The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been of service to this Nation for over 200 years. The Corps has responded during times of need with engineering, construction as well as water resources expertise. Because of the first hand knowledge of the local conditions throughout the United States, the Corps is able to play a major role in saving lives and easing human suffering when disasters occur.
This information has been produced in an effort to enhance public awareness of the Corps emergency preparedness mission. It provides a general outline of the programs, services, and contacts that are available in support of emergency operations procedures. Complete information on Corps programs and preparedness services may be obtained by contacting any of the district offices.
Vigilant in the face of emergency situations, the Corps stands ready to serve your community and the Nation when disasters strike. We invite you to participate with the Corps in developing an even stronger preparedness partnership that will strengthen our nation in times of need.
Emergency preparedness and response is primarily a state and local responsibility. However, in instances when the nature of the disaster exceeds the capabilities of state and local interests, the Corps of Engineers may provide help to save human life, prevent immediate human suffering or mitigate property damage.
The Corps gives emergency assistance top priority and provides immediate response using every resource and expedited procedure available. Assistance is limited to the preservation of life and protection of residential and commercial developments, to include public and private facilities that provide public services. Exclusive assistance to individual homeowners and businesses, including agricultural businesses, is not authorized. However, during periods of extreme drought, such assistance may be provided to farmers and ranchers under certain circumstances. Rehabilitation assistance may also be available for eligible flood control structures with public sponsors.
The geographically diverse location of Corps of Engineers offices nationwide assures an immediate response to disasters in any area. The Corps is divided by drainage basins into regional divisions. The divisions are subdivided by smaller drainage basins into districts. Personnel are also assigned to various field offices scattered throughout each district. During disasters, personnel in any locale may be quickly mobilized to assist in response and recovery work.
Emergency Operations Managers have been appointed to each division and district to carry out all emergency actions. Each is responsible for maintaining an emergency organization of trained specialists. Most important, however, each district has a single point of contact for all emergency activities.
You are encouraged to contact the Corps of Engineers office closest to your location for specific information concerning Corps programs and to accomplish joint planning, training, and information exchange opportunities.
Federal Response Plan
In addition to our emergency authorities, the Corps also has a primary role in support of the Federal Response Plan. The Plan describes the basic structures by which the Federal government will mobilize resources and conduct activities to assist states in coping with the consequences of significant disasters.
Within this Plan, the Department of Defense (DoD) has designated the United States Army Corps of Engineers as the primary agency for planning, preparedness, and response under the Emergency Support Function (ESF #3), Public Works, and Engineering.
Each Corps office develops plans based on hazards unique to their area, coordinates with appropriate agencies and identifies response teams to support the assigned missions in the Federal Response Plan. Training and exercises are conducted frequently to ensure the readiness of emergency team members when the Federal Response Plan is activated. (When the Federal Response Plan is implemented, the Corps will continue to provide the emergency assistance programs described in the pamphlet.)
Type of Assistance Provided by ESF #3, Public Works, and Engineering
- Technical advice and evaluations
- Engineering services
- Construction management and inspection
- Emergency contracting
- Emergency repair of wastewater and solid waste facilities
- Real estate support
Some of the activities within the scope of ESF #3 include emergency clearance of debris, restoration of critical public services and facilities, including supply of adequate amounts of potable water, temporary restoration of water supply systems, technical assistance, structural evaluation of buildings, and damage assessment.
How to Obtain Additional Information
For additional information on ESF #3 and the Corps roles in Federal response, contact a Corps of Engineers office directly.