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Contracting in a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration Area

by Max Franks - September 20, 2017

On August 25, 2017 President Trump signed a disaster declaration for 30 plus counties in Texas after Hurricane Harvey’s pass through. This declaration allows federal funds to be spent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There are several rules that federal contractors need to know if they want to assist with FEMA projects.

1. FEMA works on many sites at the same time. Recently, FEMA had a bid out for Hurricane IRMA Meals for Irma, Solicitation Number: HSFE70-17-Q-0070, and they have to work fast and do what is best for their current disaster area. For the Texas disaster, contractors that wish to assist must think locally as FEMA may fund the project but most of the funds will be distributed to local agencies and there could be sub-contracting opportunities available. A contractor should be prepared to work in a major disaster area by registering in the System for Award Management (SAM) data base and be listed in section two Disaster Relief, showing where you will respond to. While this question has been part of SAM since 2012, FEMA has had its own database which they discontinued in May 2017.

“FEMA is no longer hosting the Debris Removal Contractor Registry in an effort to streamline the Federal government enterprise structure. To replace this capability, you may use the contractor registry at hosted by the United States General Services Administration at the link provided below. provides a similar service to that provided by the Debris Removal Contractor Registry: contractors may register their business information on the site, including capabilities and locations served, and those seeking assistance from companies providing debris removal services may search for such companies on”

2. FEMA still uses federal business opportunities or to find contractors but the turnaround time for these types of solicitations could be 24 hours and most are full and open competition, not small business set asides.

3. For contractors that can move fast in times of crisis, you should consider adding your company’s capabilities to the FEMA vendor site for future disaster events.

While many businesses may want to assist in recent disaster areas, most of the projects will be using county affected contractors first and most jobs will be sub-contracting opportunities. Also, after each disaster there will be many commercial opportunities as some home owners and businesses will have insurance money to use for rebuilding.

Please contact APAC with any questions you may have on updating your SAM profile in regard to the Disaster Relief addition.

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