Declaration Process

Declaration Process

The Governor may proclaim a state of emergency after a political subdivision (city, town, county, tribe, state agency) has passed a resolution stating that an emergency exists within their jurisdiction(s) and have been able to demonstrate that the incident is above and beyond their capability to recover from without assistance from the State. The Governor may provide Public Assistance to the affected political subdivision(s) of the state.


The Governor’s Emergency Fund is allocated $4 million dollars annually to cover the costs of emergencies and disasters. The Arizona Department of Emergency & Military Affairs’ (DEMA) Recovery Section administers this fund.


The PDA process begins at the local level (where the disaster has occurred) with the local government assessing their impacts. If the impacts document that assistance is needed, then the local government (i.e., city) should request assistance from their county. The assistance request escalates one level of government at a time – city/town to county to state to federal.


Upon completion of the PDA, the jurisdiction requests state assistance and DEMA’s Recovery Branch performs joint Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA) with the jurisdiction. The PDA is the first step performed to document the impact and magnitude of the disaster on individuals, families, businesses and public property, and to gather information for disaster management purposes. The PDA is required to substantiate the disaster assistance requests, such as a declaration of emergency.


The Recovery Branch reviews damage assessment findings and advises the Emergency Management Director. Depending on the findings, the Emergency Management Director will request that DEMA's Director makes a recommendation to the Governor to declare or not declare a state emergency.

  • If the Governor declares a state of emergency, a maximum of $200,000 can be allocated for Public Assistance. Arizona does not have a disaster survivor assistance fund at this time. A.R.S. § 35-192 (F)(2)
  • The Recovery Branch administers the Public Assistance process for recovery. 
  • If the emergency requires more than $200,000, then the State Emergency Council is convened to allocate the additional funds.


If the emergency warrants a federal Presidential Emergency or Major Disaster declaration for either Public Assistance or Individual Assistance, then DEMA prepares a letter of request for the Governor.

  • The Public Assistance process for recovery under a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration is managed by DEMA’s Emergency Management Division.
  • Individual Assistance under a Federal Declaration is determined through the Case Management process.


The recovery process for a single event is not complete until all project work has been completed, inspected, documentation audited and final payment disbursed. Once the recovery process for a single event is complete, the declared disaster is terminated.