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Disaster Declaration Process

Local government provides initial response to the emergency or disaster, which is supplemented by neighboring communities through mutual aid and/or volunteer agencies. If local governments are overwhelmed, the emergency management office requests a declaration from county commissioners declaring a state of emergency and requesting state assistance.

  • The State Response effort occurs when the governor declares a state of emergency. A state of emergency provides authority to the governor to direct state agencies to utilize and employ state personnel, equipment and facilities for activities designated to prevent or alleviate actual or threatened damage due to other emergency. If these resources are overwhelmed, then the state requests from assistance from FEMA.
  • Initial Damage Assessment in impacted areas is coordinated by the local emergency manager. The county emergency manager should notify potential applicants within their jurisdiction and coordinate the IDA effort for their county. Emergency managers in impacted jurisdictions should coordinate with the county and state as appropriate to discuss the type of assessment that is needed, timelines and to coordinate damage reporting.
  • Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) will be requested if certain criteria have been met based upon the IDA. The primary purpose of the Joint PDA is to identify and evaluate the size and severity of a disaster, and use the results to determine whether supplemental federal assistance is necessary.
  • Disaster Declaration Request - The governor will furnish information on the nature and amount of state and local resources that have been or will be committed to alleviating the result of the disaster, provide an estimate of amount and severity of damage and the impact on the private and public sector, and provide an estimate of the type and amount of assistance needed under the Stafford Act.
  • The Robert Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (referred to as the Stafford Act – 42 U.S.C 5721 et seq.) authorizes the President to issue “major disaster” or “emergency” declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health and safety, and lessen or averts the threat of the incident becoming a catastrophic event. A major disaster declaration, issued after catastrophes occur, constitutes broader authority of federal agencies to provide supplemental assistance to help state and local governments, families and individuals, and certain nonprofit organizations recover from the incident.

OEM Disaster Declaration Guide

Disaster Assistance

Please see our disaster assistance page for guidance on grant programs available to assist in recovery from disasters.