By MN Department of Public Safety
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Request for joint damage assessment


The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) division has officially requested a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) joint preliminary damage assessment (PDA).

• Since June 9, 36 Minnesota counties and one tribal nation have sustained extensive damage from a continuous series of severe storms and heavy rains, flooding and damaging winds.

• HSEM has requested the joint federal-state-local PDA to begin on July 19, since floodwaters are still high in several communities and counties will need time to prepare.

• Representatives from FEMA, HSEM and affected counties will review the damages sustained to public property and infrastructure in to determine if they are eligible for disaster assistance.

• Additional counties and tribes could be included in the PDA as conditions warrant.

Governor Mark Dayton declared a peacetime state of emergency on July 5 in response to significant flooding and other severe weather damages in 36 counties and one tribal nation. The declaration:

• Directs all State agencies to provide assistance to local and state entities in response to the continued severe weather event.

• Paves the way for the Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management division (HSEM) to submit a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to conduct a preliminary damage assessment.

• Allows HSEM to work with FEMA to determine if damages exceed Minnesota’s federal disaster threshold of $7.7 million.

Federal Declaration Process

1. Local and state officials conduct an initial impact assessment.

• This occurs shortly after the incident when local officials inform HSEM which facilities in their community are affected (includes damage and impacts to the communities and their demographics).

2. HSEM requests FEMA to conduct a preliminary damage assessment.

• Teams from the affected county, HSEM and FEMA view the damage and collect the cost estimates from county officials.

• Each county must meet its individual threshold which is defined as population times $3.68. The state must also meet a threshold of $7.7 million statewide. If the statewide threshold is reached the process continues.

• A joint local/state/federal preliminary damage assessment is the first step in determining if Gov. Dayton will be able to make a request for a presidential declaration of disaster.

3. HSEM prepares the governor’s request for a disaster declaration.

• A 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 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.

4. 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 disaster assistance programs are approved, HSEM officials work in partnership with FEMA to assist with the application for funds.

Governor Dayton visited officials from Carlton and Kanabec Counties on Monday, July 15 to assess recent storm damage.


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