COVID-19 cost recovery for fire and EMS departments

Across the nation, fire and emergency medical services (EMS) organizations are engaged in community-wide efforts to respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency. This effort could have a significant negative impact on organizational and community budgets.

President Trump's national emergency declaration covers this event beginning Jan. 27, 2020, until a future date. Guidance to support communities in prevention, response and recovery is being finalized to include fiscal support.

One prominent way your department can obtain fiscal support is through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Public Assistance Grant Program. While states and FEMA are writing more specific directives, the following information will guide local leaders in obtaining support.

FEMA fact sheet
Procurement Under Grants Conducted Under Exigent or Emergency Circumstances

Download the fact sheet PDF 396 KB

Public assistance is intended to support organizations with “extraordinary costs” associated with this event.

This may include but is not limited to:

  • Overtime or personnel backfill cost.
  • Expendable supplies such as disinfectants, medical supplies and personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, gowns, etc.).
  • Apparatus usage.

A submission request for public assistance must provide complete and accurate documentation of expenses and usage.

This includes standardized Incident Command System (ICS) forms, Public Assistance Grant forms, verifiable receipts, personnel cost sheets and apparatus sheets (type, size, etc.). Some basic forms to use include:

  • ICS Form 214, Activity Log, for all involved units and personnel.
  • ICS Form 213, General Message, to document specific requests.
  • ICS Form 218, Support Vehicle-Equipment Inventory.

While waiting on specific guidelines for this event, browse the FEMA Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide for additional insight on documentation needs, such as:

  • Applicant labor and applicant-owned equipment.
  • Rented or purchased equipment.
  • Purchased supplies and supplies from stock.
  • Contracted services.
  • Mutual aid services.


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This website  is intended as a national source of information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the delivery of  financial recovery services. It includes resources on eligibility, procurement, grant management delivery, and issues related to various Federal Programs currently supporting Covid-19 financial recovery for governments and non-profits. This website is not affiliated or endorsed or sponsored  by  FEMA  or any other Federal grant program. The information provided in various webpage documents is derived largely from Federal  published materials. In general, under section 105 of the Copyright Act, such works are not entitled to domestic copyright protection under U.S. law and are therefore in the public domain.  The goal is to help navigate the various Federal websites and summarize grant information and requirements. It does not constitute legal advice or grant management advise and is provided for general informational purposes only. Only the Federal Agency responsible for grants can make determinations on eligibility and grant amounts. You should consult with your professional services advisors and State and Federal Grant Coordinators for more detailed guidance on specific Covid-19 financial recovery issues.

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