In 2020, the US experienced a record 230 presidentially declared emergencies and major disasters, nearly double the previous high of 128 declared in 2011. We suffered the most active wildfire and Atlantic hurricane seasons in history, all while battling the devastating worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
This presented an unprecedented challenge for the Federal Emergency Management Agency—commonly known as FEMA—whose mission is “Helping people before, during and after disasters.” Over 1,200 employees were deployed on the West Coast to support wildfire recovery efforts and over 5,000 were deployed to Pacific and Atlantic Hurricane zones.
How FEMA Supports Disaster Recovery
FEMA supports citizens and first responders to ensure that we, as a nation, work together to build, sustain, and improve our capacity to protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate environmental hazards.
In 2020 alone, FEMA provided:
- $568.9 million in grants to disaster survivors for immediate needs following disasters
- $19.7 billion in grants to help rebuild communities in the wake of disasters
- $927 million in grants to help communities mitigate the impact of future disasters
- $1.8 billion in preparedness grants to help communities prepare for disasters
- $700 million in grants to help hire and equip our nation’s firefighters
Deploying PaleoWest Staff to Disaster Recovery Zones
In 2019, PaleoWest began a partnership with CCPRS (a joint venture between CDM Smith and Jacobs) to provide a variety of environmental and historic preservation services to FEMA under the Public Assistance Technical Assistance Contract IV (PA TAC IV). Under the contract, PaleoWest supports disaster operations in FEMA Region II: New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands; Region VII: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska; Region IX: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Pacific Islands: and Region X: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Of PaleoWest’s 2020 contributions to disaster recovery, Clint Helton, Vice President, and FEMA Program Leader commented:
“We are committed to delivering highly qualified and dependable staff to our CCPRS partner and our FEMA clients and I am pleased to have already deployed critical staff and resources to assist with disaster recovery in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, California, and Nebraska. Our staff are top-notch and I am very proud of our entire team, many of whom have been deployed for months. We stand ready to support our CCPRS teammates and FEMA’s post-disaster response and recovery across all 17 U.S. states and territories.”
There’s no denying that 2020 has been a tough year for us all, but especially so for the citizens and communities who have the dual challenge of responding to both major disasters and the worldwide pandemic.
As such, we’re extremely proud to continue to support FEMA in its efforts to aid and rebuild these devastated communities. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to both our own teams and all those within the CCPRS and FEMA teams who contributed to this historic response level.