How We Help
The Department of the Interior is involved in a broad range of activities to provide emergency preparedness, response and recovery on Federal lands and in support of the Nation.
1. FEDERAL LANDS. Interior prepares for and responds to emergencies as part of its land management responsibilities. In some areas, Interior units have primary responsibility for responding to wildland fires, environmental disasters, emergency medical incidents and wildlife health events; protecting lands and resources with its law enforcement capabilities; and employing its unique skills for search and rescue activities. In other areas, responsibility is shared with other units of government. Additional information is provided by the land management bureaus, including National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management.
2. TRIBAL COMMUNITIES. As part of its trust responsibilities, Interior provides support to Tribal communities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies. This work is closely coordinated with individual Tribes which are sovereign entities and is also closely coordinated with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other Federal and State partners.Additional information can be found at Bureau of Indian Affairs.
3. INSULAR AREAS. Interior has administrative responsibility for coordinating federal policy in the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the responsibility to administer and oversee U.S. federal assistance provided to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Interior works closely with these governments and other Federal agencies in addressing preparedness and response requirements. Additional information can be found at Insular Areas.
4. LOCAL COMMUNITIES. DOI units assist neighboring communities through mutual aid agreements and may also provide immediate emergency response assistance at the request of local officials when imminently serious conditions occur.Immediate emergency response assistance is generally of short duration and is intended to protect life, property and the environment until other resources become available.Policy for assisting local communities in such situations is contained in the Departmental Manual.
5. WILDLAND FIRES. The Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs partner with the U.S. Forest Service, National Weather Service, FEMA/U.S. Fire Administration and State Foresters to provide an integrated system for response to wildland fires across the Nation.Additional information is available from the National Interagency Coordination Center, the regional Geographic Area Coordination Centers and the DOI Office of Wildland Fire.
6. OIL SPILLS. Interior plays a major role in responding to environmental emergencies. The Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance serves as the Department's lead for environmental response activities on DOI lands and represents Interior on the National Response Team. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement provides oversight and enforcement of offshore operations on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other bureaus support interagency response to oil and hazardous substance spills serving as a trustee for fish, wildlife and natural resources.
7. FLOOD CONTROL AND RESPONSE. The Bureau of Reclamation owns 362 high and significant hazard dams in 17 western states and coordinates Emergency Action Plans for these facilities with downstream jurisdictions. The bureau also provides a consistent approach to dam safety across all Interior bureaus through its leadership of the Interior Dam Safety Committee. The U.S. Geological Survey is a key player in the national network of streamgages which are essential to the system of flood warnings across the Nation.
8. NATURAL HAZARDS. The U.S. Geological Survey is responsible for monitoring and reporting earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides, and provides scientific information to mitigate the impact of these disasters. USGS also operations the National Wildlife Health Center which focuses on issues related to wildlife health and monitoring of animals for zoonotic diseases which may be transmitted to humans, such as avian flu. Additional information on the science programs which support emergency management are available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
9. INTERGENCY SUPPORT DURING MAJOR DISASTERS. Interior is a key participant in the National Response Framework and the National Disaster Recovery Framework. During Hurricane Katrina, the Department deployed more than 6,100 personnel to the relief effort. The National Park Service leads interagency planning for Inland and Remote Area Search and Rescue and the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance leads activities to protect and restore Natural and Cultural Resources and Historic Properties.Interior personnel also provide significant support to interagency efforts related to Public Works and Engineering, Firefighting, and Public Safety and Security.Policy regarding DOI support to the National Response Framework can be found in the Departmental Manual.
10. HISTORIC PROPERTIES. Interior provides support capabilities that assist in the preservation and protection of our Nation's historic and cultural sites. The Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance is responsible for leading activities that protect natural and cultural resources and historic properties as outlined in the National Response Framework and the National Park Service awards Historic Preservation Grants for preservation projects across the 50 states and U.S. Territories. These grants are not established for response or recovery, but can be utilized for such purposes if grant criteria are met. Reimbursable preservation services for Federal, State, and locally owned historic properties are also available through the Historic Preservation Training Center.