Learn about the formal disaster declaration process, disaster types, how FEMA gets involved, and other resources.
How a Disaster Gets Declared
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act states in part that:
"All requests for a declaration by the President that a major disaster exists shall be made by the governor of the affected state or territory, or by the tribal leader."
Visit our How a Disaster Gets Declared page for detailed information on the rules and procedures that guide the process.
Learn about the legal authorities that define how FEMA responds to disasters, including:
- Stafford Act
- Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000
- Defense Production Act
- Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act
- Sandy Recovery Improvement Act
- Disaster Recovery Reform Act
Throughout FEMA’s history there have been disasters that caused massive change in legislation and, in some cases, were catastrophic enough to cause FEMA to reshape the way it operates.