Administering FEMA Requirements Doesn’t Need to be a Disaster
When natural disasters strike such as hurricanes, floods, fires, and tornados, municipalities bear the responsibility of providing necessary recovery services and coordinating the relief effort. While work crews move quickly to provide services, administrators are busy scheduling and prioritizing work, directing communications, managing efforts between local and federal agencies, and ensuring that the field work effort is being tracked and accounted for according to FEMA requirements.
This is exactly what occurred in Volusia County with FEMA work reporting requirements for reimbursement during the hurricane events of 2008. The first part of the presentation will provide an overview of FEMA requirements and describe the pros and cons of two different systems that public agencies can utilize to capture information for reimbursement: maintenance systems and financial systems. The second part of the presentation will provide the process used and the lessons learned from a county prospective. The goal of this presentation is to help other agencies prepare and implement a well thought out FEMA reimbursement plan before disaster strikes. Acquiring the necessary data such as labor hours, activities performed, work locations, equipment hours and types used, and associated costs (including overtime) can be a cumbersome process. Financial systems work well to capture labor hours and with some modifications can track equipment use. Maintenance systems do a good job tracking labor, equipment, material use, work location, activities performed, and other vital data. The downside is that the recorded hours in the maintenance system must match the financial system. So, which system should be used?
The process proved that the county’s successful experience provided the answer and real solutions to this problem. The key to success is to have a single system selected or integrated, configured to capture the data, and have all reporting information pre-formatted and prepared.
Harry C. Lorick, PE, PTOE
Principal, LA Consulting Inc, Manhattan Beach, CA
Consultant, LA Consulting, Manhattan Beach, CA