Why You Get a Disaster Declaration, and Why You Don’t

The President called the opioid crisis an epidemic and declared a public health emergency today. That decision is not the same as a disaster declaration and does not open access to the same federal funding streams. 


As described by CNN,

Trump, through the Public Health Services Act, directed his acting secretary of health and human services to declare a nationwide health emergency, a designation that will not automatically be followed by additional federal funding for the crisis, according to a senior White House official.
Instead, the order will expand access to telemedicine in rural areas, instruct agencies to curb bureaucratic delays for dispensing grant money and shift some federal grants towards combating the crisis.
If Trump had used the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, the federal government would have been able to immediately tap into funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to combat opioids. The Stafford Act, though, has traditionally been used to provide recovery money to natural disasters, most recently from Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.
In Maryland, Governor Hogan declared a state of emergency and dedicated funding for the opioid crisis in March 2017. For more, see Hogan-Rutherford Administration Declares State of Emergency, Announces Major Funding to Combat Heroin and Opioid Crisis in Maryland.
Do you know the ins and outs of qualifying for disaster declarations? If not, you may be interested in What Is Emergency Management?”…and Other Mysteries Revealed, a Academy for Excellence in Local Governance elective to be held at MACo’s Winter Conference.
In this session, Maryland Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Russ Strickland, and Carroll County Emergency Management Coordinator Doug Brown, President of the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers will share the what senior elected officials in each county absolutely need to know during an emergency.
These include:
  • The federal disaster process and what is involved
  • Why you get a disaster declaration, and why you don’t
  • The challenges of a disaster that is confined to one county
  • Snowstorms, and when they qualify for aid
  • The reimbursement process
You can register now for MACo’s conference and join this session.