USFA issues guidance for COVID-19 cost recovery

The U.S. Fire Administration outlined how agencies can take advantage of FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program


By Laura French

EMMITSBURG, Md. — The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) is offering guidance for fire and EMS agencies to receive assistance with cost recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 national emergency.

President Donald Trump announced on March 13 that the pandemic would be declared a national emergency, allowing $50 billion in funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to go toward state and local government responses to the outbreak.

The USFA noted that these funds will cover response to COVID-19 going back to Jan. 20, 2020. Guidance to support communities in prevention, response and recovery is being finalized to include fiscal support, the USFA said.

The USFA added that one avenue departments can use to obtain support is FEMA’s Public Assistance Grant Program. The administration outlined what agencies will need to document and prepare in order to apply for public assistance.

The program is intended for organizations that have faced “extraordinary costs” related to COVID-19, including but not limited to personnel backfill and overtime, medical supplies and PPE, and apparatus usage.

The administration encouraged agencies to document their expenses and usage using Incident Command System forms, including:

The USFA also directed agencies to the FEMA Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide for additional insight on things such as rented equipment, contracted services and mutual-aid services.

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