Imperial County agencies to hear how to apply for Public Assistance grants to aid in earthquake recovery

The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have announced an Applicant Briefing for Public Assistance (PA) will be held for local governments and certain private non-profits affected by the April 4 earthquake.

The briefing, designed to help local agencies apply for federal and state disaster assistance, has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday, May 14 at the Imperial County Office of Emergency Services. This briefing is targeted to applicants, including state and local governments and certain private nonprofit (PNP) organizations that provide an essential government service.

These agencies may apply for PA grants to reimburse for eligible costs incurred for debris removal, emergency protective measures and repairs to facilities damaged during the earthquake.

During the briefing, Cal EMA will inform prospective applicants of available assistance and explain eligibility requirements for obtaining federal assistance under the President’s May 7 Disaster Declaration for Imperial County, which was requested by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

Cal EMA officials also will provide agency representatives with information about applying for state disaster assistance though the California Disaster Assistance Act.

The deadline for agencies to prepare and submit their Request for Public Assistance form is June 2, though applicants typically present the document during the briefing.

Under the PA program, FEMA reimburses eligible applicants for 75 percent of their eligible costs. Cal EMA pays 18.75 percent of eligible costs incurred by city and county agencies and special districts. Local agencies pick up the remaining 6.25 percent. State agencies and certain private nonprofits are responsible for the entire nonfederal share, which is 25 per cent.

At the briefing, state officials will outline the seven categories (A through G) of emergency response and permanent repair work eligible for PA grant assistance following the Baja/Imperial County earthquake.

Emergency Work

Category A: Debris Removal – Work to eliminate an immediate threat to life and property, including clearance of trees and woody debris; building wreckage, sand, mud, silt and gravel; vehicles; and other material deposited on public and, in very limited cases, private property.

Category B: Emergency Protective Measures – Measures taken before, during and immediately after a disaster to save lives, protect public health and safety, and eliminate or reduce an immediate threat of significant damage to improved public and private property.

Examples of eligible emergency protective measures include:

  • Life and Safety forces (police, fire, ambulance and guards)
  • Provision of shelters or emergency care
  • Bracing/shoring up of eligible damaged structures
  • Emergency repairs
  • Emergency demolition of eligible infrastructure
  • Removal of health and safety hazards

Permanent Work

  • Category C : Roads and Bridges – Repair of roads, bridges, shoulders, ditches, lighting and signs
  • Category D : Water Control Facilities – Repair of irrigation systems, drainage channels and pumping facilities; repair of levees, dams and flood control channels is eligible but limited
  • Category E : Buildings and Equipment – Repair or replacement of public buildings, including contents and systems; heavy equipment; and vehicles
  • Category F : Utilities – Repair of water treatment and delivery systems; power generation facilities and distribution lines; and sewage collection and treatment facilities
  • Category G : Parks, Recreational Facilities, Other – Repair and restoration of parks, playgrounds, pools, cemeteries and beaches; work otherwise not covered in categories A-F

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.