Fla. Receives FEMA Award for Hurricane Readiness

August 2, 2005

Officials of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have awarded the Florida Division of Emergency Management three grants totaling more than $7 million as part of its Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM) national competition to help retrofit a total of 24 buildings at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“This program encourages local leaders across the nation to look ahead and plan against what could be catastrophic events. These projects in Florida show that the state and local communities are working together with FEMA and other partners to make mitigation happen,” said Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and head of FEMA. “By making our communities safer in the first place, we make great strides toward reducing the need for federal post-disaster recovery funds.”

The Florida projects include:

* Jackson Memorial Hospital — one of the nation’s largest serving as an emergency evacuation shelter for the medically at-risk during hurricane warnings. The qualifying projects will use a combination of hurricane protection technologies, as well as anchoring heating and air conditioning equipment on roofs and some structural and door reinforcement, to retrofit 10 buildings on the hospital campus. The total project will cost $6,097,160, and the federal award represents 75 percent of the work. The Jackson Health Systems, part of the Miami-Dade County government, is responsible for the remaining 25 percent, or $1,524,290.

* University of Miami — one of FEMA’s pilot Disaster Resistant Universities (DRU), a program begun in 1999 to promote hazard resistance for America’s institutions of higher learning and research. The qualifying projects will employ a variety of construction technologies to wind and flood retrofit the six buildings of the Marine Sciences Center on Virginia Key and the eight buildings of the School of Medicine in northwest Miami. The federal award represents 75 percent of the total project cost of $3,419,800. The University is responsible for the remaining 25 percent, or $854,950.

* A third grant, totaling $117,750, was also awarded to Eckerd College in the Tampa area to prepare a Mitigation Plan and Risk Assessment for the school.

The PDM Program, first authorized in the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 and first funded by President Bush in his FY 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.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management submitted the applications and will administer the awards. Each of the awardees not only had an approved state hazard mitigation plan, and presented a competitive mitigation project, but also met a host of requirements including non-federal matching funds and approved environmental reviews.

Each state applicant is receiving notification of the status of their application and finalists will begin work immediately completing the pre-award activities. Applications are being sought for the FY 2006 PDM grant cycle.

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