Federally recognized tribal governments have the option to request a presidential emergency or major disaster declaration independent of a state.
Tribal governments may still choose to seek assistance, as they have historically, under a state declaration request.
How to Request a Disaster Declaration
After a Tribal Nation is affected by a disaster, the Tribe can take initial steps to begin the disaster declaration process.
The first five steps are optional for tribes, but may help the tribe prepare its formal declaration request.
Download the Process
1. Activate Emergency Plan
2. Collect Damage Estimates
Tribal government collects initial damage estimates to identify needs.
3. Determine Remaining Need
After all resources are exhausted, Tribal government confirms there is still need.
4. Conduct Damage Assessment with FEMA
Chief Executive requests joint Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA) from the FEMA Regional Administrator or decides to participate in the joint FEMA-state PDA.
Find your FEMA regional contact.
5. Decide if Stafford Act Assistance is Needed
Tribal government reviews results of joint PDA and determines whether Stafford Act assistance may be needed.
6. Submit Request to FEMA
If requesting directly, the Chief Executive submits a request to the President through the FEMA Regional Administrator within 30 days of the end of the incident. The Chief Executive can also request an extension.
7. FEMA Sends to President
FEMA reviews the request and sends a recommendation to the President.
8. President Makes Decision
The President makes a determination. FEMA notifies the Chief Executive.
FEMA Tribal Recovery Video Series
These videos outline:
- Tribal declaration pilot guidance
- Disaster assistance process
- Key decision points for tribal leaders
Watch on YouTube
These resources are intended to help tribal government understand the disaster declaration process, as well as the various disaster assistance programs they may receive.
Documents to Submit
FEMA Form 010-0-13
Request for Presidential Declaration for Major Disaster or Emergency
Sample Cover Letter
Tribal Declarations Cover Letter Template
Review a list of Tribes that have received federal disaster declarations.