Disaster Declarations - State and Federal
A disaster declaration is an official statement issued by the government (often at the federal, state, or local level) that a certain area has been affected by a disaster or emergency event. The declaration gets made when the damage or risk posed by the disaster exceeds the capacity of the local government to respond. The declaration may also provide access to special government assistance programs and other forms of aid.
What You Need To Know About Disaster Declarations
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C §§ 5121-5207 (the Stafford Act) provides a process for federal assistance to communities affected by a major disaster or emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is authorized to provide assistance to state and local governments in responding to disasters.
The process begins when the Governor of a state, or the Mayor of a major city, requests a disaster declaration from the President. The request includes a description of the incident, the estimated damage, and the type of assistance requested. the governor must certify that the incident is of such severity and magnitude that state and local resources are overwhelmed. The request is then reviewed and evaluated by FEMA.
If FEMA determines that the request is valid, then FEMA will provide a recommendation to the President on whether a major disaster or emergency should be declared. The President then has the authority to declare a major disaster or emergency.
If the President determines that an incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and local governments and supplemental federal assistance is necessary, then they may issue a major disaster declaration.
The President may also issue an emergency declaration if the incident is of such severity and magnitude that federal assistance is necessary to save lives and protect property, public health, and safety. This declaration triggers the release of federal funds to assist with the response to the emergency.
Once the President has issued a major disaster or emergency declaration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinates the response and recovery efforts. FEMA works with the state and local governments to identify the specific needs of the affected community and develop an action plan to meet those needs. The assistance may include direct federal assistance such as grants, loans, and other forms of assistance as well as indirect assistance such as technical and planning support.
A preliminary damage assessment (PDA) may be done when it is apparent that a Presidential disaster declaration may be necessary to help in the recovery of a certain impacted area. The PDA includes the extent of the disaster, its impact on individuals and public facilities, and the types of federal assistance that may be needed. Once the PDA is complete and the State determines that the damage exceeds its resources, the Governor can submit a declaration request through the FEMA Regional Office.
A PDA typically gets completed before the Governor's request for a major disaster declaration. However, when a severe or catastrophic event occurs, the Governor can submit the request prior to the completion of the PDA. The PDA has information about the nature and the number of resources that the State commits to the disaster, an estimate of the amount of severity of the damage, and an estimate of the type and amount of assistance needed under the Stafford Act.
A Pre-Disaster Emergency Declaration is an official declaration issued by the President of the U.S. in anticipation of a natural or man-made disaster. It is meant to provide federal assistance to local governments in order to help prepare for, mitigate, and respond to the effects of the disaster.
The state Governor may request that an Emergency Declaration be made in advance or in anticipation of a disaster event where destruction and damages are imminent. Requests must demonstrate the existence of critical emergency protective measure needs prior to impact beyond the capability of the State and affected local governments and identify specific unmet emergency needs that can be met through direct federal assistance.
Pre-Disaster Emergency Declarations are typically issued in advance of an impending disaster and are often accompanied by other forms of federal assistance, such as financial aid, personnel, and emergency supplies. Pre-Disaster Emergency Declarations are issued by the President under his executive authority and can be issued for any type of emergency, regardless of its cause.
State Disaster Declarations
State Disaster Declarations
The federal government can declare a state of emergency in a state in response to a variety of disasters. This declaration also can help free up federal aid for the affected state and provide additional resources for the state to respond to the disaster. The President of the United States has the power to declare a state of emergency in any state. The Governor of a state also has the power to declare a state of emergency in their own state.
State Disaster Declarations
The Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act (Louisiana Disaster Act) – Louisiana Revised Statutes (LRS) Title 29:721 - 739 – provides the authority for the Governor, Parish Presidents, and municipal chief executive officers to issue emergency declarations. Parish Presidents and Mayors can declare a State of Emergency in their respective jurisdictions. The Governor can declare a State of Emergency for any jurisdiction in the State or the State as a whole.
The occurrence of a disaster or emergency requires a response that creates issues not experienced in the everyday management of government. The emergency declaration grants the Governor and local officials in the declared area the authority to exercise extraordinary police powers to respond to the incident – powers they do not possess without the issuance of a properly executed emergency declaration.
When an emergency or disaster event overwhelms State and local resources, the Governor can request Federal assistance through a Presidential declaration.
