Survey Manual

205.15 - Disaster Assistance


OPR: Asst. Director/Engineering Geology

1. Source of Authority. When the President has determined that a major disaster exists under the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-288), Executive Order 11795, and subsequent Executive Orders 12127 and 12148 of 1979, the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may assign to any agency of the executive branch of the Government, subject to the consent of the agency, with or without reimbursement, the task of employing its resources in support of State and local government disaster assistance efforts.

2. Scope and Delegation. The law authorizes FEMA to coordinate the activities of Federal Agencies in providing disaster assistance, and to direct any Federal Agency to use its available personnel, supplies, facilities, and other resources in providing assistance when it is determined that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and local governments. In 205 DM 1.1, the Director of the USGS is

authorized to comply with verbal requests, later confirmed in writing, or written requests for assistance by the Director of FEMA, or the Federal Coordinating Officer to furnish assistance pursuant to P.L. 93-288, section 302.

3. Redelegation and Instructions. The Chief Geologist and Chief Hydrologist and the heads of field offices as designated by the Director are redelegated the authority in paragraph 2. of this chapter. The Departmental Regional Emergency Preparedness Officers shall be informed of any instances when disaster assistance is provided. (See Figure 1) Instructions on furnishing such assistance are described in 905 DM 1.

4. Other Authority and Coordination. The authority delegated in this chapter does not affect the authority vested in the Director to provide assistance in disaster situations pursuant to specific statutory authority. However, if a situation approaches disaster conditions which are the concern of FEMA, any assistance should be coordinated with FEMA.