FEMA Explained

Understanding the federal procurement rules for purchasing goods and services under a FEMA grant program, specifically the Public Assistance program, is essential for increasing the likelihood of securing and maintaining necessary funding.

It is important to note that different sets of rules apply depending on the entity type, cost of goods or services, contract type, and procurement method.

This page aims to assist you in:

  • Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the rules you must adhere to
  • Familiarizing yourself with the key elements of the procurement process
  • Discovering useful resources to ensure compliance and avoid common mistakes


Rules Based on Entity Type

The procurement rules differ depending on whether you are a state or non-state entity.

  • State Entities

This category includes U.S. states and territories, as well as state agencies and instrumentalities.

  • Non-State Entities

Non-state entities encompass local governments, tribal governments, institutions of higher education, hospitals, houses of worship, and private nonprofit organizations. To proceed, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific rules that apply to your entity type.

FEMA Explained

State Entities

Ensure compliance with applicable federal procurement regulations, and remember to:

  • Adhere to state procurement policies and procedures.
  • Meet requirements for socioeconomic affirmative steps, domestic preferences for procurement, procurement of recovered materials, and restrictions on using FEMA award funds for covered telecommunications equipment or services.
  • Include all contract provisions mandated by federal regulations. Refer to the contract provision template for guidance.

Non-State Entities

Ensure compliance with applicable federal procurement regulations, and keep in mind the following:

  • Confirm that your entity has written procurement procedures that clearly outline the need for the goods or services being procured in all solicitation documents.
  • In situations where local, state, and federal rules differ, prioritize adherence to the rule that allows compliance with all relevant layers of regulation.
  • Understand the emergency and exigency exception before considering sole-sourcing.
  • Take into account that provisions related to competition, procurement methods, socioeconomic contracting, cost and price analyses, bonding requirements, domestic preferences, and restrictions on covered telecommunications equipment or services may apply.
  • Include all contract provisions mandated by federal regulations. Refer to the contract provision template for guidance.

Alert – Warning

During a disaster, communities often need to respond swiftly to protect life, public health and safety, and property. Familiarize yourself with the exception applicable to emergency and exigency situations.


Considerations for Non-State Entities

If you belong to a non-state entity, such as a local government, tribal government, institution of higher education, hospital, or private nonprofit organization, the following considerations will assist you in navigating the procurement process:

1. Prepare Before a Disaster

  • Conduct thorough research and consider establishing pre-qualified lists.
  • Explore the option of entering into pre-positioned contracts.
  • Familiarize yourself with your entity’s procurement policies and procedures.
  • Acquaint yourself with both your state’s and federal procurement policies and procedures.
  • For additional preparation tips, consult relevant resources.

2. Determine Project Needs

  • Clearly define the scope of your project.
  • Conduct market research to identify potential suppliers.
  • Develop an independent cost estimate, if applicable.

3. Initiate Project Solicitation

  • Select the most suitable procurement method for your project.
  • Choose the appropriate contract type for your requirements.
  • Follow the necessary steps for socioeconomic contracting.
  • Ensure the inclusion of all contract provisions mandated by federal regulations.
  • Determine if bonding is a requirement.

4. Award the Contract

  • Evaluate bids or proposals received according to established criteria.
  • Check for conflicts of interest and contractor responsibility by referring to SAM dot gov.
  • Conduct cost or price analysis, if applicable.
  • Ensure the contractor obtains necessary bonds, if required.

5. Maintain Oversight

  • Ensure contractors adhere to the terms outlined in the contract.
  • Verify the accuracy of invoices.
  • Confirm the receipt of goods and services.

Document Throughout Your Procurement Process

It is crucial to maintain detailed documentation throughout the procurement process in the following areas:

  • Selecting the appropriate procurement method and contract type.
  • Following the necessary steps for socioeconomic affirmative action.
  • Conducting independent cost estimates and cost or price analyses.
  • Selecting a responsible contractor.

By adhering to these guidelines and taking the necessary precautions, you can navigate the procurement process effectively and ensure compliance with federal regulations.

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