Climbing up the 9-Step Ladder of Disaster Declarations

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Mar. 18, 2013 12:00 am  

David Maxwell

FEMA and ADEM monitor projects to make sure they’re completed.

The December storm had between 100 and 150 projects, Maxwell said, for an estimate of about $9 million in damage. That’s a “fairly small disaster,” he noted.

The ice storm of 2000, by comparison, cost upwards of $200 million, and the ice storm of 2008 that affected mainly the northern third of the state was larger than that.

“The ice storms are generally our biggest dollar-cost disasters,” Maxwell said.

Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration can provide loans to nonprofit organizations that provide essential services.

Individual and Mitigation

Individual aid has different criteria than the state’s public assistance.

“We work with local county judges and emergency managers to verify damages right after a storm happens,” said Scott Bass, director of ADEM’s disaster management division.

As of last year, ADEM determines individual assistance with a point system.

For example, if a storm-damaged house has simply had a few shingles sheared off the roof, its point value is zero. Minor damage is worth two points; major damage three; and a destroyed home is worth four.

A city has to reach 125 points before individual assistance can be implemented, Bass said, and that’s before insurance coverage is checked.

No cities exceeded 125 points during the December ice storms, he added. ADEM’s individual assistance usually provides from one to three months of rent and can provide grants for property loss.



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