ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) Director Kris Eide today asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to conduct damage assessments following heavy snow, freezing rain and ice in southwest Minnesota earlier this month.
The request includes Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) for the Public Assistance Program for Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Nobles and Rock counties.
If granted by FEMA, the Public Assistance Program would provide:
- Assistance to state and local government and certain private not for profit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. This applies within the counties in the disaster area.
- Assistance to state and local government and certain private not for profit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards. All counties in the state of Minnesota are eligible to apply for assistance under this program.
HSEM disaster recovery experts have met with local representatives in the areas affected by the winter storm and determined there was a need for a formal assessment to determine if the costs to clean up and recover from this storm meet the threshold required to receive consideration for federal funding.
The preliminary damage assessment is the first step in determining if Governor Mark Dayton will make a request for a presidential declaration of disaster:
- Local and state officials conduct an initial impact assessment.
This began last week when HSEM officials met with local officials to identify facilities impacted, damage, impacts to the communities and their demographics.
- HSEM requests FEMA to conduct a preliminary damage assessment.
Teams from the affected county, HSEM and FEMA conduct the assessment. They view the damage and collect the cost estimates from county officials. The teams review local emergency response records, American Red Cross records if individual homes are involved in the assessment, and compile figures for all affected counties. If the damage exceeds the federally determined damage threshold of $7.266 million statewide, the process continues.
- HSEM prepares the governor’s request for a disaster declaration.
Local input regarding impact to the community is gathered and incorporated in 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.
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.
- Governor submits the letter to the president through FEMA.
FEMA reviews and sends the letter, with its recommendation to the president.
The president is the only one with authority to grant a Presidential Disaster Declaration. If assistance programs are approved, HSEM officials work in partnership with FEMA to assistance disaster victims in their application for funds.
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.