Frequently Asked Questions

FEMA Frequently Asked Questions

Top 10 Most Popular Questions and Answers : https://www.fema.gov/faq

Mitigation Planning

Q: What is Mitigation Planning?
Q: What is the South Carolina State Hazard Mitigation Plan (SHMP)?
Q: Are local jurisdictions required to have a Local Hazard mitigation Plan (LHMP) in order to receive mitigation project grants?
Q: Do the details of specific mitigation projects have to be included in a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) in order to meet the grant requirement projects be in compliance with a jurisdiction's approved LHMP?
Q: If a jurisdiction identifies flooding as a hazard in its mitigation plan, but does not participate in the NFIP, can FEMA still approve the plan?

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)

Q: Must private nonprofit organizations (PNPs) have a FEMA-approved multi-hazard mitigation plan in order to receive HMGP project funds?
Q: Must school districts (or independent school districts, or other special districts defined as local governments at 44 CFR 201.2) have a FEMA-approved plan in order to receive HMGP project funds? (Note: Independent school districts are independent of the local government where they are located.)
Q: Are jurisdictions that are not participating in the NFIP eligible to receive HMGP Planning grants?

Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM)

Q: What types of applications receive priority from the state?
Q: Is participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) a requirement to qualify for the PDM program? Are there any exceptions?
Q: Can a paper application be submitted in place of the FEMA eGrants system?
Q: What is a Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA)? Do all PDM Applications require a BCA?
Q: What information is needed to perform a Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA)?

Mitigation Planning

Q: What is Mitigation Planning?

A:Mitigation planning is a process for States and communities to identify policies, activities and tools to implement mitigation actions. Mitigation is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to life and property from a hazard event.  This process has five steps:

  • organizing resources
  • assessing risks
  • developing a mitigation plan
  • implementing the plan
  • monitoring progress

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Q: What is the South Carolina State Hazard Mitigation Plan (SHMP)?

A: The South Carolina State Hazard Mitigation Plan (SHMP) is the official statement of the State's hazard identification, vulnerability analysis, risk assessment, and hazard mitigation strategy. The SHMP is the result of a collaborative multi-agency planning process with multiple opportunities for public participation. The goal of the SHMP is to guide implementation activities to achieve the greatest reduction of vulnerability, which results in saved lives, reduced injuries, reduced property damages, and protection for the environment.

The SHMP is also a federal requirement under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000) for the State of South Carolina to receive federal funds for the following disaster assistance grant programs: Public Assistance (PA)--Category C through G, Fire Management Assistance Grant Program (FMAGP), and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).

In order for South Carolina to continue to be eligible for federal disaster assistance funding, South Carolina is required to update the SHMP every five years. The next SHMP update must be approved by FEMA by October 19, 2018.

A digital copy of South Carolina's current plan can be viewed here.

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Q: Are local jurisdictions required to have a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) in order to receive mitigation project grants?

A: Local jurisdictions are required by Federal law to have a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan in order to qualify for the following hazard mitigation funding: Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM).

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Q: Do the details of specific mitigation projects have to be included in a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) in order to meet the grant requirement projects be in compliance with a jurisdiction's approved LHMP?

A: It is only necessary to include basic information about mitigation projects in the plan. For example, a list of potential properties or a street name would be appropriate for a neighborhood mitigation action. Specific project details are not needed in the plan.

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Q: If a jurisdiction identifies flooding as a hazard in its mitigation plan, but does not participate in the NFIP, can FEMA still approve the plan?

A: Yes. NFIP participation is not currently a requirement for approval of multi-hazard mitigation plans. Therefore, FEMA cannot disapprove a plan solely because the local government is not participating in the NFIP. However, local plan regulations at 44 CFR 201.6(c)(3)(ii) require the mitigation strategy to identify and analyze "a comprehensive range of specific mitigation actions and projects being considered to reduce the effects of each hazard, with particular emphasis on new and existing buildings and infrastructure." If a plan identifies flooding as a significant hazard and the plan's mitigation strategy does not adequately address this hazard (particularly with respect to new and existing structures and infrastructure), FEMA may disapprove the plan for failure to satisfy this requirement.

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Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)

Q: Must private nonprofit organizations (PNPs) have a FEMA-approved multi-hazard mitigation plan in order to receive HMGP project funds?

