President Trump on March 13 declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, invoking the Stafford Act. Here is what it means for the fire and emergency service:
- Up to $50 billion in additional funding becomes available for state and local governments through the Disaster Relief Fund.
- The Disaster Relief Fund allows states to request a 75% federal cost-share for expenses that include emergency workers, medical tests, medical supplies, vaccinations, security for medical facilities, and more
- Since all Stafford Act reimbursements go through the states, fire chiefs are urged to contact their state emergency managers for guidance
The president said he was also conferring new authority to the Health and Human Services Secretary enabling him to waive regulations and parts of laws—such as hospital stay limits and state medical licenses—to give hospitals and health care providers maximum flexibility.
The IAFC has tools and guidance are available:
Survey for Fire Chiefs
As an effort to monitor and protect the health of firefighters and EMS personnel, the IAFC has developed a Survey for Fire Chiefs to help the IAFC Coronavirus Task Force collect data and analyze the impact the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on emergency response organizations.
The IAFC requests that your organization complete this questionnaire each day at the same time to help us track progress of the event. This information will be especially helpful in identifying the impact of COVID-19 on first responders.