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Preparedness Grants Case Studies

The FEMA preparedness grant case studies seek to understand how FEMA non-disaster preparedness grant funds are used to increase capabilities to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from natural disasters and adversarial events.

Preparedness grant case studies are part of FEMA’s broader work to understand the role of grant-funded investments in improving grantee outcomes. These efforts are organized under the Grant Effectiveness Strategic Vision 2.0, which guides grant effectiveness evaluations and includes a formal research agenda and data management integration line of effort. The described projects focus on improving data quality, measurement, analysis, and communication associated with grant outcomes.

Temporary shelter used to increase healthcare capacity in Newark, New Jersey

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Virtual Case Study: Jersey City–Newark, New Jersey

FEMA conducted a virtual case study to understand the role preparedness grants have had on the region’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

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In May 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a preparedness grants effectiveness virtual case study with the State of Georgia. The purpose of this case study was to understand the role of FEMA preparedness grants in Georgia’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine rollout. This case study used data gathered from one interview with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS). It also drew from information that Georgia emergency management personnel provided through the Biannual Strategy Implementation Report (BSIR) and the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA)/Stakeholder Preparedness Review (SPR).
In May 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a virtual case study interview with representatives from the Jersey City–Newark Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) to discuss the effectiveness of two grant investments that were made with FEMA preparedness grant funds. The purpose of the study was to understand how FEMA preparedness grants aided Jersey City–Newark in preparing for and responding to challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a grant effectiveness case study in New York City, NY to understand how the city uses preparedness funds to increase its ability to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks.
In 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a grant effectiveness case study in New York City, NY to understand how the city uses preparedness funds to increase its ability to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks.

In July 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a preparedness grant effectiveness case study of the State of Washington (the state).

In August 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a preparedness grant effectiveness case study with the City of Chicago Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI).

