Administering FEMA

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reporting can be long and arduous but this process can be streamlined to make it more manageable as well as acceptable to the federal government.  One Florida County uses a Computerized Management Maintenance System (CMMS) to get a head start on the required information and related paperwork needed to take advantage of federal funds that are all9acted for this emergency support purpose. 

This Florida County utilizes its CMMS to track important information as it relates to preparing FEMA documents and taking care of their county during disasters. The primary goal was not to alter the everyday workflow of recording work order data in the CMMS just for FEMA.  The overall desire was to retrieve data from the system to meet FEMA requirements, in addition to meeting normal County work and accountability needs thus eliminating duplicate entry.   This occurs often as agencies do twice- once to satisfy the County’s typical reporting requirements in the CMMS, and a second time (in the CMMS or another system for FEMA often manual) to satisfy the FEMA reporting requirements.  Updated technology Geographical information systems (GIS) was embraced and utilized to reach the planned goals.  The solution was a report tool created by consulting support that utilized the County’s base work order data and applied to the appropriate FEMA fringe and equipment rates so that the County could determine their eligible FEMA reimbursement costs.

The success rate of timely reporting and reimbursement increased in the county over prior years with these systematic processes in place.  It expedited the submission process and made the information more easily accessible for the applicant internally. Through process repetition and determination to streamline the workflow, the County was able to make the data work for multiple uses without redundancy.

There will always be changes to the submittal process and to a degree, manual data manipulation.  However, there is no reason to go into an event unprepared. Agencies should make regular visits to the FEMA website, conduct annual planning meetings, and perform system information updates. There is no substitution for information gathering and planning prior to a disaster as shown by the stringent actions of this County.  Preparing for a storm may be difficult, but the initial hard work is key to preventing a FEMA reporting disaster.

To view a PDF of the original article from the 2010 APWA Congress, click here.