5. Retain maintenance records
When making funding decisions, FEMA carefully assesses documentation to be sure a site was not in a deteriorated condition and was regularly maintained prior to the disaster. To receive FEMA PA funding, the applicant must demonstrate that damage was caused directly by the declared incident. FEMA does not provide PA funding for repair of damage caused by:
- Deferred maintenance
- The applicant’s failure to take measures to protect a facility from further damage
Thus, the applicant must fulfill their responsibility of maintaining facilities prior to disasters. For example, in the case of damaged street, FEMA may ask for maintenance records that prove that the street was regularly maintained and in good operational order prior to the disaster.
Facility maintenance documentation the applicant may provide to FEMA includes, but is not limited to:
- Written maintenance plans
- Maintenance records
- Inspection records
In the absence of maintenance records, FEMA may review material purchase invoices and activity logs.
6. Use virtual site inspections
Drone and geospatial technology are valuable as they provide reliable on-site data, can capture large areas, and minimize re-visits for inspections. Using drone and satellite imagery to capture the pre-event status of an area allows you to quickly collect critical data without dispatching several inspectors to a site. After capturing aerial images and videos, software with tools such as place markers and rulers can be used to pinpoint specific areas. This is useful for identifying single points of interest, such as site locations, and for identifying coordinates that can easily be passed on to FEMA. Remote sensing and satellite technology are also powerful ways to assess moisture, temperature, topography, and related conditions to establish baselines.
7. Implement technology
Avoid keeping only physical copies of documentation or storing documents locally on computer hard drives. It’s important to have another storage location in case documents become damaged or destroyed at the site after a disaster. Cloud storage is the preferred method for housing important documentation, as it can be accessed from practically any location after a disaster. Storing files in the cloud in an organized fashion also makes it significantly easier to upload required documents to FEMA when applying for aid.
8. Stay organized
It is critical to keep inspection routes, assignments, and documents organized so resources are used effectively and to make the application process go smoothly. Staying organized prevents duplication of efforts in the inspection process and makes it easier to pull together documentation for submission to FEMA.
Create a system that makes it easy to assign inspectors to inspections—and make sure it allows inspectors to update inspection records and keep track of their designated locations. Develop the system with detailed labeling so the appropriate personnel can easily access the documents they need when applying for funding.
Learn more about disaster recovery
Our whitepaper, Disaster recovery: 5 best practices, offers additional insights into the steps you should take to prepare for a disaster.