In August 2020, FEMA conducted a preparedness grants effectiveness virtual case study with the State of Idaho. The purpose of this case study was to understand the role of FEMA preparedness grants in Idaho’s coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response.
In September 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a preparedness grants effectiveness virtual case study with members of the Jersey City–Newark, New Jersey Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI; Jersey City–Newark). The purpose of the study was to understand the role of FEMA preparedness grants on the region’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
In July 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a preparedness grants and FEMA Integration Team (FIT) effectiveness virtual case study with the State of Connecticut. The purpose of the study was to understand the role of FEMA preparedness grants and FITs in the state’s coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response.
In 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a grant effectiveness case study in Florida to understand the state’s use of grant funds to increase its ability to respond to, recover from, and mitigate the impacts of natural and man-made disasters and real-world events. Specifically, FEMA examined how Florida invested Federal, state, and local funds to address lessons learned from previous disasters to close capability gaps, and whether these investments resulted in improved preparedness ahead of Hurricane Irma in 2017.
In 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a grant effectiveness case study of the Las Vegas urban area to understand how the state and local jurisdictions use preparedness grants to increase their emergency preparedness and counterterrorism capabilities. Specifically, FEMA examined how the Las Vegas urban area used grant funds to close capability gaps and examined the impact that those investments had on the area’s response to the October 1, 2017, incident (1 October) at the Route 91 Harvest festival.
In 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a grant effectiveness case study in Texas to understand Texas’ use of grant funds to increase its ability to respond to, recover from, and mitigate disaster impacts. Specifically, FEMA examined how Texas made investments using Federal, state, and local funds to address lessons learned from previous disasters by closing capability gaps and whether these investments resulted in improved preparedness ahead of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
In August 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a grant effectiveness case study with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) to understand how the Port Authority used grant funds to increase its ability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other human threats. Specifically, FEMA examined how the Port Authority made investments using Federal, state, and local dollars to address lessons learned from prior terror plots and attacks to close capability gaps and to determine whether these investments resulted in increased preparedness for future terror attacks.
In 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a grant effectiveness case study with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to understand how the Tribe uses grant funds to increase its emergency management capabilities for both all-hazards response and preventing terrorist attacks.
Since 2004, Washington State Homeland Security Region 9 has prioritized investments in interoperable radio communications for all first responders, regardless of discipline. Regional partners collaborated to establish an interoperable communications system with increased coverage that has improved incident response across all levels of government for the region.
Washington State’s Pacific coast faces the threat of large-scale earthquakes and tsunamis. To mitigate the risk, Washington is providing technical assistance to cities, counties, and tribes for construction of the Nation’s first vertical evacuation structures capable of withstanding 9.0+ magnitude earthquakes and 30-foot waves. The project provides residents and visitors in coastal population centers a means of seeking safety without having to travel considerable distance to natural high ground.
The Seattle Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) established Northwest Regional Aviation (NWRA)—an aviation consortium that protects the Puget Sound area from terrorism and responds to large-scale disasters. The NWRA saved 12 survivors during the first three hours of the Snohomish County mudslide on March 22, 2014.
Over 18 years, the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission (SETRPC) implemented an interoperable 800-megahertz (MHz) radio system. During Hurricane Harvey, local communities maintained clear and consistent communication as a result of these radio system improvements, even though floodwaters physically isolated them.
During Hurricane Harvey, flooding at the Arkema Chemical Plant caused trailers to leak dangerous chemicals. The Houston Police Department used a helicopter equipped with night vision video capabilities and data downlink software to reveal an unstable condition as chemicals began to react. This provided first responders real-time, detailed visual information that possibly saved the lives of sixteen responders who would have otherwise entered a dangerous situation.
The City of Houston, Harris County and Montgomery County built a fully interoperable emergency management communication network. Montgomery County’s network was built independently of the Houston/Harris County network, and all three governments coordinated to ensure that networks were interoperable and continue to rely on one another for increased operational effectiveness.
This Texas-funded innovative program trains jurisdictions to address disaster-related financial topics such as how to track time and labor, overtime charges, and travel cost processing. Local jurisdictions reported better capabilities in handling Hurricane Harvey- related finances after completing the training.
Oklahoma developed two programs—Safe Schools 101 and the Oklahoma School Security Institute (OSSI)—to protect students from natural and manmade hazards. Together, these programs protect schools from the dangers of tornadoes and enhance school security and response plans.
Oklahoma created the Regional Response System (RRS)—a collection of specialized units and equipment—to provide all-hazards response throughout the state within two hours of an incident. RRS units have responded to dozens of incidents, including the May 20, 2013 tornado near Oklahoma City.
New York City (NYC) began monitoring individuals returning from countries affected by Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the fall of 2014, in response to a directive from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Using almost $1.7 million in Public Health Emergency Preparedness funds (including the EVD suplemental) and $3.5 million in Urban Areas Security Initiative funds, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) quickly adapted existing structures to stand up an active monitoring system.
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first-ever case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the United States, New York City (NYC) quickly acted to educate the public about EVD and its associated risks. In support of this effort, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) deployed community outreach teams to distribute informational materials and engage the public in discussions about EVD. DOHMH distributed cards (available in nine languages) with information about EVD risks and transmission (DOHMH).
Following the March 2014 outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease(EVD) in West Africa, New York City (NYC) agencies began developing plans and protocols for handling potential EVD cases. As part of this effort, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) collaborated with city hospitals and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to develop Bio Isolation Transfer (BIT) cards—documents embodying standard operating procedures (SOPs) for safely transporting and handing off individuals suspected of having contracted EVD (known as “persons under investigation,” or PUIs).
