Hurricane Matthew: Applying for FEMA Assistance

First, an incredibly important point on applying for FEMA assistance:

  • Once a disaster is declared: you have 30 days to apply. After that you are completely shut out of the process. No exceptions. Ever.

The following is from CEMA Director Dennis Jones, which explains a bit more about the process and what to expect: “As we begin Recovery, there will be several important meetings coming up.  The list below will help to explain each meeting so everyone can understand terminology and expectations.

Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA):  These are the FEMA Teams that have been in the community over the last several days. We have had teams looking at private property (these are the IA PDA Teams), and teams looking at government owned property (these are the PA PDA Teams). These teams are evaluating the community to determine if we qualify for an IA Declaration and separately a PA Declaration to cover permanent work.  The IA PDA Team has completed their assessment, and I’m hopeful we will have a determination mid-week.  The PA PDA Team will be in the community through Tuesday. Hopefully we will have a determination toward the end of the week.

Applicant Briefing: This is the meeting scheduled for Thursday at 2:00 PM in Bryan County (Bryan County Administration Building, 66 Captain Matthew Freeman Drive, Richmond Hill, Georgia  31324). Governments and Private-Non-Profit (PNP) entities are encouraged to attend. This is a introduction meeting to discuss the PA Program. To obtain maximum benefit from the meeting, you are encouraged to send representatives from executive management, emergency response, public works, and accounting, finance and procurement. You will also be asked to designate a primary point of contact to interact with GEMSHA and FEMA.  This meeting will cover the areas listed below:

·         Application procedures

·         Project funding

·         Hazard mitigation

·         Administrative requirements

·         Procurement requirements

·         Environmental and historic preservation (EHP) compliance requirements

·         General eligibility criteria

·         Documentation requirements

·         Recordkeeping

PNPs will need to bring additional info. Please contact me [Dennis Jones] directly, and I will share with you the additional needs.

Request for Public Assistance (RPA): If you want to seek public assistance funding, you must fill out an RPA – FEMA Form 90-49  (applies to PNP entities also).  This form was attached to the email distributed earlier announcing the Applicant’s Briefing. Often times, GEMSHA will ask for the RPAs at the end of the Applicant’s Brief.  I recommend you bring five fully completed and original RPAs. They may only require one, but you will have several extra in case they ask for more. Next week, FEMA and GEMSHA will review the RPAs to determine eligibility.  If eligible, FEMA will assign a PA Representative to you who will manage FEMA’s processing of your projects.

Kickoff Meeting: This is different from the Applicant’s Briefing.  The Applicant’s Briefing is a general high level introduction. The Kickoff Meeting is individualized between FEMA and you. Once a FEMA PA Representative is assigned, the PA Rep will contact your primary POC to schedule an initial meeting (Kickoff Meeting). This is generally done within 21 days following the assignment of a FEMA PA Rep.  The Kickoff Meeting is designed to address your specific needs. At the Kickoff Meeting, FEMA and GEMSHA will discuss with you:

·         Details of your impacts from the incident

·         Hazard mitigation opportunities

·         Eligibility criteria for work and costs

·         Project formulation

·         Insurance requirements

·         EHP compliance requirements

·         Documentation requirements

·         Appeal process

You should ensure staff with knowledge of  incident-related damages, emergency activities, and related costs attend the meeting (e.g., public works official, finance staff, risk manager).  You should be prepared to provide the information below during the Kickoff Meeting

A list of all impacts for each site, including:

·         Map of jurisdiction showing all sites.

·         Specific location of debris impacts and facility damage using either the address or U.S. National Grid (USNG) location.

·         Facility names.

·         Documentation to support legal responsibility (i.e. Deeds, Titles, Lease agreements, Contracts for facilities under construction).

·         Whether the facility was damaged in a prior incident.

·         Pre-incident photographs of impacted site or facility, if available.

·         Photographs of debris impacts or facility damage. Include estimated quantities of debris by type, Brief description of damage with dimensions.

·         Emergency Work activities.

·         Estimated costs.

·         Whether the project is high priority.

·         Proposed, or completed, repair scope of work, including hazard mitigation measures.

·         Whether the work is complete including summary of actual costs for completed work; professional cost estimates for uncompleted work, if available.

·         Who performed, or will perform, the work.

·         Potential environmental issues or historical preservation concerns.

·         Age of the facility.

·         Age of nearby facilities that may be affected by the project.

·         Debris reduction and disposal sites.

·         Summary of insurance coverage, including copy of policy, schedule of values, statements of loss, and settlement documents.

Hope this helps.  There are a lot of new coordination efforts you will be exposed to over the next several months.  If you need any help, just call and we will do our best to assist.

Dennis Jones,

Main: 912-201-4500

Hurricane Matthew: The Aftermath

The Need-to-Know:

I need to hear ASAP about ANY damage to cultural resources. FEMA is in town doing an assessment. FEMA needs a minimum damage amount to declare a disaster.  I only need some absolute basics- a site and the type of damage to pass along to the FEMA representative in town. Please think broadly about cultural resources: cemeteries, buildings, collections, archaeology sites, parks, churches, archives, etc…..

