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Prepare Before a Disaster

Know The Rules

Create Prequalified Lists

Enter Into Prepositioned Contracts

When a disaster strikes, communities must often act quickly to protect life, public health, safety, or property. Taking proactive contracting actions in preparation of a disaster may enable you to respond quickly in emergency situations, make decisions in a low-pressure environment, and maximize your FEMA grant funding.

Know the Rules

The first step to compliance is for applicants to know the rules and how they apply. Non-state entities must follow all applicable local, state and tribal law, as well as the federal rules when procuring goods or services to be reimbursed by FEMA.

All applicants must have written procurement procedures. If your entity does not have written procedures in place, you should start writing them now and ensure these procedures are in compliance with all applicable rules.

For additional information on the applicable State or federal contracting requirements, reach out to your state’s emergency management representative.

Compliance with the Rules:
In the event of a conflict between the local, state or federal contracting requirements, non-state entities must follow the rule that allows for compliance at all levels.

Create Pre-Qualified Lists

A pre-qualified list is a list of vendors vetted in advance that may be used to satisfy procurement needs before, during, and after a disaster. These vendors will have:

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Reasonable prices

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Quality goods and services

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Necessary qualifications and technical and financial abilities

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A record of integrity and good standing

When creating prequalified lists, Applicants generally first conduct market research on the types of goods and services you may need in the event of a disaster, potential vendors, and how much they charge.

When creating a pre-qualified list, non-state entities should:

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Include enough vendors to ensure full and open competition

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Include small, women-owned, minority owned, and labor surplus area firms

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Record cost estimates for the goods or services

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Update the list periodically to reflect the current market

For help identifying these small businesses, use our quick help guide to accessing the available SBA tools.

Enter Into Prepositioned Contracts

FEMA encourages applicants to award prepositioned contracts, or advance contracts, before an incident occurs. The use of prepositioned contracts allows applicants to conduct a deliberate procurement process outside of the pressure and immediate demands of a disaster. It also helps to ensure that applicants have contractors ready to perform work quickly after an incident occurs when needed most. When using a prepositioned contract, non-state entities must be sure:

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The contract was procured in compliance with the federal procurement regulations

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The scope of work includes anticipated disaster work

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Contract costs are reasonable in the current market environment

Remember, even contracts procured before a disaster must comply with the federal procurement regulations. Special exceptions exist during emergency or exigent circumstances.

For information on the various types of intergovernmental agreements such as joint procurements and cooperative purchasing, please explore the procurement field manual.