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Disaster Process

 

During disasters and other large and small emergencies, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management assists local governments and coordinates the state's response activities, including interaction with federal government, non-profit, faith-based, volunteer, and private-sector partners.

Duty Officer

HSEMD assists local emergency management in a variety of emergency situations. A duty officer, a member of the Division's operations office cadre, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to coordinate state resources, and ensure the quickest and most complete assistance is given during actual and potential emergencies. HSEMD duty officers respond to a variety of incidents, ranging from hazardous materials spills to rail accidents, bomb threats, missing persons, and severe weather. For many of the incidents, HSEMD coordinates assistance with local, state, and federal government agencies and the private sector.

 

State Emergency Operations Center

State Emergency Operations CenterHSEMD's response activities range from monitoring local incidents to full activation of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at the Joint Forces Headquarters in Johnston, Iowa. At the SEOC, HSEMD and other government and private sector partners coordinate state response and recovery efforts. Activations of the SEOC may last only a few hours in a small incident, or may extend for several weeks for large-scale disasters.

 

During an incident, if the need for resources has exceeded the county's capability to provide them, HSEMD may then request a Governor's Disaster Proclamation to cover the impacted counties.

 

Should the disaster go beyond the capabilities of the State, the governor could then make a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration.

 

Click on the tabs below for additional information.

Governor's Disaster Proclamations

 

State resources may be activated and deployed to assist with the ongoing disaster. State resources include equipment, personnel, technical assistance/guidance, supplies, and essential services to provide assistance in the form of debris removal, traffic control, levee patrol, security, vaccines, transportation, and other emergency response and recovery capabilities. A governor's proclamation may also make assistance available to low income residents in the proclaimed counties. Click here to read about the Iowa Individual Assistance Program.

 

Additionally, a governor's proclamation may make some governmental subdivisions eligible for a contingent fund loan, which assists the subdivision in lessening the impact(s) of the disaster for which the proclamation was issued.

 

Should the disaster go beyond the capabilities of the State, the governor would then make the decision to request federal assistance in the form of a Presidential Disaster Declaration. (See next tab.)

 

Click here to view past governor's disaster proclamations.

 

Presidential Disaster Declarations

 

Should the disaster go beyond the capabilities of the State, the governor would then make the decision to request federal assistance and order a joint preliminary damage assessment (PDA). The PDA is conducted by officials from HSEMD, the Iowa Department of Human Services, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The findings of the PDA will help to determine the financial impact and estimated costs to recover from the disaster.

 

If the PDA meets declaration criteria, the governor will submit a written request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration. When a Presidential Disaster Declaration is granted, HSEMD works with FEMA and other federal agencies to coordinate and deliver aid to affected Iowans, beginning the recovery process.

 

Sometimes, states need assistance before a disaster happens. At that point, a Presidential Emergency Declaration may be considered. (See next tab.)

 

Click here to view past Presidential Disaster Declarations.

 

Presidential Emergency Declarations

 

Sometimes, states need assistance before a disaster happens. When a storm or incident is anticipated to create major destruction or result in a major disaster, and it is apparent the event will overwhelm the capability or capacity of State resources, the governor may request and the president may issue a Presidential Emergency Declaration. Such a declaration frees up federal resources (e.g. teams, equipment, and supplies) to assist the state in meeting critical emergency protection requirements. Perhaps the best example of when a Presidential Emergency Declaration would be needed would be prior to landfall of a major hurricane.

 

In the past 30 years, Iowa has only had four Presidential Emergency Declarations:

 

Year

Date

Declaration Number/Incident Description

2007

3/30

3275, Snow

2005

9/10

3239, Hurricane Katrina Evacuation

1979

4/6

3076, Severe Storms and Tornadoes

1977

3/31

3036, Drought