Emergency Operations



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has typically been assigned by FEMA to provide commodities such as bottled water in the aftermath of disasters to the state and local governments for distribution to the victims. The distribution of these items to the public is a local responsibility in coordination with the state, and is a labor intensive operation.


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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides Planning and Response Teams to support FEMA in the aftermath of disasters for several distinct mission areas.  These teams include members trained to perform specific tasks such as the provision of bottled water to the victims of disasters.  The state requests assistance and the teams provide the expertise to procure, transport, and account for the water so the victims of the disaster who are without electrical power or water can still survive after an event.

The teams buy and deliver the product in tractor-trailer trucks that is delivered and turned over the state representatives, who are in turn responsible for operating Points of Distribution of the Water and other items to the general population.  One tractor-trailer load holds 18,000 liters of water, which will serve approximately 5,000 people.

In order to accomplish this procurement and transportation of the Water, the Corps depends on a pre-awarded contract.  The minimum order is for 40,000 liters delivered to a location anywhere in the United States, or about 2.5 truckloads.  The maximum single order is for 1,330 truckloads or 24,000,000 liters, delivered to a destination within the United States.  The contract also allows for orders to be placed for delivery of Water to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

The limiting factor in the Water mission is twofold, the availability of trailers and truck-drivers, and the speed that the Water manufacturers can ramp up to produce their excess capacity.  The Water manufacturing capability of plants is limited, and requires the contractor that the Corps uses to work with several manufacturers of the product to source the requirements.  Many times when orders are very large, the contractor will have to buy water from vendors located several states away in order to meet the huge demand needed in a short timeframe, in the wake of an event.  They are also responsible for providing the transportation and the trailers to deliver the bottled water.

USACE supports local, state, and Federal responders under the National Response Framework by providing emergency supplies of water and dry storage trailers for disaster response and recovery. USACE has the capability to provide turn-key management of emergency water missions to include planning, procurement, transportation, distribution, testing, and disposal.  Assets utilized include two National Water Planning & Response Teams with responsibility to procure and transport the commodity and seven Commodities Planning & Response Teams, trained in planning support, receipt and distribution to State and local entities as well as USACE-ACI contractors.  Support is available for pre-disaster planning and exercises, pre-deployment for imminent disasters, and post-disaster planning and execution.  Technical assistance may be in the form of the following:

•Advance planning and preparedness, participation in exercises
•Assessing emergency water requirements
•Determining requirements and optimum locations for staging and distribution sites
•Coordination of transportation resources
•Point of Distribution training