FEMA Updates and Resources Available for COVID-19 Pandemic
FEMA has issued important updates and new resources available for the COVID-19 pandemic.
FEMA Publishes Emergency Sheltering Policy
FEMA published a new policy, "Emergency Non-Congregate Sheltering during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency." This policy addresses the extraordinary challenges involved with operating a sheltering program during the pandemic, in a manner that limits the risk of exposure to or further transmission of the coronavirus.
FEMA recognizes sheltering operations during COVID-19 may require state, local, tribal and territorial partners to consider additional strategies to ensure that survivors are sheltered in a manner that does not increase COVID-19 risks. Typically, sheltering occurs in facilities with large open spaces, such as schools, churches, community centers or other similar facilities rather than in non-congregate environments, which are locations where each individual or household has living space that offers privacy such as hotels, motels or dormitories.
This policy outlines the framework and requirements for determining eligible work and costs for non-congregate sheltering operations in response to a presidentially-declared emergency or major disaster for the Public Assistance Program or a Fire Management Assistance Grant declaration.
This policy is one aspect of a larger recovery strategy to support the safe sheltering of survivors in a COVID-19 environment. The intent is that state, local, tribal and territorial governments work with FEMA and other non-governmental partners to determine how non-congregate sheltering options may be incorporated into overall sheltering plans. To view the complete policy, visit the FEMA website.
FEMA Releases Preparedness in a Pandemic Exercise Starter Kit
FEMA created an exercise starter kit to help organizations facilitate their own internal workshops based on preparedness planning principles, "COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for 2020 Hurricane Season" and a FEMA fact sheet on Preparedness in a Pandemic Exercise Starter Kit.
The exercise starter kit includes a fact sheet, sample slides and a facilitator guide with suggested discussion questions that can be tailored to meet the needs of your organization or agency. The kit is a collaborative effort by FEMA’s National Exercise Division and National Integration Center in support of state, local, tribal and territorial partners efforts to prepare for all-hazards in a pandemic environment.
FEMA Begins Firefighter Grant Supplemental Awards
FEMA released the first awards from the Fiscal Year 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program – COVID-19 Supplemental (AFG-S) funding. The initial seven awards were made to organizations from five states and total more than $4.7 million.
The CARES Act authorizes $100 million in AFG-S funds for the fire service community to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and related supplies for our nation’s first responders. Fire departments, nonaffiliated EMS organizations and State Fire Training Academies were eligible to apply.
The application period ran from April 28 to May 15. The shorter application period allowed FEMA to quickly begin to adjudicate applications. The grant funding process for this program is designed to swiftly move awarded funds into the hands of recipients that are actively engaged in the response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. AFG-S funds can be used to reimburse for the acquisition of eligible PPE after Jan. 1, 2020.
FEMA will continue to release awards on a rolling basis throughout this summer.