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Birmingham-Jefferson County Outdoor Warning System Sirens

Appeal Brief

ApplicantAlabama Emergency Management Agency
Appeal Type2nd
Date Signed
1st Appeal • Issueo According to FEMA’s 2nd Appeal decision letter of September 2, 1993, the County requested a grant under HMGP to purchase and install 26 sirens for its outdoor warning system, pursuant to disaster declaration number FEMA-856-DR-AL. Region IV denied the County’s application for funds by letter on November 22, 1991. That letter stated the proposed project was “more correctly characterized as preparedness or response than mitigation.” Therefore, the “proposed project was inconsistent with the intent and eligibility criteria specified in regulations of the HMGP, as found at 44 CFR Part 206, Subpart N, Sec. 206.434.”• Reason for Denialo The proposed project was determined by FEMA Region IV not to be mitigation, and therefore was inconsistent with the intent and eligibility criteria specified in the regulations of the HMGP; and substitution for the funds of other Federal authority is prohibited. HMGP funds would duplicate funding that had been available for the proposed outdoor warning system through other Federal authorities.• Reference(s)o 44 CFR 206.430-440, HMGP minimum criteria for eligibility; 44 CFR 206.434(d), prohibition of substitution for the funds of other primary Federal authority 2nd Appeal • Issueo The applicant filed a second appeal through Region IV asking for a review of the justification and rationale originally set forth in the first appeal, on June 4, 1992. The applicant on first appeal had responded in opposition to (1) the five reasons for initially denying the application as put forth by Region IV, (2) challenged interpretations under the law and regulations which conclude that the proposed project is not a “mitigation” measure, (3) appealed to logic for approval of the application because the project would save lives and prevent injuries during tornado conditions, and (4) FEMA had approved under the HMGP a similar project in another Alabama County.• FEMA Findingso FEMA HQ denied the 2nd Appeal.o Rationale: The denial was primarily based on the position that the project would duplicate the funding authority of another Federal program (Duplication of Programs).o Reference(s): 44 CFR 206.434(d)

 

Appeal Letter

2-SEP-93Mr. Phillip L. Hicks, DirectorAlabama Emergency Management Agency5898 County Road 41Post Office Drawer 2160Clanton, Alabama 35045-5160 Dear Mr. Hicks:This responds to the second appeal of Birmingham-Jefferson County for a grant under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The County requested a grant to purchase and install 26 sirens for its outdoor warning system, pursuant to disaster declaration number FEMA-856-DR- AL. The second appeal was forwarded on June 4, 1992, through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IV. On behalf of the County, you asked that we reverse the Regional Director’s decision to deny the County’s application for a grant under the HMGP. I have determined that the project is not eligible for funding through the HMGP. In our review of the grant application, we found that (1) the application was incomplete, that (2) program regulations do not contemplate the purchase of equipment for warning and communication systems under the circumstances proposed by the applicant, and (3) program funds cannot be used as a substitute for the funds of other Federal programs, according to regulation. Any one of these reasons is sufficient to disapprove an application. The rationale for not approving the grant application is discussed thoroughly in the analysis provided with this letter. In summary, our analysis focused on the three issues noted above. In considering the first issue, the project application was not complete. The application did not adequately show, for example, that the proposed project is contained in the State Hazard Mitigation Plan; that it is a cost-effective project; that it is environmentally sound; or, that such projects are not funded by other Federal programs.In considering the second issue, the objective of the HMGP is not served by the project as proposed, since the Stafford Act does not provide for contributions toward such equipment purchases. Simply alerting individuals to a threat with sirens is not a sufficient hazardmitigation measure under the HMGP. In regard to the last issue, we found that a HMGP grant would substitute for Civil Defense authorizations and contributions for warning systems. We do not dispute that contributions have been less for the State of Alabama under Civil Defense appropriations. Alabama’s allocation went from a high of $1,140,000 between 1985 and 1988, to a low of $128,414 between 1989 and1992. Therefore, unless the State and local governments choose to provide additional funds, thereis probably a shortage of funds to meet the demands of all jurisdictions in Alabama. Note, however, that over the past eight years a total of $1,268,414 was available in the State of Alabama for the purchase of preparedness equipment and facilities under appropriations for Civil Defense programs. We conclude that the proposed project does not meet the minimum criteria for eligibility under the HMGP, as specified in program regulation at 44 CFR 206.430-440. The proposed project is, therefore, not appropriately funded under the HMGP. I hope that the State of Alabama will continue to be a major contributor in the pursuit of hazard mitigation objectives. Please call FEMA Region IV or my office with any questions you have about this decision. The HMGP is a program that has only recently begun to reduce future losses from natural disasters. As such, there remains much to learn about the potential for hazard mitigation under the program. We welcome your suggestions.Sincerely,Richard W. KrimmDeputy Associate DirectorState and Local Programs and Support

 

Appeal Analysis

The proposed project was determined not to be mitigation, and therefore inconsistent with the intent and eligibility criteria specified in the regulations of the HMGP; and substitution for the funds of other Federal authority is prohibited. HMGP funds would duplicate funding that had been available for the proposed outdoor warning system through other Federal authorities.
Last updated Aug 19, 2014

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