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Emergency Management Resources

The USGS is ready to provide scientific information that can improve situational awareness and help emergency responders make safer decisions. That may include the deployment of USGS staff, monitoring equipment, geospatial data, and services in support of national emergencies.

Below are some tools that may help you in an emergency, but please call the USGS Emergency  Hotline to connect with scientists who can provide additional assistance and resources.


USGS Emergency Management Hotline:




Situational awareness tools like real-time alerts, rapid estimates of casualties and economic losses, and aftershock forecasts.

USGS Hydrologic Technician performing wire weight measurement during record flood at USGS gage 7018500
USGS scientist Aaron Walsh performing wire weight measurement in record flood at streamgage 7018500 Big River at Byrnesville, MO.

Flooding and Coastal Storms

The USGS collects and distributes real-time streamflow data for over eleven thousand streamgages and conducts targeted flood science and data collection to help emergency managers before, during, and after a flood or coastal storm. Our efforts provide situational awareness, deliver on-site hydrologic expertise, drive predictive models, inform infrastructure design and operation, undergird floodplain mapping, assist flood constituent/load quantification, and facilitate flood impact assessments.


The USGS conducts landslide hazard assessments, pursues landslide investigations and forecasts, provides technical assistance to respond to landslide emergencies, and collects data on the impacts of landslides. The USGS partners with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service on the debris-flow warning system for wildfire-impacted areas.

Photo of ash-covered snow banks and a sign in front of the Nikiski Fire Department which reads "Redoubt is active - be prepared."
Sign in front of the Nikiski Fire Department on March 28, 2009, warning residents that the Redoubt volcano was active. Up to a millimeter of ash fell twice during the 2009 eruption.


The USGS uses a common nationwide alert/notification system for characterizing the level of unrest and eruptive activity at the sites of the 169 active U.S. volcanoes, including threats to aviation and nearby communities.

Space Weather

The USGS collects geomagnetic information at 14 stations around the U.S. and territories in support of the USAF and NOAA’s predictions.

Zoonotic Diseases


Geospatial Data and Services Supporting Emergency Response

The National Map supports data download, digital and print map versions, geospatial data services, and online viewing. The geographic information available from The National Map includes on-demand topo maps, orthoimagery (aerial photographs), elevation, geographic names, hydrography, boundaries, transportation, structures, land cover, and the U.S. National Grid.

Geospatial Products and Services Contracts (GPSC), administered by the National Geospatial Technology Operations Center (NGTOC), is a suite of contracts used by federal, state, and municipal governments, as well as non-profits, Tribes, and private entities to partner with the USGS to fulfill their geospatial data requirements.

Hazard Data Distribution System (HDDS) is an event-based interface that provides a single point-of-entry for access to remotely sensed imagery and other geospatial datasets as they become available during a response. (Registration required)

Collection Management Tool (CMT) is connected to HDDS and allows users to view the events being supported through USGS Emergency Response.


FEMA-Specific Requests to USGS

FEMA may request technical assistance from USGS using several PSMAs via State request or DFA. Please call the Hotline phone number and activate a PSMA or MA as appropriate.

  • ESF 5-387 Activation to NRCC
  • ESF 5-387 Activation to RRCC, IOF, JFO, FEMA teams, or other facilities
    • USGS can provide technical expertise or a liaison to support decision making and situational awareness
  • ESF 5-395 Documenting Flood Water Heights
    • USGS provides real-time or near-real time information that supplements our standing streamgages in 1) coastal areas in advance of a hurricane, 2) ungaged riverine areas, 3) upland monitoring for post-wildfire risks, and 4) high-water documentation for areal flooding or other situations (like a structure failure).
  • ESF 5-538 Landslides monitoring and identification for multi-hazards
    • Identification of landslide occurrence, scope, and severity in impacted communities. This includes remote or on-site support options.
  • Additional Capabilities (not pre-scripted in WebEOC):
    • Volcano monitoring and risk assessments at eruptions
    • Collection and processing of remote sensing – satellite, unmanned local, and classified
    • Space Weather monitoring and information interpretation
    • Earthquake monitoring, aftershock statistics, and information interpretation
    • Zoonotic disease consultation and disaster-related health issues with contaminants and pathogens