Ethics Reminders for Emergency or Disaster Situations

Last edited 09/02/2022
Photo of Road Sign Under Flood Water

Emergency situations such as wildfires, natural disasters, illnesses, and personal emergencies can occur when least expected and greatly disrupt one’s life. Please know that, even in an emergency situation, the ethics rules continue to apply to all Department of the Interior (DOI) employees including, but not limited to, the rules on gifts, conflicts of interest, impartiality, and misuse of positionThese rules can be confusing. The Departmental Ethics Office is here to assist employees as they work through ethics issues during emergency situations.

To support employees facing emergency situations, the Departmental Ethics Office developed specific guidance in the form of FAQs to help explain the ethics rules in emergency situations, particularly regarding offered gifts from non-Federal sources or other Federal employees. These FAQs are on the DOI Ethics Website at

During an emergency situation, if you are concerned that your proposed course of action may violate the ethics laws, standards of ethical conduct, or DOI supplemental ethics regulations, we recommend that you refrain from taking action or accepting a gift until you first obtain guidance from an ethics official.

If you have any questions concerning this or any other ethics topics, please reach out to an ethics official. Contact information for the Departmental Ethics Office and bureau ethics officials is available at

Was this page helpful?

Please provide a comment