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Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced their new BRIC program, aimed at supporting communities by investing in pre-disaster resiliency and mitigation projects. The Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA) established a National Public Infrastructure Pre-Disaster fund focused solely on community resilience and mitigation projects through an unprecedented set aside of up to six (6) percent of estimated disaster recovery costs.
The new law is consistent with three overarching strategic goals identified in FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan:
- Build a Culture of Preparedness
- Ready the Nation for Catastrophic Disasters
- Reduce the Complexity of FEMA
BRIC will replace the Pre-Disaster Mitigation program (PDM) in 2020 and fund community approaches to the hardening of key community lifelines, including infrastructure. BRIC eliminates the uncertainty of annual funding levels doled out by Congress for pre-disaster mitigation projects and creates a larger, nationally competitive program based on expenditures through the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). Funding will still vary from year-to-year because disaster costs will vary each year, but the potential for funding is tremendous.
FEMA also offered four webinars this past June to engage with stakeholders that highlighted key topics in the development of the BRIC.
How to Participate in BRIC
If you missed the series of webinars (topics listed below) in June 2019 where FEMA solicited public comments on the development of BRIC, you can still participate.
- Hazard Mitigation Planning
- Grant Application and Evaluation and Risk Based Funding
- Funding and Resource Management and Benefit-Cost Analysis
- Building Codes and Enforcement and Capacity and Capability
FEMA is seeking feedback on the role of technical assistance in the BRIC program and how technical assistance may ease an applicant’s burdens and streamline the application process. It is also important to be an active voice in the BRIC development process – let your voice be heard on what your community needs from this new program, including access to technical assistance and what risk methodology will be used to evaluate projects.
Contact Witt O’Brien’s for our expertise in qualifying projects under the current HMPG & PDM programs through 2019. We can also help clients take advantage of the 2020 BRIC program funds and aid communities in the completion of applications.
Colin Vissering, Managing Director, Hazard Mitigation & Preparedness
Colin offers more than two decades of experience in FEMA Hazard Mitigation programs, along with expertise in all federal environmental and historic preservation compliance requirements. Colin has managed grants and environmental and cultural resource activities for national federal programs.
We can help shape the comments or concerns potential applicants may wish to submit for consideration in the development of BRIC. We can update risk or hazard planning efforts in support of feasible BRIC projects, and support the project development, navigation, and implementation of what is anticipated to be a rigorous application process for BRIC funds.
In addition to projects that reduce or mitigate risks to key community lifelines, BRIC may also be used to:
- Hire additional staff
- Train current and future staff
- Encourage public/private partnerships
- Encourage improvement assessments of community vulnerabilities
- Contribute to mitigation goals and priorities
- Encourage adoption of latest building codes, specifications and standards