A presidential disaster declarationmakes federal assistance available under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The process for declaration:
#1 Incident Occurs
#2 Local officials collect initial damage estimates
#3 State Requests Joint Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) from FEMA Regional Office
#4 Joint local/state/federal PDAs are conducted
#5 Governor submits disaster declaration request to president through FEMA Regional Office
#6 FEMA reviews request, sends recommendation to president for decision
#7 President makes determination
What are Preliminary Damage Assessments?
Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA) are performed in the impacted counties/municipalities to evaluate the extent of the damages. As a result of the PDAs, some counties/municipalities may be designated immediately in the disaster declaration, and some may be added later, due to ongoing evaluations of the damages.
Representatives from MEMA (Mississippi Emergency Management Association), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) conduct joint PDAs and share the information.
The governor’s request for a major disaster declaration is made through the FEMA Regional Office, utilizing data from the PDA to project cost estimates, and provide information on the extent of damages and assistance required.
The PDAs determine the need for an Individual Assistance declaration if the damages and thresholds are met. Ultimately the White House makes a Presidential determination on the declaration.