As a disaster or emergency unfolds, those affected will certainly need help. The Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) is staffed with experts who become involved when requested.
During or immediately following a disaster, the governor may declare a State of Emergency which allows the state to deploy people, equipment and supplies to help impacted communities. The governor may delegate HSEM to:
- Coordinate a multiple-state-agency response
- Activate the State Emergency Operations Center
- Act as the governor's authorized representative for all presidentially declared disasters and emergencies
- Obtain initial damage assessment information from state agencies and local governments
Requesting Federal Assistance
If recovery is deemed beyond the state's capabilities, the governor may request federal assistance from the president of the United States.
Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA)
The governor will request that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conduct a PDA jointly with HSEM and the emergency managers from impacted counties. Officials tour the impacted area and view and assess damaged property.
The preliminary damage assessment is the first step in determining if the Governor will make a request for a presidential declaration of disaster. Additional information on the recovery process is available in the links below
Once the assessments are complete the governor may make a formal request to the president for federal assistance. The state is required to meet a minimum damage threshold. Each county also has an individual damage assessment threshold. If the thresholds are met the request may be granted.
Presidential Disaster Declaration
If a Presidential disaster declaration is made, two types of assistance may be included.
Public Assistance (PA)
PA provides federal grants to local governments for repairs and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure like roads, bridges, schools and utilities and for excessive costs related to a disaster.
Individual Assistance (IA)
IA provides federal grants to individual citizens who have suffered damages or losses not covered by insurance. Grants can be used for temporary housing, home repairs and replacement of some basic living materials. However, these grants are limited and are provided only after all other forms of assistance are exhausted.
NOTE: FEMA Individual Assistance grant programs are not designed to restore a home to pre-disaster condition. They are only intended to make a home minimally safe and habitable as further recovery continues. Long-term loans or other resources should be used to complete the recovery process.
FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) may be opened in the impacted areas to assist in registering disaster victims for Individual Assistance and coordinating additional local, state, and federal recovery resources.
If a disaster event does not qualify for a presidential declaration for Individual Assistance, the SBA may still make its own disaster declaration. The SBA can then provide low-interest, long-term recovery loans to qualified homeowners, renters or businesses based on its own criteria.
The Secretary of Agriculture may make an independent disaster declaration for farmers following a storm or sustained weather event like a drought. As a result, certain federal assistance and recovery programs are made available to appropriate farmers and agribusinesses.
Whether a presidential disaster declaration is granted or not, other types of disaster assistance may still be made available following an event. Federal, state or locals agencies and organizations may provide a variety of assistance through existing programs. Information about specific programs available following a disaster will be posted on the Minnesota Recovers Website