Emergency Operations


Disaster Response Missions and Information

ESF#3.  Under the National Response Framework, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is assigned as the primary agency for Emergency Support Function #3 – Public Works and Engineering. The Corps assists the Department of Homeland Security/FEMA by coordinating federal public works and engineering-related support, as well as providing technical assistance, engineering expertise, and construction management to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and/or recover from domestic incidents.

ESF#9.  Under the National Response Framework, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is assigned as a supporting agency for Emergency Support Function #9 – Search and Rescue.  FEMA is assigned as the primary agency for ESF#9.  The Department of Defense, and specifically USACE, maintains a cadre of volunteer Structures Specialists (StS) to augment the National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Response System.  Through a Mission Assignment, the StS may be deployed to support the FEMA US&R management Incident Support Team (IST).  The IST makes assignments to the Corps’ StS.  For a non-US&R mission, the Corps’ StS can provide “heavy assessment” under ESF#3 for a purely technical purpose.

Missions Summary

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 Critical Public Facility Restoration
Temporary replacement of critical public facilities, such as classrooms, health clinics, fire and EMS stations, and other public service facilities, as requested by FEMA.
 Debris Management

In cases where the damage and debris are so extensive that it exceeds local and state capabilities, FEMA can assign the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a mission to provide debris management assistance in support of the National Response Framework.

There are no “typical” debris management missions, but generally, there are 3 types of FEMA mission assignments:

1. Direct Federal Assistance—The Corps undertakes the debris management mission, as assigned by FEMA. Direct Federal Assistance missions may consist of one or more of the following tasks:

• Right of Way Debris Removal
• Emergency Clearance
• Private Property Debris Removal
• Demolition
• Debris Removal from Drainage Structures
• Waterway Debris

2. Technical Assistance—The Corps provides assistance to local governments in developing debris removal contracts and assisting with environmental issues, as well as training and coordination of FEMA and local government debris monitors.

3. Federal Operations Support—The Corps provides oversight for FEMA of state and local debris operations.


Debris Documents

 Emergency Infrastructure Assessments

Manage structural safety assessments of commercial and residential structures, as well as the assessments of infrastructure systems, such as water and waste water treatment.

IA Info Paper
IA Mission Guide
Placeard Red
Placard Yellow - Restricted Instructions
Placard Yellow - Restricted Use


 Infrastructure System RSF

Facilitate the integration of the capabilities of the Federal Government to support local, State and Tribal governments and other infrastructure owners and operators in their efforts to achieve recovery goals relating to the public engineering of the Nation’s infrastructure systems.

 Temporary Emergency Power

Following a natural disaster or emergency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can provide state and local officials with a variety of support regarding emergency power needs at critical public facilities in support of FEMA as part of the federal government’s unified national response under the National Response Framework.

The Corps has Emergency Power Planning and Response Teams throughout the country with the capability to deploy and provide support ranging from technical expertise to “turn key” installation of emergency generators at critical public facilities, such as hospitals and shelters.

The Emergency Power PRTs work closely with the 249th Engineer Battalion, who provides technical expertise and performs assessments to determine the generator required at each facility, as well as, the connection materials required at critical public facilities during emergencies.

The Emergency Power PRTs work closely with FEMA, the Department of Energy, local and state entites, and contractors to execute this mission.

Emergency Power Information Paper 

Temporary Emergency Power Video

Emergency Power Facility Assessment Tool (EPFAT) Fact Sheet

Emergency Power Facility Assessment Tool (EPFAT) Tutorial Video

 Temporary Housing

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) provides a wide range of Temporary Housing/Critical Public Facilities (CPF) assistance in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fill the need for Temporary Housing/CPF of the survivors of disasters. One type of assistance is Technical Assistance to FEMA through the review of plans and specifications of Manufactured Housing Unit (MHU) sites, and coordination of environmental compliance. The Corps has extensive experience in cooperation with FEMA to provide plans, specifications, and construction management activities associated with the provision of Emergency Temporary Housing/CPF.

The South Atlantic Division, USACE in Atlanta, Georgia is the lead division for Temporary Housing. For additional information contact:

Chris Klein at (404) 989-8561, Joaquin Cardenas, at (404) 562-5155

Temporary Housing Mission Overview

Temporary Housing Information

 Temporary Roofing

The scope of the temporary roofing mission can be very broad and complex. The mission can range from providing technical assistance to FEMA, and state and local governments, to managing and contracting for the installation of blue plastic sheeting onto roofs of damaged homes or public structures (Operation Blue Roof). FEMA usually tasks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when all other resources have been exhausted.

Operation Blue Roof
Operation Blue Roof is managed by the Corps for FEMA. The purpose of Operation Blue Roof is to provide homeowners in disaster areas with fiber-reinforced plastic sheeting to cover their damaged roofs until arrangements can be made for permanent repairs. Operation Blue Roof protects property, reduces temporary housing costs, and allows residents to remain in their homes while recovering from the storm. This is a free service to homeowners; however, there may be a cost to local and state governments.

Operation Blue Roof is for primary residences or permanently occupied rental properties with less than 50 percent structural damage. Vacation rental properties are not eligible for the program. Once the blue roof is installed, the structure must be habitable. Not all roof types qualify for the program. Roofs that are flat or made of clay, slate or asbestos tile do not qualify. All storm debris must be removed for the roof to qualify.

 Urban Search and Rescue

Structures Specialists (StS) serve a vital function to the FEMA National US&R Response System.  The Incident Support Team’s Engineering Cell makes specific assignments for the Corps’ Structures Specialists.  Assignments may be to augment the Task Forces, the Military, or to other agencies and departments. StS design shoring systems to stabilize structures for rescuers to gain safe access to those who are trapped inside a damaged structure. These “Specialists” evaluate the immediate structural conditions at the incident and recommend the appropriate hazard mitigation.

The Corps Structures Specialists (StS) Cadre is comprised of at least 50 trained USACE engineers with at least 5 years of engineering experience consisting of structural design and basic construction techniques for building systems comprised of wood, masonry, concrete, and steel.  The Corps’ StS meet specific requirements to fill this FEMA US&R Position Description.  The Structures Specialists are trained in Rescue Systems 1 (a basic rescue skills course). They also receive instruction in structural collapse patterns, hazard identification and building monitoring, rapid assessment of buildings, building triage and marking systems, advance shoring and shoring calculations. StS are equipped and uniformed to deploy within a 6-hour window and prepared to minimally survive in austere conditions.  Mission durations are short, usually 6 to 10 days. 

US&R Fact Sheet