Okla. Communities Plan for Disaster Reduction

August 26, 2005

Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Friday that FEMA has awarded 11 mitigation grants in Oklahoma through the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM) national competition.

The PDM Program, authorized in the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 and first funded by President Bush in his Fiscal Year 2003 budget, provides funding for mitigation plans and the implementation of cost-effective projects, such as buyouts of flood-prone buildings, construction of safe rooms, elevations of homes located in the floodplain or making structures more earthquake resistant, prior to disaster events.

“This program encourages local leaders across the nation to look ahead and plan against what could be catastrophic events. These grants awarded in Oklahoma show that the state and local communities are working together with FEMA and other partners to make mitigation happen,” said Brown. “Mitigation is the cornerstone of emergency preparedness and management. Funding these plans and projects reduces risks to lives and property. By making our communities safer in the first place, we make great strides toward reducing the need for federal post-disaster recovery funds.”

In Oklahoma, grant recipients include:

City of Ada — $30,000
City of Dewey — $13,500
City of Guymon — $15,000
City of Holdenville — $15,000
McLoud School — $19,999.99
City of Muskogee — $75,000
City of Okmulgee — $30,000
City of Sand Springs — $39,999.50
City of Stillwater — $60,000
City of Tahlequah — $21,000
Tulsa County — $60,000
Total Federal Funding — $379,499.49

Oklahoma was third in the nation to receive approval of an enhanced state mitigation plan, making Oklahoma communities eligible for nearly three times as much federal funding in some FEMA mitigation programs as other states. Each of the grant recipients presented a competitive mitigation project and met a host of requirements including non-federal matching funds and approved environmental reviews. The planning grants announced Friday are cost shared, with FEMA providing 75 percent of the project costs and the applicants providing the 25 percent balance. Applications are currently being sought for the FY 2006 PDM grant cycle.

“Our national team faced an extraordinary challenge in choosing among the many excellent applications,” said David Maurstad, acting director of FEMA’s Mitigation Division. “While many projects met all the necessary criteria, we worked to choose the best projects for the amount of funds available. These projects really are the cream of the crop and they show how seriously the nation, the states and applicants take mitigation activities.”

The Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program provides funds to states, territories, Indian tribes, communities, colleges, and universities for pre-disaster mitigation planning and the implementation of cost-effective mitigation projects before a disaster occurs. Funding these plans and projects reduces overall risks to the population and structures, while also reducing reliance on funding from actual disaster declarations. The projects chosen in the 2005 national grant competition will split a total of $235 million for plans and projects.

FEMA received nearly 800 grant applications nationwide. A team of experts from federal and state governments evaluated all eligible applications and based their determinations on criteria such as the technical feasibility of the proposed project, the project’s cost-effectiveness, management and staffing of personnel to implement the project, hazard and risk factors, and benefits to the community.

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