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Reservists (On-Call)

FEMA consistently seeks talented and hard-working people who are eager to assist disaster survivors and first responders on an on-call basis as Reservist employees. They are the main FEMA workforce during an emergency or disaster.  

Reservists travel, receive training, build professional networks and support those in need. When you become a reservist, you should know:

  • The work is available intermittently
  • Applicants must commit to working on an on-call basis
  • Be available to travel within 24-48 hours
  • Be deployed for 30 or more days
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Our cadres are teams organized by skill and experience. Learn about the 23 cadres that represent the work we do at FEMA.

Employment and Reemployment Protections for Reservists

FEMA Reservists will now have the same protections that military reservists, national guard members, national disaster medical service, and urban search and rescue system members enjoy, including employment and reemployment rights for their non-FEMA day job. Since reservist positions are considered on-call / intermittent work, some reservists take a second job for periods when they are not deployed.

On September 29, 2022 President Biden signed the Civilian Reservist Emergency Workforce (CREW) Act into law. This act amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act as well as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) to protect full-time employment of FEMA Reservists when they are deployed to disasters and emergencies on behalf of FEMA.  It also protects them against penalization, discrimination, or loss of employee benefits as a result of their deployment to disasters, emergencies and critical trainings.   

FEMA is in the process of implementing this important legislation. Frequently Asked Questions are available from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the DOL’s Veterans Employment & Training Services (VETS).

Have a Question?
View our one pager on The CREW Act & USERRA. Any further question view our Frequently Asked Questions about the employment and reemployment protections for reservists.

How to Apply

Reservists are also hired to a position within a Cadre based on their skills and experience. Cadres are groups of personnel organized by operational function. If interested, please review the cadre options and see where your skills and interests align.

Applying for a Reservist Position is easy. You can apply to be a Reservist by emailing your resume to and include the reservist "cadre" of interest in the subject line.

Reservists are hired under the Robert T. Stafford Act and are excluded from the provisions of Title 5, United States Code, governing jobs in the competitive service. Appointments are for two years and can be renewed. Reservists can be hired under a streamlined process instead of a competitive process.

Hiring Under the Disaster Reform and Recovery Act (DRRA)  

Before the Disaster Reform and Recovery Act, Stafford Act employees could only apply for Permanent Full-Time (PFT) positions open to the general public. Now, Stafford Act employees can compete for PFT positions at FEMA under Merit Promotion after 3 or more years of continuous work.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Current or former Stafford Act employees
  • You work continuously for at least three or more years since August 1, 2014, with no break in service for more than three days.

To Apply for DRRA Eligible Positions

  • Apply now through - The job announcement for DRRA eligible positions will indicate "Merit Promotion" and "DRRA Eligibility"
  • Steps to Apply - Find out what FEMA looks for in employees and how to apply for a job, including information for applicants with disabilities
  • Tips & Guidelines to Federal Employment - Get general information about applying for jobs in and working for the Federal Government

Search for Positions at FEMA