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Information about the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA Regional Districts
Are You Prepared?
Be Informed
Biological Terrorism
Chemical Weapons
Consider Your Pets
Emergency Kit
Emergency Money
Family Communication Plan
Fire Safety
If You Have To Evacuate
Important Documents
Information Management
Get Involved
Make A Plan
Medical Supplies
Personal Support Network
Stay Or Go
The Elderly and Disabled
Vehicle Emergency Kit
Working Together


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The Federal Emergency Management Agency

FEMA is a division of the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1978 as Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 3 and implemented by Executive Orders by President Jimmy Carter in April of 1979.

In March 2007, FEMA was made a part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security making it one of the most important agencies under the auspices of the federal government.

FEMA was created to work in conjunction with local, state, and other federal agencies to provide logistical support, money, and the resources needed to clean up and rebuild after a disaster. The governor of the affected state or territory has to declare a state of emergency and then request aid from the federal government.

Over the years, FEMA has been reorganized and expanded in different ways to meet a wide range of possible emergencies including floods, earthquakes, tornados, fires, acts of terrorism, chemical spills, nuclear accidents, or any number of things can cause widespread death and destruction.

A disaster can happen at any time and leave even the most prepared individuals in need of assistance. A well thought out plan of action is needed when a disaster strikes. This includes a coordinated effort to tackle the aftermath of the disaster with short term and long term support such as ferrying in food, water, shelter, clothing, and providing the manpower to manage and distribute it effectively.

Airplanes, helicopters, drones, trucks, cars, boats and ships, satellites, portable hospitals, mobil homes, and heavy equipment are all staged and ready for immediate use as part of FEMA's response. The goal is to ensure that help is able to get to any disaster area as quickly as possible.

The agency is entrusted to make recommendations to the president, who in turn, authorizes FEMA to make a rapid response to the location of the disaster. The FEMA response is designed to give those who are affected by a disaster the assistance that is needed to get their lives back on track.

The way FEMA is organized, it insures a rapid and effective response whenever and wherever assistance is needed even if the assistance has to come from regional centers that are located in other areas that are outside the disaster zone.

FEMA manages three categories of assistance programs: individual assistance, public assistance and hazard mitigation assistance. Disaster assistance services are activated upon the President's disaster declaration. However, the assistance provided is generally determined by the needs found in the damage assessment.

Individual Assistance Programs: In disaster declared areas, FEMA programs provide assistance to individuals, households and small business who suffered losses that are not covered by insurance. Types of assistance provided include:

  • Temporary housing
  • Housing repair and replacement grants and loans
  • Permanent housing construction assistance in unusual situations, insular areas or remote locations
  • Individual or household grants or loans for medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, moving and storage and other expenses approved by FEMA
  • Business physical disaster loans to repair and replace buildings, including inventory and supplies
  • Economic injury disaster loans to provide capital for small business during the recovery period
  • Disaster unemployment assistance benefits
  • Crisis counseling
  • Legal assistance with insurance claims, landlord-tenant problems, consumer protection matters, replacement of wills and other legal documents and special assistance to low-income individuals
  • Taxpayer assistance

Public Assistance Programs: State and local government agencies and certain private nonprofit organizations providing critical services are provided federal funds to repair, restore, reconstruct or replace public facilities or infrastructure damaged or destroyed by a disaster. Projects receiving public assistance fall in the following categories:

  • Debris removal
  • Emergency protective measures
  • Roads and bridges
  • Water control facilities
  • Public buildings and their contents
  • Public utilities
  • Parks and recreation facilities and property

Hazard Mitigation Programs: FEMA provides funds to state and local governments to reduce or eliminate long-term risk from natural hazards. The types of mitigation projects funded by FEMA include:

  • The acquisition and demolition of disaster prone property and converting its use to open space, such as parks or playing fields
  • The relocation of structures from floodplains and other disaster prone areas
  • The elevation of residential structures and flood proofing of commercial structures when these methods are more practical to reducing the risk of flood damage

FEMA is funded with an annual budget of 13 billion dollars. As a whole, FEMA covers all the states and territories of the United States. There are 10 FEMA Regional Districts that are set up to coordinate necessary relief efforts with state and local jurisdictions.

Listed below are talking points developed by FEMA that will help you in making you and your family as prepared as possible if there is a disaster in the area in which you live.

(1) Are you prepared?

(2) Be informed

(3) Chemical and biological terrorism

(4) Chemical and biological weapons

(5) Consider your pets

(6) Create a personal support network

(7) Develop a family communication plan

(8) Emergency Information Management

(9) Emergency kit

(10) Emergency money

(11) Fire safety

(12) Get involved

(13) If you have to evacuate

(14) Important documents

(15) Make a plan

(16) Medical supplies

(17) Shelter-in-place

(18) Stay or go

(19) The elderly and the disabled

(20) Vehicle emergency kit

(21) Working together

Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.

Information was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with AARP, the American Red Cross and the National Organization on Disability.



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