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Barlow Bend Community Action League Community Safe Room

Appeal Brief Appeal Letter Appeal Analysis

Appeal Brief

ApplicantAlabama Emergency Management Agency
Appeal Type2nd
Project Number732
Date Signed2010-12-27T00:00:00
1st Appeal
• Issue
o The Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) submitted an HMGP project application for construction of a community safe room to be owned and operated by the Barlow Bend Community Action League in Clarke County District Four, Gainestown, Alabama, on June 5, 2008. FEMA Region IV denied the project on February 27, 2009, citing a number of deficiencies in the application including access to the facility via unimproved roads, lack of an adequate warning system, and the relationship of the proposed facility to current emergency evacuation plans. AEMA appealed on April 27, 2009; Region IV denied the appeal request citing outstanding issues with population to be protected, access and travel time to the proposed facility, emergency evacuation plans, and budget items related to the safe room. AEMA submitted a second appeal to FEMA headquarters on January 26, 2010.
• Reason for Denial
o FEMA cited a number of deficiencies in the application including access to the facility via unimproved roads, lack of an adequate warning system, and no demonstrated incorporation of the proposed facility with local emergency evacuation plans.
• Reference(s)
o MRR-2-07-1, Hazard Mitigation Assistance for Safe Rooms; FEMA Publication 361
2nd Appeal
• Issue
o AEMA claimed in the 2nd Appeal that the sub-applicant addressed the points of denial.
• FEMA Findings
o FEMA HQ denied the 2nd Appeal.
o Rationale: The appeal submission did not clearly demonstrate that the intended population to utilize the safe room could safely reach the facility within the required 15-minute timeframe; deficient demonstration of an adequate warning system, incorporation of the proposed facility with local emergency evacuation plans, and feasibility of access via a series of unimproved roads within the prescribed time.
o Reference(s):  MRR-2-07-1, Hazard Mitigation Assistance for Safe Rooms; FEMA Publication 361

 

Appeal Letter

Brock Long
Director
Alabama Emergency Management Agency
5898 County Road 41
Clanton, AL 35046-2160
RE:   Second Appeal: Barlow Bend Community Action League Community Safe Room, HMGP DR-1605-AEMA-PN 0732
       
Dear Mr. Long:
 
This is in response to your letter dated January 19, 2010, which transmitted the referenced appeal on behalf of the Barlow Bend Community Action League.  Barlow Bend Community Action League is appealing the Regional Administrator’s decision to deny its request for $3.1 million under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to construct a safe room.
 
Background:
On June 5, 2008, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) submitted an HMGP project application for construction of a community safe room to be owned and operated by the Barlow Bend Community Action League in Clarke County District Four, Gainestown, Alabama. The proposed safe room project would be a dual use facility incorporating a safe room within a local community center.  The proposed safe room would be approximately 9,500 square feet in size with a capacity to serve 1,830 people for a tornado event and 930 people for a hurricane event.  The total proposed cost of the project would be approximately $4.1 million with a Federal share of $3.1 million.
On February 27, 2009, FEMA Region IV issued a denial letter to AEMA for the proposed Barlow Bend Community Safe Room project.  The denial letter cited a number of deficiencies in the application including access to the facility via unimproved roads, lack of an adequate warning system, and the relationship of the proposed facility to current emergency evacuation plans.
 
On April 27, 2009, FEMA Region IV received an appeal from AEMA requesting reconsideration of the denial for the proposed Safe Room project.  On October 4, 2009, FEMA Region IV denied the AEMA appeal request citing outstanding issues with population to be protected, access and travel time to the proposed facility, emergency evacuation plans, and budget items related to the safe room.
 
AEMA submitted a second appeal to FEMA headquarters on January 26, 2010, with additional documentation to address the denial points raised by Region IV. 
 
Analysis:
Section B of FEMA Mitigation Interim Policy, MRR-2-07-1, Hazard Mitigation Assistance for Safe Rooms, states that the applicant will demonstrate travel times for the population to be protected to reach the safe room, such that people are not exposed to additional risk when moving to the protected area.  The appeal submission does not clearly demonstrate that the intended population to utilize the safe room could safely reach the facility within the required 15-minute timeframe.  The application and appeal data do not demonstrate an adequate warning system to effectively support safe room operation, incorporation of the proposed facility with local emergency evacuation plans, or how access via a series of unimproved roads within the prescribed time is feasible.  It appears that the proposed project may in fact have the unintended effect of placing some portion of the proposed 1,830 occupants in harm’s way when attempting to reach the community safe room within the prescribed timeframe.
 
Conclusion:
I have thoroughly reviewed all documentation that the State submitted with the appeal and have determined that the Region’s decision on the first appeal is consistent with program regulations and policy.  Therefore, I deny the second appeal.  
Please inform the Barlow Bend Community Action League of my determination.  My determination is the final decision on this issue in accordance with 44 CFR 206.440, Appeals.
 
Sincerely,
Sandra K. Knight, PhD, PE
Deputy Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administrator, Mitigation

 

Appeal Analysis

Section B of FEMA Mitigation Interim Policy, MRR-2-07-1, Hazard Mitigation Assistance for Safe Rooms, states that the applicant will demonstrate travel times for the population to be protected to reach the safe room, such that people are not exposed to additional risk when moving to the protected area.  The appeal submission does not clearly demonstrate that the intended population to utilize the safe room could safely reach the facility within the required 15-minute timeframe.  The application and appeal data do not demonstrate an adequate warning system to effectively support safe room operation, incorporation of the proposed facility with local emergency evacuation plans, or how access via a series of unimproved roads within the prescribed time is feasible.  It appears that the proposed project may in fact have the unintended effect of placing some portion of the proposed 1,830 occupants in harm’s way when attempting to reach the community safe room within the prescribed timeframe.

Last updated August 19, 2014