Did You Know?… Disaster Relief Contracting 

Written by Melissa Burant
CIRAS Government Contracting Specialist

It’s time to begin thinking about spring floods and the emergency management responses that go with them.  How can your company participate in these relief efforts?  While many procurements are done by the local agencies affected by the disaster through their existing contracts, there is often a need for additional support.  Below are various ways you can position your company for opportunities during a disaster.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA is the lead agency responsible for federal government disaster response and recovery. Through their Industry Liaison Program (ILP), FEMA establishes strategic relationships with suppliers and stakeholders to serve as an information provider for suppliers seeking to do business with FEMA. They also connect suppliers with the program offices in support of FEMA’s mission. Visit the FEMA Industry Liaison Program website and select “How To Do Business With FEMA.”

The Thomas T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act requires FEMA to contract with businesses located in the affected area when feasible and practicable.

FEMA works through multiple channels:

  • Simplified Commodity Buys:  FedBid is a fully managed online marketplace used by some government agencies to manage their procurement opportunities. FEMA uses FedBid to solicit quotes and offers for disaster-assistance opportunities.
  • Corporate Emergency Lodging Assistance (ELA) for Disaster Survivors:  The ELA program provides lodging reimbursement for pre-qualified individuals from designated disaster areas. FEMA created the ELA program to provide temporary shelter as a result of a Federal disaster declaration. Hotels/lodging providers wishing to participate in the ELA Program can enroll here. Properties are not required to have an existing contract with Corporate Lodging Consultants (CLC) for business travel in order to participate.
  • Small and Disadvantaged Businesses:  Small businesses my contact the FEMA Small Business Program to obtain information on opportunities for small businesses.  We recommend that you complete your SAM registration, FEMA ILP Vendor Profile form, and have your company’s capability statement available before contacting a FEMA Small Business Specialist.
  • Transportation Opportunities / General Services Administration: FEMA procures many of its transportation needs through the General Services Administration (GSA) Center for Transportation Management (CTM). This includes truckload (TL), less than truckload (LTL), air charter, barge, air freight, air ambulance, heavy hauler, ocean, freight, rail, power only, limousine chartered bus, vehicle rental, truck rental, travel trailers, and mobile homes.

U.S. Army Corp of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers establishes their disaster-response list based on the Disaster Response Registry in the System for Award Management (www.sam.gov). Their opportunities are posted on Beta.SAM.gov.  You may also consider subcontracting with one of their prime contractors.

State Emergency Management Agencies

During emergencies each state coordinates the activation and use of resources necessary to help local governments respond and recover from emergencies and disasters.  In Iowa, such decisions are made by the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department. Click here to find information for other states.

For more information on how to prepare for emergency responses, contact Melissa Burant at mmburant@iastate.edu or 563-726-9958.