Recognizing the vulnerability of government information technology (IT) networks to threats from malicious actors, MN.IT—the state’s IT agency—created the Statewide Security Monitoring Initiative (SSMI) to increase IT network security for counties and cities across Minnesota. MN.IT has used Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) funding to support multiple elements of the initiative, including hardware and software investments and network monitoring for 25 counties.
Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology enhances Michigan’s abilities to conduct real-time assessments during an incident and collect detailed post-incident information for recovery activities. The Michigan State Police (MSP) purchased the UAS with $162,000 in Homeland Security Grant Program funds and have used the UAS during real-world incidents, exercises, and trainings.
Michigan’s emergency managers and state officials are building public- private partnerships and using grant funding to enhance the state’s cyber response capabilities. Initiatives include the Cyber Range, which is training members across the community in cybersecurity response skills; the Michigan Cyber Command Center (MC3), which is enhancing coordination between the state’s fusion and the State Emergency Operations Centers; and the Michigan Cyber Disruption Response Plan development, which will help government, industry, and community organizations respond to malicious cyber activity.
Louisiana developed the Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center (LA BEOC) to enable the business community to actively participate in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. The LA BEOC supports community resilience by applying private sector resources during response and recovery efforts and aiding the swift return of normal business operations.
The Greater Lafourche Port Commission used Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) funds to create an integrated Maritime Domain Awareness System to protect against threats to the port and assist in emergency response operations.
All-Hazard Incident Management Teams (AHIMT) provide situational awareness and support to the SERTs and the State Coordinating Officer (SCO). FDEM deployed all six AHIMTs at least once in response to Hurricane Irma. Before Hurricane Irma, Florida used grant funds in 2015 to develop the All-Hazards Incident Management Qualification Program, which helps to ensure both the efficient allocation of resources and that emergency responders are supported effectively during an incident.
The Operation Heat Shield Full-Scale exercises were conducted in response to the threat of complex, coordinated terrorist attacks at unique venues such as stadiums and airports. Operation Heat Shield is a full-scale exercise testing regional agency coordination, response, and rescue efforts as emergency managers and responders are faced with complex coordinated terrorist attacks at several unique venues.
The Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) used preparedness grant funds (EMPG) to expand its WebEOC crisis management system, a shared statewide communication software platform that can implement standard emergency management processes to maintain a common operating picture during large-scale events.
Following the September 2013 Navy Yard shooting, the District of Columbia (DC) recognized the need to enhance their response to mass fatality incidents. As part of this effort, the District invested Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funding to implement five mass fatality services projects.
Based on lessons learned from the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013, Cuyahoga County invested State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) funding to create over 100 deployable mass casualty supply kits. Cuyahoga County deployed these kits in support of the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 2014, the police department in Brewer, Maine used State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) funds to establish the Multi-Assault Counter Terrorism Action Capabilities (MACTAC) training program to enhance regional response to complex coordinated terrorist attacks and active shooter events. To date, more than 45 officers have participated in the program, which includes a virtual training simulator.
Massachusetts’s Western Homeland Security Planning Region used State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) funding to support a Children in Disasters Conference in September 2015. Local planners incorporated subject-matter expertise and participant input from the conference into subsequent efforts, such as developing a Family Reunification Plan Template.
In 2013, Montana Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) and the Montana Fire Wardens Association invested State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) funds to develop Situation Analyst Montana (SAM), a web-based platform that enables emergency managers, public health, fire, and law enforcement stakeholders to access a common operating picture of ongoing statewide incidents in real time. This project addressed a capability gap in maintaining operational coordination of wildfire response efforts.
The South Central Regional Explosives Unit responds to hundreds of explosive related calls in 33 Colorado counties each year. The Unit has responded to calls for service involving drug facilities, and suspicious packages. The unit responds and serves as the primary bomb squad for Homeland Security in the South Central Region, which encompasses five counties: Chaffee, El Paso, Lake, Park and Teller, as well as the Colorado Springs Metropolitan area (total estimated population of 720,256).
The Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC) is the state’s fusion center, which serves as the analytic hub for all-hazards disasters. In addition to collecting, analyzing, and distributing all-hazards information to stakeholders throughout the county, the CIAC develops innovative programs to enhance statewide antiterrorism initiatives. Through the Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) program and Community Awareness Program (CAP), the CIAC trains local law enforcement officers, private sector partners, and the general public to recognize and report terrorism-related information.
Federal preparedness grants support Colorado’s structured partnership with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), which assists in establishing and maintaining emergency communications during disasters. The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management coordinates emergency radio communication throughout the State of Colorado. The division serves a population of approximately 5.2 million residents, half of which live in the Denver metropolitan area.
The Port of Long Beach (POLB) is the second busiest port in the United States, with more than $180 billion in trade moving through the port annually and covering 3,500 acres of land and 4,600 acres of water. Each day, the port handles thousands of shipping containers, petroleum products, and bulk cargo ships. To enhance port security operations, the POLB developed Virtual Port—a customized mapping and monitoring platform that integrates real-time data from multiple sources. It provides situational awareness of port operations and facilitates rapid incident response across multiple agencies and jurisdictions.
CRDT members investigate the impacts of a cyber disruption event during the 2015 San Diego Capstone Full-Scale Exercise (San Diego OES) In 2013, the County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services (San Diego OES) convened cybersecurity, law enforcement, and emergency management subject matter experts to establish a regional Cyber Disruption Response Team (CDRT). The CDRT is responsible for managing the region’s response to cyber disruptions as defined in San Diego OES’s cyber disruption response plans. In a 2015 full-scale cybersecurity exercise, the CDRT successfully responded to a cyber disruption that affected regional power infrastructure.
Developed through the Statewide Risk Management Program in collaboration with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and eight California Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) regions, the California Common Operating Picture (Cal COP) for Threat Awareness addresses the statewide need for storing and sharing critical infrastructure information and enhances situational threat awareness.
Last updated February 22, 2021