Preliminary Damage Assessments New!

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State Emergency Management Division continue to schedule Preliminary Damage Assessments in counties across the state.

During the PDAs, FEMA and EMD representatives are meeting with local officials to document damage due to the flooding. It is important that municipal officials participate in the PDA to ensure all damage in the county is documented. To be eligible to receive FEMA Public Assistance, the damage must exceed established thresholds.

Below is a listing of scheduled PDA meetings. Because meetings continue to be added or rescheduled, the Association will post the most recent schedule on its website. Check the site frequently for the most up-to-date schedule.

PDA meeting schedule updated 10/20/2015

Municipal officials can either attend the PDA meeting or send a list of damaged locations to the county for inclusion in the PDA. The FEMA team will schedule a time to visit the damaged sites. SCEMD recommends the municipality offer a representative to escort the FEMA team to the sites. This should be someone familiar with the damaged sites (i.e., city manager, public works/utilities director, police officer, codes enforcement officer).

If the PDA establishes that a county has exceeded its established damage threshold, FEMA will declare the county eligible for Public Assistance.

Within 30 days of the declaration, municipal officials wanting reimbursement/assistance must submit a Request for Public Assistance to FEMA and provide a copy to SCEMD. For those counties already declared eligible for Public Assistance, the deadline is November 4. Counties added to the last after October 4 will have different deadlines based on their declaration date.

FEMA will schedule an Applicants Briefing to help officials complete their RPA. Each municipality should select a primary contact for submitting the RPA and have at least this primary contact attend the Applicants Briefing. Attached is a spreadsheet noting the briefings already scheduled. Similar to the PDA meetings, briefings are constantly being added or rescheduled. Check the Association's website frequently for the most up-to-date schedule.

Applicant briefing schedule updated 10/22/2015

While the RPA can be completed during the Applicants Briefing, the EMD suggests the sooner the municipality submits the form, the better.

Once FEMA accepts the municipality's RPA, FEMA and EMD officials will work with the primary contact to schedule and prepare for a kick-off meeting. The meeting is specifically for the municipality to provide a more detailed review of the Public Assistance Program and the applicant's specific needs.

SCEMD Updates for Cities Impacted by Flooding

The Municipal Association will post on its website daily updates from the SC Emergency Management Division. These updates include important information and forms to assist the city and its residents and businesses with recovery.

SCDOT Assistance to Municipalities

The South Carolina Department of Transportation is offering assistance to municipalities with storm damage to their local roads and bridges. In particular, they are offering assistance with Preliminary Damage Assessments, FEMA cost estimates and bridge inspections. SCDOT can perform debris removal on municipal roads in the following counties where they have signed an agreement with the county to pick up debris on the local roads: Bamberg, Darlington, Dorchester, Georgetown, Lexington, Kershaw, Marion, Newberry, Sumter and Williamsburg. SCDOT will need a signed Memorandum of Agreement in the case of debris removal, and the municipality will be responsible for the local match. Cities should make sure they are requesting help only for city-owned roads.

For more information, contact SCDOT Government Relations Officer Allen Hutto at or 803.737.0593.

Disaster Recovery Reimbursement Guidance

As your city conducts disaster recovery activities, it is important that you document those activities because federal funds from FEMA's Public Assistance Grant Program will be available to help offset the costs. See the links below for information on the documentation process.

However, those funds cannot be disbursed to your city without required documentation.

Receipts, time cards, photos, contracts and any other records generated during disaster recovery activities should be kept as supporting documentation for any expenses for which your city intends to seek reimbursement.

While the list below is not exhaustive, you should immediately start recording

  • Photos – Take photos of any and all damage/debris your city will remove.
  • Labor - Employees by name, department, the disaster recovery activity on which they worked and the hours they worked on that activity.
  • Equipment - Each piece of equipment and the hours used on the disaster recovery activity.
  • Contractors  - The contracts with and the hours any contractor hired by the city worked on a disaster recovery activity.

  • Materials - The amount and cost of materials used on a disaster recovery activity.
  • Food and housing - Costs of meals, housing or other costs related to maintaining the city’s workforce and its contractors.
  • Disposal – Receipts for tipping debris at a landfill OR records showing estimates for the volume of debris disposed of at a city-owned landfill. For debris estimate guidance click here.

As soon as possible after the disaster declaration, an Applicant’s Briefing will be conducted for all agencies by the SC Emergency Management Division. The Briefing will provide information on how to apply for grant funds.

For more information from SCEMD and the Public Assistance Grant Program, click here.

Lessons Learned Applicable Federal Regulations.  This is a document from the Florida League of Cities with valuable advice based on first-hand experience. Pay particular attention to the last section, Lessons Learned to Comply with FEMA.

Statewide Mutual Aid Guidance

The SC Emergency Management Division suggests cities and towns first contact their county emergency management departments to request mutual aid. The Association will also coordinate mutual aid for those impacted by flooding. To contact the Association for assistance, call 803.782.7436 or after hours call 803.933.1204. Make sure you leave a contact person's name and number.

All cities and towns requesting or giving aid must have a signed statewide mutual aid agreement or one similar in place. The agreement must be in place whether the agency rendering aid is from inside or outside South Carolina. The links below show those cities and towns with statewide mutual aid agreements in place and the statewide mutual aid agreement model.

 SCEMD Resources

​Updated resources from the SC Emergency Management Division