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National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program's State Assistance Program

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.

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 and 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)
  • Multi State National Earthquake Assistance (MSNEA)

For current Fiscal Year 2024 NEHRP information on eligibility and application process for available Funding Opportunities visit:

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.

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.

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:

  • Creating, updating, or improving seismic mitigation planning.
  • Developing and analyzing seismic hazard vulnerability and risk data (excluding earth science research).
  • Holding 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.

Prepare inventories and conduct seismic vulnerability evaluations and safety inspections of buildings, critical structures, and lifeline infrastructure

States and territories may use Individual State Earthquake Assistance grant funding to:

  • Planning, executing, and managing inventories and/or preparations for post-earthquake safety evaluations.
  • Increased staffing needs.
  • Conducting seismic vulnerability and safety evaluations of building, critical structures, and lifeline infrastructure (including residential housing).
    • This work may include the following tasks related to conducting seismic vulnerability and safety evaluations and developing inventories and/or preparations for post-earthquake safety evaluations:
      • Organizing, planning, training, and conducting field data collections
      • Building vulnerability evaluations, inventories, and safety evaluations
    • Non-building structures and critical infrastructure or lifelines evaluations
    • Data analysis and management
    • Report formulations
    • Other actionable and measurable tasks directly supporting this activity.

Information regarding seismically vulnerable buildings, critical structures and lifeline infrastructure identified during the conduct of this activity should be incorporated in State Hazard Mitigation Plans.  

Update building codes, zoning codes, and ordinances to enhance seismic safety

States and territories may use Individual State Earthquake Assistance grant funding to support:

  • Establish or improve pre-earthquake or post-earthquake local building code implementation activities including code adoption and enforcement as well as preparation for post-earthquake safety evaluations to enhance seismic safety based on the current or next most recent published edition of national model building codes and standards.
    • Setting up programs to increase capacity and efficiencies in post-earthquake building safety evaluations.
      • See FEMA P-2055 series of guidance publications which includes Guidance for Accelerated Building Reoccupancy Programs (FEMA P-2055-1),  Post-disaster Building Safety Evaluation Guidance, Report on the Current State of Practice including Recommendations Related to Structural and Nonstructural Safety and Habitability (FEMA P-2055), and Recommendations for Cordoning Earthquake-Damaged Buildings (FEMA P-2055-2).
  • Communications plans related to adoption ordinances based on the current or next most recent published edition of national model building codes and standards.
    • Plans may include other community resilience ordinances to enhance seismic safety such as zoning and land development regulations, zoning codes, and other community resilience development ordinances to enhance seismic safety. This may include projects such as:
      • Educational or informational materials
      • Online tools
      • Staffing needs
      • Workshops
      • Other actionable and measurable tasks directly supporting this activity.
  • Code adoption and ordinance development
    • FEMA encourages adoption of the two most recent editions of national model building codes and standards without weakening amendments of the natural hazard provisions.
    • Completing a review of the current status of seismic code adoption and enforcement is an allowable activity under this section.
  • Training and education on topics related to seismic building codes, standards, and practices.

Increase earthquake awareness and education

States and territories may use Individual State Earthquake Assistance funding for activities designed to increase earthquake awareness and education, including:

  • Developing and implementing local earthquake awareness and education activities that assist the public in preparing for, mitigating against, responding to, and recovering from earthquakes, such as:
    • Educational or informational materials
    • Online tools
    • Outreach or marketing plans
    • Staffing needs
    • Workshops
    • Other actionable and measurable tasks directly supporting this activity.

FEMA NEHRP recommends that the states and territories consider NEHRP earthquake guidance and materials prior to or 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. For guidance and materials, please review the documents available at Earthquake Risk | FEMA.gov and the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.  

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.

Promotion of earthquake insurance

States and territories may use FEMA NEHRP 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.

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. Funding may be used to resource activities that benefit more than a single state or territory but must provide support to the state proving funding. 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.

Additional FEMA grant resources are available to support and complement these allowable activities.

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.  

Annual Guidance

Performance Report

Additional Resources

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.

NEHRP eBlast Archive