FEMA – When Disaster Strikes, Your Public Works Department Gets Busy
The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has been busy lately cleaning up after a seemingly endless summer of disaster strikes. The latest rounds of unpredictable acts of Mother Nature have kept our customers busy with clean-up efforts. We thought it was fitting to post about how PubWorks is here to help you in your clean-up efforts.
In the first part we’ll tell you about some clients’ direct experience with FEMA disasters. In the second part we’ll take you step-by-step through the FEMA recording process inside PubWorks.
Long Branch, NJ
Hurricane Sandy, October 2012
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy walloped the East Coast and turned Long Branch into a federal disaster area. PubWorks water-tight record-keeping proved especially handy. The massive cleanup effort took three-plus years to finish. Mauro “Buzz” Baldanza was been able to thoroughly report all disaster cleanup and repair efforts to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) with just a few mouse clicks in PubWorks.
“During Sandy, we entered all the individuals and equipment we were using, along with the FEMA scheduled rates,” he said. “Once that was in, each day as they went out to do work in the city, collecting debris or whatever, we’d track the trucks and equipment as it went out. We did that on a daily basis.”
Boulder County, CO
Colorado Front Range Flood, September 2013
Consider the 2013 floods that destroyed homes, roads and bridges along Colorado’s northern Front Range. Ted Plank of Boulder County public works said, “Our crews worked seven days a week for the first eight weeks after the flood” to clear debris, rebuild roads and restore access to people’s homes, he said. “All of that work was recorded in PubWorks and submitted to FEMA for reimbursement. All the main components of PubWorks are exactly what FEMA looks for,” Plank said.
Benton County, AR
FEMA Flood, August 2013
Trevor Messbarger of Benton County, Arkansas, doesn’t know how he would have kept track of the 300-plus projects that he began as a result of the 2013 floods that struck his area. Bridges and sections of road were washed downstream when 10-12 inches of rain fell in two catastrophic days. But by giving all of those projects a particular code in PubWorks, he could track all flood-related repairs and, exactly as Boulder County did and apply to FEMA for reimbursement.
“This flood was unreal,” Messbarger recalled. “If we didn’t have this system to organize it … I don’t know. I would have hated to see it.”
Reno County, KS
FEMA Flood, May 2007
PubWorks also demonstrated its value in 2007, shortly after the Reno County purchased the software, when federal flood disasters were declared and Tina McComb’s public works department had to respond. When the Federal Emergency Management Administration declares a disaster, it opens a pipeline for federal payments to cover the local agencies’ costs of responding to the event.
“PubWorks broke down each task that was done during the disaster, and then our FEMA reps chose which of those tasks could be reimbursed,” McComb explained. “Before (PubWorks) that would have been really difficult, if they’d even have been able to do it.”
When a FEMA disaster strikes, our customers know that PubWorks is with them during the clean-up and recovery process. Using the right record keeping system will make your life easier as you recover the funds necessary to make a complete recovery from a FEMA disaster.