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This glossary provides definitions of many of the terms used by FEMA in various publications. The below glossary is in alphabetical order, along with the definition.


A state agency, local government, or eligible private nonprofit organization who submits a request to the Grantee for disaster assistance under the state's grant.

Applicant Liaison (Liaison)
A State customer service representative responsible for providing applicants with State specific information and documentation requirements. The Liaison works closely with the Public Assistance Coordinator to provide any assistance the applicant may require.

Case Management
A systems approach to provision of equitable and fast service to applicants for disaster assistance. Organized around the needs of the applicant, the system consists of a single point of coordination, a team of on-site specialists, and a centralized, automated filing system.

Case Management File
An electronic file containing all information pertinent to an applicant. The Case Management File centralizes applicant information combining all data collected throughout the Public Assistance process into one file. The file is created using information collected from the applicant's Request. Records of meetings, conversations, phone messages, and related administrative documentation are added to the Case Management File on a continual basis. The Public Assistance Coordinator (PAC) is responsible for maintaining the Case Management File of each assigned applicant.

Cost Estimating Format (CEF)
A forward pricing methodology for estimating the total cost of repair for large permanent projects by use of construction industry standards. The format uses a base cost estimate and design and construction contingency factors, applied as a percentage of the base cost.

The President's decision that a major disaster qualifies for federal assistance under the Stafford Act.

Emergency Work
That work which must be done immediately to save lives and to protect improved property, public health and safety, or to avert or lessen the threat of a major disaster. Emergency work frequently includes clearance and removal of debris and temporary restoration of essential public facilities and services. (Category A-B)

Any publicly or privately owned building, works, system, or equipment, built or manufactured, or an improved and maintained natural feature. Land used for agricultural purposes is not a facility.

Force Account
An applicant's own labor forces and equipment.

Hazard Mitigation
Any cost-effective measure that will reduce the potential for damage to a facility from a disaster event.

Immediate Needs Funding (INF)
An advance of grant funds to assist with payment of emergency work within the first 60 days after a disaster strikes. The amount of funding is normally 50% of the federal share of emergency costs as identified during the preliminary damage assessment.

Improved Property
A structure, facility, or item of equipment that was built, constructed, or manufactured. Land used for agricultural purposes is not improved property.

Kickoff Meeting
The initial meeting between an applicant and the Public Assistance Coordinator. At this working session, the applicant turns in a list of damages and receives comprehensive information about the Public Assistance program and detailed guidance for their specific circumstances.

Large Project
Eligible project, either emergency or permanent work, with a damage dollar value in excess of an amount adjusted annually for inflation.

Permanent Work
That work that must be performed through repairs or replacement to restore an eligible facility on the basis of its pre-disaster design, use, and current applicable standards. (Category C-G)

Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA)
A survey to determine the impact and magnitude of damage caused by the disaster and the resulting unmet needs of the public sector and community at large. The PDA is the basis for estimating total disaster-related damage and evaluating the need to request a Presidential declaration of disaster. Project A logical method of performing work required as a result of the declared event.

Project Formulation
A technique for determining small projects by consolidating like work items into one project to expedite approval and funding and to facilitate project management.

Project Worksheet (PW)
Form used to document the damage and develop the scope of work for repair of a damage site.

Project Officer (PO)
An emergency management employee with demonstrated experience and training in management of large and complex repair projects.

Private Nonprofit Organization (PNP)
Any non-governmental agency or entity that currently has either an effective ruling letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service granting tax exemption or satisfactory evidence from the state that the non-revenue producing organization or entity is a nonprofit one organized or operating under state law.

Public Assistance (PA)
Supplementary federal assistance provided under the Stafford Act to state and local governments or certain private, nonprofit organizations other than assistance for the direct benefit of individuals and families.

Public Assistance Coordinator (PAC)
An emergency management employee who is responsible for providing continuity of service to an applicant in the Public Assistance program.

Public Assistance Officer (PAO)
A Federal official specifically responsible for the Public Assistance (PA) Program during disaster operations. Typically, a State PAO is also designated with similar responsibilities within the State organization.

Request for Public Assistance (Request)
The official notification of intent to apply for public assistance monies following declaration of a disaster. It is a short form that asks for general identifying information about an applicant.

Small Project
Eligible project, either emergency or permanent work, with a damage dollar value of less than an amount adjusted annually for inflation.

Special Considerations
Factors that must be addressed before federal grant money can be obligated to repair or restore damaged facilities. These factors include, but are not limited to, general and flood insurance, historic preservation, environmental protection, and hazard mitigation.

Stafford Act
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93-288, as amended.

An emergency management employee with demonstrated technical expertise in a defined specialty.

The pre-funding verification that proposed or completed work projects meet statutory and regulatory compliance.

Last Updated: 
02/26/2015 - 16:14
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