COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Frees Up $40 Billion in Emergency Federal Funds

March 18 • 2020

The president’s nationwide emergency declaration (under the Stafford Act) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic frees up more than $40 billion in emergency federal funds to help combat the virus, and specifically allows state and local governments to be reimbursed up to 75 percent for emergency protective measures under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Program.

Local leaders should communicate fire department needs, including necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and overtime and backfill needs, to their local elected officials and stress that these needs must be included in their requests for reimbursement under the FEMA Public Assistance Program.

This is an unprecedented declaration, but we have been assured by officials at FEMA that more specific eligibility guidelines are forthcoming. We will share these guidelines as soon as they are available. In the meantime, municipalities and counties are encouraged to work directly with their local emergency management offices and through the state emergency management agencies for all requests for public assistance.

We will continue to keep you updated as any new information emerges. Meanwhile, as this is a fluid situation, visit our online coronavirus resource for updates.