Opportunities in Disaster and Emergency Response

Do you provide products or services that federal agencies need when there is an emergency? Do you provide temporary labor services or trucking, construction, water, food, mobile home rental, environmental remediation, tents or office rental?

Government agencies need to be able to quickly put together response teams and the necessary equipment, supplies and support to serve citizens in difficult times, with little or no advance warning. Long-range planning and advance training are essential parts of agency preparation.

Many agencies have IDIQ term contracts in place for on-call assistance. These contracts are developed and awarded before events even occur. Trying to win a contract after the hurricane hits or the gas leak explodes is probably too late. Where can you find opportunities to participate?

FEMA registry

The Homeland Security Department’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is often the first agency to come to mind when disaster strikes. FEMA’s Industry Liaison Program is responsible for maintaining a repository of information about companies willing and able to mount quick responses.

It’s easy to fill out and submit the FEMA program’s one-page Vendor Profile (https://goo.gl/lQR8eV). FEMA maintains this in response to a requirement to create a “registry of disaster response contractors.” The profile is very straightforward. There is no need to hire a consultant or third party to handle this task. You should already be registered in SAM (www.sam.gov) and you should enter the comparable data into the Vendor Profile form.

The registry is used to pinpoint your primary and alternate points of contact for emergency work and to document your past experience with FEMA. It also is used to publicize industry days, set up vendor presentation meetings, and determine if you have an existing GSA schedule contract or other contract vehicle that can be used for rapid ordering. To give you an idea of what FEMA is seeking, the form specifically asks you to identify whether you can respond to needs for:

  • Water and food
  • Medical supplies
  • Generators
  • Blankets and cots
  • Tarps
  • Infant/toddler products

However, a wide variety of other products and services are needed so you are asked to enter up to five NAICS codes identifying your business. Once the Profile is completed and submitted, contact FEMA to arrange time for a capabilities presentation. Then watch for RFIs and RFPs on FedBizOpps.gov.

FEMA opportunities

For example, there is a single-award full-and-open opportunity on the street right now for Mass Care Emergency Support. It covers a wide range of on-call staffing and training needs. If you are unable to cover all the requirements, check the Interested Parties List to see who might be bidding. Also, list your company there. Reach out for teaming and subcontracting contacts that can help you get a place on the winning team.

Another upcoming opportunity, which has a partial small business set-aside, is for assistance in transporting, installing, maintaining and decommissioning manufactured housing units. FEMA maintains an inventory of housing units, but they need to be moved to the location, and site work and other preparations are needed to make them habitable. This opportunity is in the pre-solicitation stage.

SBA disaster assistance

The Small Business Administration has teams in its disaster assistance and loans operations, which are dispatched to incident locations as needed. Any time a disaster declaration is requested by a governor and declared by SBA, people and services swing into action to provide assistance. SBA sets up Disaster Loan Outreach offices locally, either in local government facilities or temporary quarters. Assigned personnel often require housing, food services, electricity, computer equipment, furniture and related supplies and services.

Army Corps of Engineers

Whenever natural disasters occur near shorelines and waterways, the Corps of Engineers is responsible for managing clean-up, environmental remediation and temporary and permanent construction efforts (http://goo.gl/1Wp6Gp). After Hurricane Sandy, for instance, the Corps solicited major contracts for rubble removal, shoring up of seawalls and beaches. But rapid-response multiple-award task order contracts (MATOCs) also are developed in advance of events in areas prone to regular disasters.

Other Agencies

Numerous other federal agencies must be prepared and ready to respond to areas impacted by catastrophes. The Labor Department provides support to people seeking unemployment benefits and retraining. The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, ID is the national logistical support center for wildfire response. In addition, the EPA, National Transportation Safety Board, Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, FBI and Coast Guard are set up to respond within two hours of being notified of an incident.

Meeting this standard means a lot of training, planning, preparation, and prepositioning are done in advance. Finally, all agencies have continuity-of-operations plans and procedures for their own offices, and many of these have been developed by small businesses under set-aside contracts.

from the Set-Aside Alert