FEMA 101 – PART 1


Ok so you’ve stumbled onto my site and wondered what the big deal is. Why not just let our state dole out the money and be done with it. Why the fuss?

Well it’s simple. What happened here in IL can happen in any state during any disaster. I too have been guilty of the “well it didn’t happen here” mentality, brushing off issues that quite frankly I felt had nothing to do with me.

It wasn’t until November 17th that my eyes truly began to open. There is nothing like seeing parts of your town resemble a third world country to wake you up and make you seek the truth.

I am going to try to explain as best as I can what has occurred here. I am not a politician or expert in FEMA. I am a housewife whose has a big mouth and a lot of passion and has decided to get educated on a serious issue.

FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency. As part of the Federal Government, they come in when a township or city has declared that the damages done by a natural disaster are above and beyond their scope to manage financially. Based on the Disaster Recovery Plan (each State words theirs a little differently but the rules are essentially the same) the following must occur after a natural disaster (see attached .PDF for references)

  1. Local governments have the capability and responsibility to conduct and support recovery operations following a disaster or emergency. State assistance is available if the disaster or emergency exceeds the capabilities of the local government. Supplemental Federal assistance may be necessary.

III. Assumptions

  • Large scale disasters will occur in Illinois.
  • Local governments have the primary responsibility for disaster recovery operations.
  • State assistance may be required to help disaster areas recover and return to normal operations.
  • State agencies will participate in disaster recovery operations to the fullest extent possible.
  • Federal assistance may be required to effectively respond to and recover from a disaster.
  • The President of the United States may declare a major disaster or emergency and federal assistance may become available to supplement state and local operations.

So if you are following me so far, we A. Have the local government with the responsibility of disaster recovery operations. B. Federal Assistance may be required when the costs outweigh what the State can provide.

Now let’s move onto something called Annex B (See Attached) The following assumptions are made:

III. Assumptions

  • A Preliminary Damage Assessment has been performed and damages are significant enough to warrant a request for federal assistance.
  • State government has provided assistance to local governments to the extent possible.
  • The situation has exceeded state and local government efforts to deal with the disaster.
  • The Governor has proclaimed a disaster exists in the affected area.


The township went so far as to bring in a well known consultant with almost 30 years of experience. He has done disaster consulting in 50 states. His wealth of knowledge is immeasurable. He assisted the townships in the proper wording of the declaration. He read, reviewed and mentored them in exactly how to provide FEMA with what they required.

The city of Washington went so far as to measure only areas of damage and account for those. So for example, if 10 feet of sidewalk were damaged on one section, they only declared those 10 feet, not the entire 50. Everything submitted to FEMA was done properly and on time. They arbitrarily and capriciously decided that we didn’t qualify for State level reimbursement.

Let’s move onto Section 3 of their own guidelines:

Submitting the Emergency Declaration

  • The Governor may request an emergency declaration to supplement the state and local efforts to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert a threat of catastrophe. The Governor submits his request to the President through the FEMA RA. The Governor’s request must be submitted within 30 days of the event, unless the FEMA Assistant Administrator approves an extension. (This was done)
  • Based on all available information the FEMA RA will summarize the Emergency Declaration request and submit a recommendation to FEMA headquarters. FEMA headquarters will review the recommendation of the FEMA RA and formulate a recommendation that is forwarded to the President. The President will make a determination based on all of the information provided to him/her.
  • After a declaration by the President, FEMA designates the areas eligible for federal assistance. The Governor may request that additional affected areas be authorized by FEMA within 30 days of the termination date of the incident or 30 days after the declaration, whichever is later.

This is getting really long so I’m going to break it into several posts. I hope you are starting to get an idea though of what we are dealing with. I sincerely mean it when I say that REFORM IS NECESSARY!!!! If a township can follow all the rules, do everything they are supposed and still be denied…..well…you tell me..I can’t help but ask why?

Our country was founded on principles of being for the people, by the people. When a select handful get to come in and decide that on that day the rules just don’t apply, there is an issue. The only way it will change is if we make enough noise, take this all the way to the top and get their attention. I will add more to this tomorrow. It really is an eye opening and we should all be concerned about it.




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