Disasters in Arkansas can occur at any time and without warning. When this occurs, it is first the responsibility of the local government to alleviate and minimize impact to the community and citizens. The local government will be responsible to provide any immediate needs to its residents, necessary sheltering, and immediate debris clearance on roads allowing emergency services and restoration of immediate services.
After an event takes place, the SEOC becomes the central coordinating point for state, federal and volunteer agency response activities; in general, these actions are initiated by Local/State Declarations of Emergency and the need for emergency response resources. However, even in the initial response phase of a disaster, Recovery must begin to lay the foundation not just for restoring health and safety to affected communities but also for rebuilding and revitalizing those communities in the long-term. Many recovery operations are being coordinated from the SEOC in advance of and immediately following an event so service can begin as soon as possible.
State assistance may be available if the local government has exhausted all resources and the Chief Elected Official (i.e. County Judge) or his/her designee has declared an emergency or disaster to the SEOC by submission of a disaster emergency proclamation within five (5) business days of the event.
Many times combined local and state efforts are not sufficient to effectively cope with the direct results of the disaster. This situation calls for Federal assistance to supplement the State and local efforts. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93-288 as amended; (Stafford Act) was designed to do this. The Stafford Act authorizes the President to provide assistance to individuals and to State and local governments to help them respond to and recover from a disaster. Certain types of private nonprofit organizations may also receive assistance.
Under certain circumstances, it will be possible to ascertain that a disaster is almost certain and will be of sufficient magnitude to require federal assistance under provisions of Public Law 93-288, the Stafford Act. Under such circumstances, the Governor may request direct assistance from the President prior to a Presidential declaration to alleviate or prevent the disaster.
Recovery Field Operations
In the aftermath of a disaster, with or without a Presidential Declaration, the State may deploy several specialized Recovery personnel into the disaster area, including: Preliminary Damage Assessment Teams, Community Response Teams/Area Coordinators, and Disaster Recovery Centers.
Preliminary Damage Assessment
Damage assessments are used to determine the magnitude of the disaster and/or emergency. It is used to identify the immediate needs of individuals, critical facilities, businesses, and local government services or facilities.
During emergencies, the area coordinator responds to the impacted county to provide assistance, support and coordination with the SEOC for asset requests and to act as a link for information going between local and state governments.
Arkansas Disaster Assistance Team (ADAT)
Qualified team members used to assist ADEM staff in determining legal matters, assigning State staff in the resource pool, assessing damages, preparing and reviewing PWs depending on the level of State involvement and conducting interim and final inspections when necessary.
Disaster Recovery Centers
Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) are established as a result of a Gubernatorial or Presidential declared disaster. It allows government and volunteer agencies near the most impacted areas to offer disaster related assistance and resources. It also allows citizens the ability to apply for any assistance that is made available by local, state, federal, and volunteer agencies.
Individual Assistance Activities
The Governor may authorize the State IA Program for qualified home owner and renters whose primary residence has been damaged in a declared area. If damages exceed criteria of the State IA Plan then federal assistance maybe requested.
Public Assistance Activities
The Governor may authorize the State PA Program for eligible applicants and facilities that are located in a declared area. If damages exceed criteria of the State PA Plan then federal assistance maybe requested.