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Hot Showers or Paperwork? Modernizing FEMA Cost Recovery [With Digital ICS 214s]

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  • FEMA funding drives emergency response
  • Accurate and complete reporting is the key to funding
  • Digital ICS 214s support successful FEMA Public Assistance applications
  • Two “Next Actions” will modernize your application process

FEMA Public Assistance Category B funding requirements makes completed ICS 214 forms more important than ever. It's hard for tired crews to wait to go home after grueling shifts, but without accurate response data, there is no FEMA cost recovery. 

Merit's digital event, Disaster Preparedness: Never Too Soon or Too Late to Plan, featured a panel of national emergency management experts, including Rich Serino, former FEMA Director and fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Jared Moskowitz, former Director of Florida's Division of Emergency Management, Karen Baker, Architect and Co-Chair of Listos California and Senior Advisor to the Governor, and Stan Ledbetter, SLS Response Division President. They discussed FEMA funding at length:

"Funding is the lifeblood of our industry"

"And (FEMA funding) is the lifeblood, honestly, of our entire industry, you know, how FEMA goes or pays is where the response and the recovery happens." 

Stan Ledbetter, SLS Division President, Response

"You know, local budgets have been impacted so greatly because of the pandemic. There's not the sales tax revenue going into the local economies that help to work their way out of situations. I think FEMA is important in the funding world and is going to be greater than it has been in the past, even though it was everything in the past."

Karen Baker, Former Senior Advisor to the Governor of California’s Office of Emergency Services

“Now. I'm convinced the only reason that that happened (COVID-19 responder collaboration) was because FEMA loaded checkbooks with folks upfront and allowed them not to worry about getting paid. The money drives the process now."

Stan Ledbetter, SLS Division President, Response

Will FEMA run out of money?

With all possible aspects of Preparedness to consider, the future of FEMA funding even dominated the Question and Answer session. Our attendees wanted to know:

  • Will FEMA eventually run out?
  • Is 100% funding here to stay, or will it revert to 75%?
  • Should "rainy day funds" be required, so states don't rely on FEMA?
  • Are resiliency officers needed to ensure proper use of funding?

ICS 214s: Back to the basics

The key to FEMA cost reimbursement is the ICS 214 form. Without accurate and complete documentation of resource use, local and state agencies cannot satisfy the requirements to offset their expenses. Craig Fugate, President Barack Obama's FEMA Administrator and Florida Governor Jeb Bush's Emergency Management Director, shared the following:

"It may not seem like a lot, but in cities, rural communities, and counties, 25% of the cost of response recovery is a budget breaker."

Keeping the cost of disaster response at or below 25% through gapless, reportable data may make the difference between a community surviving and thriving in the wake of a disaster or collapse.

Make reimbursement easy with digital forms

Modern ICS technology gives you reliable data to increase the likelihood of successful Emergency Protective Measure funding applications. They also allow you to:

  • Issue digital and physical credentialed badges
  • Digitally check-in and out of shifts at on-site kiosks
  • File ICS logs with one click
  • Review Pre-populated forms are quickly for accuracy
  • Monitor real-time headcount, hours and costs on a burn-rate custom dashboard

Experts point to audit-proof submissions as a key step to dollars coming back to where they are most needed - our recovering neighborhoods.

2 next-steps to maximum cost recovery

Karen Baker wrapped up her thoughts about the future of funding:

"You know, now that we've all gone through a pandemic, there's no doubt in my mind at least that there'll be a permanent mark on disaster response infrastructure in the United States, whether that's the federal government having more resources, states investing local governments as well. "

The frequency of disasters drives the need to:

A digital ICS experience streamlines the process and turnaround for community-saving funds and needs to be in every manager’s toolbox.

Get more advice from our preparedness experts by reading 3 Preparedness Templates Emergency Managers Need Now.

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