Laura Seifert

The Details from Lori Foley, Administrator, Heritage Emergency National Task Force:

(I am quoting her.)

Through the Public Assistance (PA) Program, FEMA provides grant funding for Emergency Work and for Permanent Work. Chatham County has received a disaster declaration, but so far only for the two categories that fall under Emergency Work – Debris Removal and Emergency Protective Measures. The first is self-explanatory. The second comprises steps that any cultural institution takes to protect its facility, such as covering windows with plywood, sandbagging to prevent water entry, or laying a tarp over a hole in the roof.

Under Permanent Work, in order for disaster aid to be made available for private nonprofits (PNPs) – which include libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, botanical gardens, arts organizations, and any cultural institution or historic site that has 501(c), (d), or (e) status – a dollar threshold in damages must be met for the county. For collecting institutions and historic sites, Permanent Work would include the restoration of buildings and their content (such as collections!) and of parks, recreational, and other facilities. In order for cultural institutions and historic sites to receive federal funding, Permanent Work must be approved by FEMA.

So I urge everyone to report to Laura any damage to:

  • Your building/facility – damage to the structure/envelope itself
  • The materials, equipment, and exhibition furnishings associated with the storage, display, preservation, or exhibition of collections and individual objects. This would include HVAC systems and fire suppression systems.
  • Collections and individual objects, including records and archives of the organization

The damages reported by cultural institutions are added into the county’s total estimate for Permanent Work. But if cultural institutions don’t report damage, it’s possible that the threshold may not be met. Please ensure that cultural heritage is on the radar of the assessment team!

Lori Foley


Records Emergency Planning and Response (REPR)

Records Emergency Planning and Response (REPR)

Offered by the Georgia Archives

9:30am-3:30pm on October 6th, 2017

Lunch will be provided plus a behind-the-scenes tour of the Archives. Download the registration form here.

The Georgia Archives previously presented the IPER Essential Records (ER) overview course last April. We intend to offer both full IPER courses in 2017.

If you have any questions about the IPER courses or our registration process for this course, please contact Christine Garrett, Georgia Archives Electronic Records Manager (



As we continue to reorganize and reboot SHER, we are continuing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Coastal Museums Association, pending approval of SHER’s membership. The MOU has the same wording as last year (click to read it: MOU CMA SHER 2016-17). Please vote to approve or deny the MOU by clicking here.  Voting ends July 1 at midnight.

Philadelphia Begins Important Planning and Mitigation Project

Pennsylvania has recently begun mapping and prioritizing historic resources in targeted counties using FEMA grant money from Hurricane Sandy. This is why the program is critical,

“To date, among the most common strategies used by PEMA and FEMA to prevent or lessen the severity of future disaster impacts have been to acquire and demolish hazard-prone buildings to remove them from harm’s way. Such buildings may be located in early settlement areas and include those listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as well as buildings of an historic nature that remain undocumented.” (PA SHPO blog)

But the good news, “To date, only a few localities nationwide are known to have integrated historic property considerations into their hazard mitigation plans according to this guidance.”(PA SHPO blogChatham County is one of them. 

More detailed information about Philadelphia’s planning is available in the article,  Philadelphia to be first big city with disaster plan to protect historic buildings. Unlike Philly’s survey, however, Savannah needs to think about cultural resources, which is far more comprehensive than historic buildings. We need to protect archaeology sites, monuments, historic neighborhoods, historic trees, cemeteries, viewsheds and landscapes, parks, museums and historic sites and their collections as well as historic buildings.


CEMA Training Opportunities

from Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA):

“Beginning this month, we are excited to announce a new planning, training and exercise initiative that will take place over the next year.  In an effort to increase participation, you will receive an Emergency Management Program “Save the Date” flyer at the start of each month that lists upcoming events for a two month period. It is our goal to give key players and partners sufficient notification about important upcoming opportunities, that through involvement, helps strengthen our community.  We have simplified the information so you are able to quickly assess whether or not the event pertains to you or your department.  Action items are also included to take the guess work out of registration.  If you have any questions or need additional information, we are happy to assist!”

I will make these available here for download by date.

Aug and Sept Save the Date 2015

October November 2015


We have been working behind the scenes to ensure that SHER continues its vital functions despite poor attendance at our workshops. After a meeting with the Coastal Museums Association (CMA) Executive Board, we are proposing that SHER become an affiliate of CMA through a Memorandum of Agreement.  In essence, we are proposing the following changes:

  • The SHER membership drive will be folded into the CMA membership drive. This mean less paperwork each year.
  • SHER membership will continue to be free and available to any CMA member as well as first responders, CEMA officials, and related businesses.
  • One CMA program per year will be devoted to disaster response training and information.
  • SHER will also conduct one or two independent trainings or workshops as demand dictates (i.e. the CEMA Hurricane Conference).
  • Starting next year, two Co-Chairs will govern SHER: a Liaison to Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and a Liaison to CMA.

We are going do use the MOU on an ad hoc basis for the first year to see how it works. If we proceed with the MOU after the first year, then we will make the appropriate changes to the by-laws.

Please review the proposed Memorandum of Agreement and vote on whether it should be implemented or not.

Laura Seifert, SHER Chairperson