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the Federal Assistance Program (Continued)

In November 1988, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act was passed. This act provided a framework for continued disaster relief. It also legislated a minimum 75 percent Federal/25 percent State and local costsharing for the public assistance program. The Stafford Act refocused assistance for nonnatural disasters, regardless of their causes, to a more limited scope. It also confirmed the importance of individual assistance and added an emphasis on mitigation of future losses.

Disaster Assistance Programs included in the Stafford Act are:

Human Services Programs (formerly called Individual Assistance) in the form of individual and family grants and temporary housing.

Infrastructure Support (formerly called Public Assistance) including grants for emergency work, repair and restoration, and debris removal.

Mitigation grants to reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.

Congress amended the Stafford Act in October 1993 to expand the scope of mitigation to include acquisition of properties in floodplains. The October 1994 amendment incorporated the Title VI, Civil Defense Statute, into the Stafford Act. This amendment allows FEMA to implement an all-hazards approach to preparedness.

Providing Federal Disaster Assistance

The Stafford Act provides the authority

for FEMA's role in managing Federal disaster assistance. This role includes:

Helping assess the damage after a disaster.

Evaluating a Governor's request for a Presidential declaration.

Advising the President concerning recommendations for declarations.

Working with the State and local governments in a joint partnership to implement the various assistance programs.

Coordinating the activities of other Federal agencies and volunteer organizations.

Managing the President's Disaster Relief Fund.

The Stafford Act established the Presidential Declaration Process. There are four steps in this process:

Step 1. A joint FEMA/State Preliminary Damage Assessment.

Step 2. The Governor's request for assistance.

Step 3. FEMA's recommendation to the President regarding the request.

Step 4. The Presidential Declaration.


→FEMA's role in managing Federal disaster assistance and the Presidential Declaration Process are discussed in greater detail in the Government Response to a Disaster Declaration section of this workbook.

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Knowledge Assessment

Instructions: This short exercise will help you assess your current understanding of the history and provisions of the Stafford Act. Please choose or provide the correct response(s) for each question, then check your answers against the answer key on pages 27 through 29.


Who is responsible for requesting that the President declare an emergency or disaster?

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What is the minimum Federal cost-share of disaster assistance in a declared disaster?


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Sequence the following events in the disaster declaration process in the order in which they occur.

A. FEMA makes a recommendation to the President.


FEMA and the State and local governments conduct a preliminary
damage assessment.

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FEMA can provide States with Federal assistance for major disasters and emergencies whether or not the President has declared the disaster or emergency.

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The Stafford Act Knowledge Assessment (Continued)


Which of the following statements contains the only events that may be declared as disasters or emergencies by the President?

О А.

☐ B.

☐ C.

☐ D.

Flood, fire, explosion, hurricane, earthquake, tornado, snowstorm, or drought

Any natural catastrophe, as well as fire, flood, or explosion

Any occasion or instance for which Federal assistance is needed, as determined by the President

Any natural or manmade catastrophe in which lives are in danger


An applicant is eligible for Federal assistance to repair, restore, or replace property that is damaged as a result of a declared disaster, regardless of whether the individual's own insurance will cover the damage.

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A Governor may make a request for Federal disaster assistance if the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and local governments.


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The President may deny a request for a disaster declaration for which of the following reasons? (Check all that apply.)

О А.

The Federal Government judges that adequate assistance is available through other sources.

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☐ C.

☐ D.

State and local governments are able to provide the necessary assistance

The Preliminary Damage Assessment is submitted on the incorrect forms.


The Stafford Act changed previous disaster assistance legislation to make assistance available on an incident-by-incident basis.

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10. Without a Presidential disaster declaration, disaster assistance may include: (Check all

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