Public Entities in Oklahoma Urged to Report Storm Damage to Help Access Recovery Funding

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Jennifer Wasinger

Account Director

Oklahoma and United States flags

Public entities across Oklahoma — including cities, counties, utilities and tribal governments — are being asked to assess and report damages from the February winter storms to help the state obtain disaster recovery funding from the federal government.

The Feb. 17 federal major disaster declaration covers all 77 Oklahoma counties and has triggered financial aid from the FEMA Public Assistance (PA) program, Category B (emergency protective measures). The more damage that local entities report, the more funding will become available by opening new FEMA PA avenues such as Categories C-G, permanent work to repair and restore.

Additionally, to pay for the restoration of vital water and wastewater infrastructure, local governments have access to low-interest loans from the Oklahoma Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. This access was established by a 2019 arrangement between FEMA and the EPA and applies only to presidentially declared disasters.

How to Get Approved for Public Assistance

Local entities are asked to submit damage assessments to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (ODEMHS) as soon as possible. One assessment should be completed for each location of damage or excessive costs incurred. Once the state and counties have met FEMA’s damage thresholds, additional PA categories may become available.

Read more about the assessment process from ODEMHS: Virtual Damage Assessments for Public Assistance

You’re Approved; Now What?

State and local governments that have emergency protective needs should start the process immediately to request funds for government assistance.

  1. Submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA)
  2. Attend an applicant briefing

Applicants are required to track their costs following FEMA’s Public Assistance Category B (emergency protective measures) policies.

Freese and Nichols is Here to Help

Disasters typically confront communities with unanticipated expenses, so recovery requires integrated services to effectively find and manage disaster recovery funding. If you have any questions about funding or other available resources, contact our Funding Team at or your Freese and Nichols client representative.

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Jennifer Wasinger is an Account Director in the Central Plains Region. She has more than 25 years of experience in securing state and federal funding for infrastructure-related projects.

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