Last week we posted about IBTS’s Start Towards a Recovery Today (STaRT) Program, through which IBTS provides on-the-ground pro bono educational services on federal funding programs available after a disaster. While the STaRT Program can be a saving grace after a disaster hits, it’s never too early to start preparing for your next disaster.
“Once a disaster hits your first priority is life and safety, but you’ve also got to start thinking about recovery,” says IBTS Corporate Disaster Recovery Executive Mike Spletto. “Planning for recovery now and educating yourself on federal funding options can save months of work after a disaster, preventing delays that keep residents from getting back into their homes.”
For communities that want to get started today, taking just a few small steps can result in substantial benefits after a disaster.
Spletto notes that simply educating yourself on what federal funds may become available after a disaster, and the nuances that impact your access to these funds, can maximize your federal assistance.
Start by understanding the basics of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program, which are typically the two biggest pools of funding after a disaster.
For example, consider implementing stricter recordkeeping systems that adhere to FEMA requirements. FEMA reimburses for most time and cost expenditures for disaster related activities, but only if they’re properly documented. Having a recordkeeping system in place beforehand prevents missed documentation requirements and allows you to begin recording disaster related expenditures from the moment a natural disaster becomes apparent.
Likewise, consider updating your local procurement policies to adhere to federal procurement regulations, which must be followed to be eligible for FEMA and CDBG-DR funding. Not only will you avoid having to update your procurement policies in the post-disaster chaos, but you’ll also be accustomed to using federal policies and less likely to make mistakes that can make you ineligible for funding. Federal procurement requirements are found in 2 CFR Part 200.
Spletto notes that other small actions, like identifying locations for temporary housing after a disaster, can make the disaster recovery process run smoother for both local governments and your citizens.
In addition to the disaster planning resources provided on OnHAND, IBTS can provide customized education and disaster planning assistance for communities before disasters hit. Learn more about our disaster planning services here, or contact Mike Spletto at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to request services.