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Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Julie Anderson  651-201-7576
May 03, 2013
Governor Dayton Secures Disaster Declaration

​ST. PAUL — Governor Mark Dayton today secured a major federal disaster declaration for five Minnesota counties following an ice storm April 9-11.

FEMA notified the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) today that President Barack Obama declared a major federal disaster for Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Nobles and Rock counties. The declaration comes after preliminary damage assessments done by FEMA, HSEM and local officials revealed more than $26 million in costs and damages.

The declaration includes two categories of aid:

  • Public Assistance: Assistance to state and local government and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. This applies within counties in the disaster area.
  • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program: Assistance to state and local government and certain private nonprofit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards. All counties in Minnesota are eligible to apply for assistance under this program.

The preliminary figures show the following projected costs and damages:

  • Debris removal $3.2 million.
  • Emergency protective measures $3.7 million.
  • Buildings and equipment $41,500.
  • Utilities $19 million.
  • Parks, recreational facilities and other facilities $60,550.


FEMA will reimburse 75 percent of approved costs. Eligible work includes debris removal, emergency services related to the disaster and repair or replacement of damaged public facilities, such as roads, power poles, buildings, utilities and recreation areas. HSEM disaster recovery staff will work with all eligible applicants to process requests for assistance.
Timeline to-date
April 9
Ice storm begins causing widespread power outages and other damage.
April 10
State Emergency Operations Center opens to assist local officials acquire needed resources
Governor Mark Dayton activates National Guard.
HSEM Regional Program Coordinator disaster recovery specialists begin to assists local officials with damage assessment process.
April 13 
Governor Mark Dayton, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Congressman Tim Walz and HSEM Director Kris Eide visit the area to view the damage and hear the concerns of local officials and residents.
April 15
HSEM disaster recovery staff work with local officials and emergency managers to review damage assessment numbers which is the first step toward asking FEMA to travel to Minnesota for an official Preliminary Damage Assessment.
April 16
HSEM Engineering Specialist travels to city of Worthington to explain details of debris removal process with city officials.
April 17
HSEM Director Kris Eide asks FEMA to conduct damage assessments.
April 23-24
Preliminary Damage Assessments conducted in five affected counties.
April 26 
Governor Mark Dayton sends letter requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
May 3
President Obama declares a major federal disaster for Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Nobles and Rock counties.
Process following a Presidential Disaster Declaration
Applicant Briefing
HSEM disaster recovery staff members return to the five affected counties and hold informational meetings for all applicants. This meeting explains the process and provides preliminary paperwork for applicants to complete. All requests for Public Assistance must be filed with the state within 30 days after the area is designated eligible for assistance.
Kickoff Meeting
FEMA staff members return to the affected areas to meet one-on-one with each applicant to put a plan of action into place. 
Project Worksheet Development
A FEMA/HSEM/Local applicant team prepares a Project Worksheet for each project that clearly defines the work to be done and the projected costs.
Process preceding request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration
Initial Damage Assessment 
Local officials, in consultation with HSEM, identify damage and impact to the communities.
HSEM requests FEMA to conduct preliminary damage assessment
Teams from the affected county, HSEM and FEMA conduct the assessment. They view the damage and collect cost estimates from county officials. The teams review local emergency response records. If the damage appears to exceed the statewide damage threshold of $7.26 million the process continues.
HSEM prepares governor’s request for a disaster declaration
Letter details the event and cites National Weather Service data. It must document factors that determine severity, magnitude and impact. It also documents what local officials did to respond to the emergency. Local input regarding impact to the community is gathered and incorporated into the letter. This includes the amount and type of damage, impact on infrastructure, impact on essential services, concentration of damage, level of insurance coverage, assistance available from other sources and if there is an imminent threat to public health and safety.
Governor submits the letter to the president through FEMA 
FEMA reviews and sends the letter with its recommendation to the president.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Homeland Security and Emergency Management helps Minnesotans prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters. HSEM staff members are helping Minnesota communities recover from seven federally declared disasters from 2010 through 2012.
In FY2012, HSEM awarded 402 Homeland Security grants totaling $80 million to 300 local governments and other entities to prepare them for all hazards including terrorism.






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