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When Disaster Strikes

Whenever and wherever disaster strikes, many federal, state and local agencies rely upon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide an extensive range of expertise:

  • Engineering and construction support
  • Debris management
  • Critical infrastructure assessment
  • Temporary repairs
  • Temporary housing or facilities installation.

The Corps stands ready in any disaster to execute a broad portfolio of missions in order to sustain lives, support critical infrastructure needs and set conditions for recovery.

Linked Nationally to Respond Locally

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is prepared and ready to respond as part of the federal government’s unified national response to disasters and emergencies.

In any disaster, USACE’s top priorities are:

  • Save lives and protect property;
  • Support immediate emergency response priorities for USACE, DoD, FEMA and the Federal Government.

During natural disasters and other emergencies, USACE can respond under its own authority, Public Law 84-99; as a component of the Department of Defense; and as the designated lead agency in support of FEMA for Emergency Support Function Number 3, Public Works and Engineering (ESF #3.)

 More information about our nationally-aligned mission -- USACE Headquarters

Planning, Training, Acting, Repeat ...

Employees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District assemble portable flood-water barriers during a product demonstration at a Corps facility here Nov. 3. Three new products are being tested by Corps employees for future use in emergency and disaster operations. “The district has several flood-fighting technologies stored across the nation so we can deploy them when and where we need to,” said district disaster program manager Christy Jones.
Corps employees witness flood fighting technologies first-hand
Employees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District assemble portable flood-water barriers during a product demonstration at a Corps facility here Nov. 3. Three new products are being tested by Corps employees for future use in emergency and disaster operations. “The district has several flood-fighting technologies stored across the nation so we can deploy them when and where we need to,” said district disaster program manager Christy Jones.
Doug Plitt, senior park ranger at Pine Flat Dam, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, monitors progress during the simulated flood event exercise. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District joined local, state and other federal agencies in Orland, Calif., Nov. 20, to practice emergency response coordination for use in a regional flood emergency. The desktop exercise provided an opportunity for face-to-face communication between emergency agency personnel.
Practicing disaster response
Doug Plitt, senior park ranger at Pine Flat Dam, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, monitors progress during the simulated flood event exercise. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District joined local, state and other federal agencies in Orland, Calif., Nov. 20, to practice emergency response coordination for use in a regional flood emergency. The desktop exercise provided an opportunity for face-to-face communication between emergency agency personnel.
Phil Smith, park manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s Hensley Lake, discusses the plan for a potential flood emergency response with state and local partners during a tabletop exercise in Madera, Calif., Oct. 25, 2012. The simulation brought together representatives from the Corps, Madera County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol along with firefighters and other first responders and local agencies from throughout the San Joaquin Valley.
Responding to a scenario
Phil Smith, park manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s Hensley Lake, discusses the plan for a potential flood emergency response with state and local partners during a tabletop exercise in Madera, Calif., Oct. 25, 2012. The simulation brought together representatives from the Corps, Madera County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol along with firefighters and other first responders and local agencies from throughout the San Joaquin Valley.
Jeff Qunell, a volunteer rescue engineer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, describes the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti five years ago on Jan. 12, 2010. Qunell was part of the U.S. contingent that deployed to Haiti to assist with search and recovery efforts following the quake.
Sacramento engineer remembers Haiti quake
Jeff Qunell, a volunteer rescue engineer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, describes the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti five years ago on Jan. 12, 2010. Qunell was part of the U.S. contingent that deployed to Haiti to assist with search and recovery efforts following the quake.
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mobile command center - called a Deployable Tactical Operations System, or DTOS - shown during an emergency response exercise in Sausalito, Calif., Nov. 30, 2011.
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A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mobile command center - called a Deployable Tactical Operations System, or DTOS - shown during an emergency response exercise in Sausalito, Calif., Nov. 30, 2011.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Emergency preparedness and response is primarily a state and local government responsibility. However, in instances where the severity of the event exceeds the response capability of state and local government, the Corps can provide help to save human life, prevent immediate human suffering and property damage.
At the request of state or local government the Sacramento District can, under Corps authority, provide technical advice and assistance, undertake emergency repairs to flood control projects, assist in search and rescue operations and furnish equipment for local flood fighting.
You should first contact your city or county emergency management officials to determine what type of assistance is available at the local level. They will in turn request assistance from the state if necessary. If the state lacks the resources to correct the emergency, the state can request assistance from the Corps.
The Readiness Section of the Sacramento District is available to answer any additional questions you may have. The Readiness Section also maintains an Emergency Operations Center.
 EMAIL the Sacramento Readiness Section
Check the FEMA website https://msc.fema.gov/portal to find information on flood zones in your area.
The National Flood Insurance Program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Information can be obtained by contacting their Region IX office for California, Nevada and Arizona; and the Region VIII office for Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.
If a major disaster is declared by the President, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will activate the National Response Framework. Under this plan the Corps is responsible for response and recovery operations for Emergency Support Function #3, Public Works and Engineering. The Sacramento District would function as project manager under mission assignment from FEMA for debris removal, infrastructure assessment, emergency power, temporary roofing and critical public facility construction.