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Public Assistance Timeline

Public assistance, or federal grants for state and local government, municipalities, and some private non-profit organizations, is accomplished in the recovery phase in a series of sequential steps. This program may take two to three years to complete:

STEP ONE:  Local emergency management officials (often accompanied by a TEMA area coordinator or other official) must perform a "windshield survey" of the damaged area. This survey provides an estimate of damage totals to determine if the county jurisdiction meets Stafford Act requirements for requesting a presidential disaster declaration (state and county thresholds must be met (see Recovery Tab).

STEP TWO:  TEMA Director determines that the disaster area meets the requirements for requesting a federal declaration and requests that FEMA provide preliminary damage assessment teams to confirm the damage. The PDA is accomplished by trained FEMA personnel (accompanied by TEMA and local officials).

STEP THREE:  After the President signs the federal declaration, the Governor is notified and announces the categories of approval. The Governor then announces the types of assistance each county will receive.

STEP FOUR:  TEMA then will arrange for an applicant briefing for each county. Applicant briefings include an explanation of the program and how to complete an application for the PA grant.

STEP FIVE:  The applicant briefing is followed by a kickoff meeting. Local officials must identify the damage and propose projects to repair or replace the damaged property. Project worksheets must be completed and sent to the state (TEMA) for review and forwarded to FEMA for approval.

STEP SIX:  Upon PW approval, FEMA may then obligate funds to the state. An appropriate contract must be in place before payment can be made by the state to a local jurisdiction. The state may require that work be completed before some payments will be made, such as long term projects.