Disaster Zone

Six Day EMPG War Concluded

FEMA surrenders to pressure from local emergency managers.

by Eric Holdeman / March 10, 2012

Well, that was about as quick as I've ever seen an issue resolved.  This was about FEMA including language in its 2012 Grant Guidance that Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) funds could be shared with nonprofits.  


As noted in my earlier blog posts on this subject there was a quick reaction by emergency management, led by the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and supported by the National Association of Counties.  There were also direct questions of FEMA Administrator Fugate when he appeared before Congress.  FEMA Administrator Fugate before CongressCombined, these actions put pressure on FEMA to change the grant guidance language.


Lo and behold--they did just that on Friday with Information Bulletin 383.  Since it is not yet posted on the FEMA website I'll quote it below.

In working with our partners in State Government, this Information Bulletin is being issued to advise applicants that the FY 2012 Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) Program Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) has been updated. The final paragraph on pages 18-19 under the “Priority for FY 2012” section is amended as follows:

 “A comprehensive State emergency management system must engage stakeholders at all levels. Local emergency management organizations should remain informed and have the opportunity to provide input to State planning processes. Although FEMA expects States to include support for their local jurisdictions in the EMPG Program, each Governor is responsible for determining the appropriate amount of funding to be passed through to support the development or enhancement of local emergency management performance capabilities.”

 The following sentence has been removed from the language under this heading:

“In support of engaging stakeholders at all levels, EMPG Program funds may be sub-granted to non-governmental emergency management stakeholder entities such as non-profits, public and private universities, hospitals, faith-based entities.”

FEMA/GPD reminds all grantees that the purpose of the EMPG Program is to make grants to States to assist State, local, and tribal governments in preparing for all hazards, as authorized by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.).

I did a bit of poking around to ask how that language got inserted into the grant guidance.  One knowledgeable source who did not want to be quoted said that it was probably inadvertent and not part of some scheme to radically change the funding formula.

Now that we have that behind us--let's get on with building more disaster resilient communities, states and nation.  With this being the anniversary weekend of the Japan earthquake it is a reminder that even greater calamities are waiting in our future.