PEMA oftentimes receives county, municipal, and volunteer organization requests regarding generators.
The FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant programs are not the best programs for which to send in a generator application, as these type projects are very low in priority when compared to other disaster and non-disaster mitigation projects vying for this same funding.
During these inquiries, PEMA has found that potential applicants need to do some initial work to ensure they have a clear scope of work and understanding of what their power generations might be.
Helpful Questions to Consider
Below is a list of questions that your organization should be working through:
- Is the generator need identified in the municipal section of the county’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s approved Hazard Mitigation Plan?
- Has the facility been entered into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Emergency Power Facility Assessment Tool (EPFAT) Program?
- Is the facility an eligible applicant for the FEMA HMGP and PDM grants? (The private sector is not eligible for a generator from the FEMA program; depending on a program, nonprofits may not be eligible.)
- Is the facility that needs back-up power identified in the county or municipal Emergency Operations Plan as a “critical facility or business activity/function”?
- Has the facility’s back-up generation needs been reviewed and identified in the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP)?
- Did an electrical engineer fill out both PEMA forms with the facility manager? (These ask specific questions that you need to answer before looking for a back-up generator.)
- What grant funds have you identified for a generator, to include any cost share – federal funds can not be co-mingled in most cases. (Example: FEMA HMGP and FEMA PDM, USDA Rural Grants)
- Who will execute the grant application and who is designated to manage a generator project from “cradle to grave” (Grant Application, Grant Agreement, Design Phase, Project Phase, Project Closeout).
- Who will maintain the generator and what funds will be used to maintain the asset?
- Who will ensure personnel are trained on the use of the generator? (You will need more than one person due to leave, vacations, and retirements.)
- Have you discussed this with your county emergency management office? (Maybe a power hook-up might be a better option?)
- If a mobile generator is being requested, do you have a temperature-controlled facility for storage and maintenance?
Is There a Better Option?
Have you discussed your back-up power generation/redundancy planning needs with either the Pennsylvania State and/or Federal Surplus for municipal generators? In order to use either of these surplus programs and obtain surplus property, your organization must be a registered one.
To find out if your organization is registered, contact the Department of General Services.
Once verified, both offices can usually obtain a generator a little to no cost (they will need to transport), versus coming in for a generator under the FEMA HMGP or PDM programs.
These offices can also be on the lookout for a generator for size/type if they don’t have it in their possession at the time of your original requests.