- Damages have to be assessed.
- Damage indicators must be met.
- Local authorities have to declare the State of Emergency.
- The Governor has to request the Presidential declaration.
- FEMA Region VI has to approve it before it lands on the President’s desk.
A request for a state disaster declaration can typically be made anytime a state is facing a significant disaster or emergency situation, such as a natural disaster. In most cases, the request should be made as soon as possible after the event has occurred, in order to ensure that the state has sufficient time to review the request and determine whether a declaration is necessary. The request must be made 30 days from the date of the disaster event.
Federal Disaster Declarations
Federal Disaster Declarations
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for providing assistance to state and local governments, as well as to certain private non-profit organizations, for responding to and recovering from a disaster or emergency. When a disaster gets declared, this triggers the release of federal funds that can be used to help affected areas recover. To receive a disaster declaration, a state must submit a request to FEMA. The request must include information about the damage and the estimated cost of repairs. After evaluating the request, FEMA will decide whether or not to issue a disaster declaration. If a disaster declaration is issued, the state is then eligible for federal funds to help with the recovery process.
What You Need To Know About Federal Disaster Declarations
A Presidential Federal Disaster Declaration is an official declaration issued by the President of the United States that an area has suffered a disaster. This declaration releases federal funds and resources to aid in the disaster recovery and relief efforts of that specific area. These declarations can be issued for a variety of disasters including natural disasters as well as man-made disasters such as terrorist attacks. The President declares a disaster after consulting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the affected state governments.
Generally, a disaster or emergency must meet at least one of the following criteria in order to be eligible for a federal disaster declaration:
- Cause severe damage to a large number of individuals and households, resulting in a need for assistance beyond the capabilities of the state and local governments.
- Cause damage of such severity that it is beyond the combined capabilities of state and local governments to respond.
- Create conditions of extreme peril to the population in the affected area.
- Result in the declaration of a state of emergency by the governor of the affected state. Once a disaster or emergency meets one
There are a number of types of federal disaster declarations. These include:
- Major Disaster Declaration
- Emergency Declaration
- Fire Management Assistance Declaration
- Emergency Support Function Declaration
- Pre-Disaster Mitigation Declaration
- Emergency Declaration Under The Stafford Act
Major Disaster Declaration
A major disaster declaration gets issued when an event has caused damage of such severity that extraordinary federal assistance is needed to supplement state and local relief efforts.
This declaration is issued when the President determines that an incident has caused damage of such severity that immediate federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect public health and safety, or to protect property.
Fire Management Assistance Declaration
This declaration is issued when the President determines that a fire is burning on federal, tribal, private, or local land and requires federal assistance to contain and suppress it.
Emergency Support Function Declaration
This declaration is issued when the President determines that federal assistance is needed to supplement state and local efforts in responding to a major disaster or emergency.
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Declaration
This declaration is issued when the President determines that a community is at risk of a major disaster or emergency and requires federal assistance to reduce that risk.
Emergency Declaration Under The Stafford Act
This declaration is issued when the President determines that an incident has caused damage of such severity that immediate federal assistance is necessary to supplement state and local efforts.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for helping administer resources and assistance after a major disaster declaration. Not all FEMA programs get activated for every disaster. The determination of what programs get authorized is based on the type of assistance in the request and the needs identified in the preliminary damage assessments. Some types of assistance available under major disaster declarations include:
- Public Assistance: This type of assistance covers the cost of debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of publicly owned facilities and infrastructure.
- Individual Assistance: This type of assistance provides grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and households recover from the effects of the disaster.
- Crisis Counseling: This type of assistance provides emotional support and counseling services to help individuals and communities cope with the mental effects of the disaster.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance: This type of assistance provides benefits to individuals who lost their jobs due to the disaster.
Legal Services: This type of assistance provides legal aid and advice to help individuals and households with disaster-related legal issues such as insurance claims, replacement of wills and other important documents, or landlord/tenant disputes.
The Governor can appeal a Major Disaster Declaration by writing a formal request to the President of the United States. The request should provide detailed information about the event that prompted the need for disaster assistance, including the date, location, and extent of the affected area. The request should also explain the need for federal assistance and the estimated cost of the damage. If the request is approved, the President will issue a major disaster declaration that authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide assistance to the state. The appeal must be submitted within 30 days of the date of the denial letter.