A: No. PNP applicants for HMGP project grants do not need to have an approved multi-hazard mitigation plan in order to receive HMGP project funds. However, in order for a PNP project application to be approved, the following conditions must be met:
1. The jurisdiction in which the project is located must have an approved plan, and
2. The project must be consistent with the plan's goals and objectives.
(Note: For FEMA's PDM program, PNPs are not eligible sub-applicants. However, an eligible local government could apply for a grant on their behalf.)

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Q: Must school districts (or independent school districts, or other special districts defined as local governments at 44 CFR 201.2) have a FEMA-approved plan in order to receive HMGP project funds? (Note: Independent school districts are independent of the local government where they are located.)

A: Yes. These districts, because they are defined as local governments, are required to have an approved plan - or demonstrate their participation as a separate government entity in another local government's approved mitigation plan - in order to receive project grants under HMGP or PDM. They would have to meet all FEMA local plan requirements. School districts do not fall under the definition of private nonprofit organizations [44 CFR 206.2(a)(19)].

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Q: Are jurisdictions that are not participating in the NFIP eligible to receive HMGP Planning grants?

A: Jurisdictions that do not participate in the NFIP are still eligible for HMGP planning grants. Because of the post-disaster aspect of HMGP, FEMA wants to provide an opportunity to encourage sound mitigation planning, which may in turn serve to motivate non-participating jurisdictions to participate in the NFIP. Up to 7% of the total disaster HMGP funds may be used for State and local planning activities. For example, if a state receives $1 Million in HMGP, up to $70,000 could be used for planning grants to sub-applicants.

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Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM)

Q: What types of applications receive priority from the state?

A: Planning grants are given the highest preference. Any jurisdiction wishing to apply for any of the three Hazard Mitigation Assistance projects are required to have a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. Sub-applicants applying for funding of a Local Hazard Mitigation Planning Grant are not required to have a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan in place.

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Q: Is participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) a requirement to qualify for the PDM program? Are there any exceptions?

A: Active NFIP participation is required for Applicants and sub-applicants that have been identified through the NFIP as having a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA); a Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM); or, a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) issued for their specific jurisdiction.  These Applicants and Sub-applicants must be in good standing (i.e., not on probation, suspended, or withdrawn from the NFIP).  Applicants and Sub-applicants that are not mapped or have not been issued a map are eligible for the PDM program.
The only exception to this requirement is for Federally-recognized Indian tribal governments, who are eligible to receive PDM planning grants even if they are not participating in the NFIP and have been issued a FHBM or FIRM.  However, Tribal governments will not be eligible for PDM project grants until they participate in the NFIP.

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Q: Can a paper application be submitted in place of the FEMA eGrants system?

A: FEMA has developed a web-based, electronic grants (eGrants) management system to allow States, Federally-recognized Indian Tribal governments, territories, and local governments to apply for and manage their mitigation grant application processes electronically.  The e-Grants system is an intuitive, user-friendly system that follows the current paper application requirements.  These initiatives streamlines grant application processes and provide the means to electronically create, review, and submit a grant application via the Internet.  As a part of the eGovernment initiative, FEMA's Mitigation eGrants system reduces the time and paperwork involved in the application process and at full development will manage the grant process through the entire grant life cycle from submission of an application to grant close out.

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Q: What is a Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA)? Do all PDM Applications require a BCA?

A: A Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) is the method by which the future benefits of a mitigation project are determined and compared to its cost. The end result is a Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR), which is derived from a project's total net benefits divided by its total cost. The BCR is a numerical expression of the cost-effectiveness of a project. Composite BCRs of 1.0 or greater have more benefits than costs, and are therefore cost-effective. FEMA requires a BCA to be performed on all PDM project applications. The BCA is waived for all planning applications submitted to FEMA. To assist Applicants and Sub-applicants, FEMA has created the BCA Helpline.

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Q: What information is needed to perform a Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA)?

A: Supporting documentation that gives a history of damages to the project or county.  These are things like road closures – times of closure, how long, detour times and traffic counts, Emergency payroll or total cost to the city or county for protection of the citizens due to the disaster.  Other items would be loss of economic impacts such as businesses closure, loss of time for buildings.  This information has to be documented and submitted with application to prove the loss and impact to the city or county.

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