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Statutes and Regulations


Policies are issued by FEMA Headquarters. They clarify or provide direction for specific situations within the parameters established by the Stafford Act and various regulations that pertain to the FMAGP. FEMA issues policies so that the regulations and procedures are interpreted consistently across the nation and from fire to fire.

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Disposition of Equipment, Supplies and Salvaged Materials

All types of Equipment, including vehicles, may be eligible for repair or replacement when damaged as a result of the declared event. When damaged equipment cannot be repaired, FEMA will approve the replacement of the item with a similar item of approximately the same age, capacity and condition. Blue book prices may be used as an initial guide for vehicles damaged beyond repair. Replacement of equipment with new equipment may be approved if a used item is not available within a reasonable time and cost. When applicable, salvage value of the damaged items and insurance should be deducted from the estimated replacement costs (see Categories of Work).

Maintenance activities necessary due to the use of equipment to perform emergency or permanent work are not eligible. The cost of maintenance is part of the equipment rate (see Equipment Rates). However, extraordinary maintenance such as brake replacement for equipment when salt water operation was required, is eligible for reimbursement.

Additionally, when an Applicant does not have sufficient equipment or supplies to respond effectively to the disaster, FEMA may assist in purchasing the needed equipment and supplies. However, the Applicant may be required to compensate FEMA for the fair market value of the cost of the equipment and supplies when the items are no longer needed. The current fair market value is the value of the equipment and supplies determined by selling them in a competitive market. Alternatively, equipment leasing may be a reasonable alternative to purchasing new equipment. Leasing costs must be reasonable and total leasing costs cannot exceed the purchase price.


The incurred cost of force account (that is, applicant-owned) equipment used to perform eligible work is eligible. Costs for use of automobiles and pick-up trucks may be reimbursed on the basis of mileage. For all other types of equipment, costs are reimbursed using an hourly rate. Equipment rates typically include operation, insurance, depreciation, and maintenance; however, they do not include the labor of the operator. Stand-by time for equipment is not eligible. However, if an applicant uses equipment intermittently for the majority of day, use for the entire day may be claimed if adequate documentation is submitted. Equipment that is used for less than half a day is reimbursable only for the hours used.

FEMA recognizes three types of equipment rates. Each is described as follows.

FEMA Rates. FEMA has published a schedule of equipment rates that is applicable on a national basis. If a piece of equipment used by an applicant is not on the FEMA schedule, documentation to justify the requested rate must be submitted to FEMA. If the rate is less than $75 per hour, the Regional Director may approve the rate. If it is $75 per hour or greater, it must be submitted to FEMA’s Recovery Division Director (EAD) of Recovery for approval. If an entity has established rates for use in its normal day-to-day operations, the criteria listed below under State and local rates apply. If an entity does not have established rates, FEMA rates will be used.

State Rates. An applicant may claim rates that have been approved under State guidelines up to $75 per hour. Rates over $75 per hour may be approved by FEMA on a case-by-case basis. Rates used by a State agency for its own equipment are, by definition, rates established under State guidelines. Care must be taken to examine the rate schedule before applying it to State or locally owned equipment. Some State highway departments have a schedule of rates for “force account” work, the meaning of which is generally different from its meaning for FEMA’s programs. State highway usage of the term may mean a rate for contractor’s equipment doing extra work on a project. FEMA’s program usage means a rate for applicant-owned equipment. Therefore, FEMA may request verification that any such rate schedule is actually for applicant-owned equipment.

Local Rates. Rates developed by a local government can be used. Where local rates have been developed, reimbursement is based on the local rates or FEMA’s rates, whichever is lower. If the local rate is lower and the applicant certifies that the rates do not reflect all actual costs, the higher FEMA rates may be used. The applicant may be requested to provide documentation of the basis for its rates.

Click on this link to access the FEMA Policy on Disposition of Equipment, Supplies and Salvaged Materials (9525.12)

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Donated Resources

Donated Resources, which include volunteer labor, donated equipment, and donated materials are eligible to offset the State and local portion of the cost share for emergency work (Category B). The amount of credit that can be applied to a project is capped at the non-Federal share so that the Federal share will not exceed the Applicant’s actual out-of pocket costs. Any excess credit can be applied to other emergency work projects of the same Applicant.

Donated resources must apply to actual eligible emergency work, such as fire suppression activities by local volunteer fire departments. The donated services must be documented and must include a record of hours worked, the work site, and a description of work.

Volunteer labor will be valued at the same hourly labor rate as someone in the Applicant’s organization performing similar work. If the Applicant does not have employees performing similar work, then the rate should be consistent with those ordinarily performing the work in the same labor market.

The value for donated equipment should be determined by using the applicable FEMA equipment rate and multiplying it by the number of hours the piece of equipment was used to perform eligible emergency work.

Donated materials are valued at the current commercial rate. Materials donated by a Federal agency cannot be applied for volunteer credit.

Click on this link to access the FEMA Policy on Donated Resources (9525.2)

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Mutual Aid

A Mutual Aid Agreementis an agreement between jurisdictions or agencies to provide services across boundaries in the event of an emergency. The conditions of the agreement can be to provide reciprocal services or direct payment for services. FEMA will reimburse mutual aid costs provided that:

  • The agreement is written and was in effect prior to the disaster
  • The assistance is requested by the Applicant
  • The work performed is directly related to the declared wildfire and is otherwise eligible for FEMA assistance
  • The entity that received the aid was charged for that aid. For example, Green County removes debris in Blue County. As part of their mutual aid agreement, Green County charges Blue County for the work. FEMA may provide funding to Blue County
  • The agreement is not contingent upon declaration of a major disaster or emergency
  • The entity can provide documentation of rates and payment for services, if requested

The employees of the entity providing supplemental assistance are considered as extra hires or contract labor; therefore, both regular and overtime labor are eligible.

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