website when developing local earthquake awareness and educational materials. FEMA NEHRP also strongly recommends integration of risk reduction messaging into most or all of the proposed projects under this allowable activity.
5. 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.
6. Promotion of earthquake insurance
States and territories may use Individual State Earthquake Assistance grant funding for education, awareness and outreach activities that promote the purchase of earthquake insurance by property owners. Materials and communications developed using Individual State Earthquake Assistance funding cannot promote or create the appearance of promoting a specific vendor or insurance company.
7. Assistance to multi-state groups for the purpose of supporting any or all allowable activities under this funding opportunity
States and territories may use Individual State Earthquake Assistance grant funding to provide funding to multi-state groups (nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education) for the purpose of supporting the activities allowed under this funding opportunity. This may include funding staff, documentation, meeting logistics, travel, and other actionable and measurable tasks in direct support of this allowable activity. All funding for multi-state group(s) support will be provided through the use of subawards. For additional information on subawards, see Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 200.92, Subaward.
Available Funding And Eligible Applicants
Eligibility for the Individual State Earthquake Assistance funding opportunity is limited to those states and territories determined to have a High or Very High earthquake risk. 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 P-366 HAZUS Estimated Annualized Earthquake Losses for the United States.
States and Territories that are eligible to apply for the Individual State Earthquake Assistance 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 may also receive assistance through FEMA’s National Earthquake Technical Assistance Program (NETAP).
Noncompetitive grants have been chosen as the funding mechanism for Individual State Earthquake Assistance because eligible recipients are identified based on seismic risk levels.
Multi-State and National Earthquake Assistance (MSNEA)
FEMA awards competitive grants to nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education that possess the critical skills necessary to develop and implement regional (multi-state) and/or national earthquake risk mitigation activities.
In accordance with the MSNEA Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), awardees are selected by a national review panel comprised of FEMA NEHRP subject matter experts (SMEs), who evaluate each applicant’s experience, proposed work plan, deliverable schedule, anticipated outcomes and proposed budget. A detailed list of multi-state and national activities is included in the funding opportunity which is linked in the annual guidance section below.
- Fiscal Year 2023 FEMA NEHRP Individual State Earthquake Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunity
- Fiscal Year 2023 FEMA NEHRP Multi-State and National Earthquake Assistance (MSNEA) Notice of Funding Opportunity
- Fiscal Year 2023 FEMA NEHRP State Assistance Annual Guidance Fact Sheet
- Grants.gov Basic Search
Other FEMA Grant Programs
FEMA administers several grant programs intended to reduce the risks to people and property posed by natural hazards.
Mitigation Best Practices
Read about examples of real earthquake risk-reduction projects, some of which were funded through the earthquake-relevant assistance programs.