Emergency Management

Emergency OperationsIn the event of a major disaster or emergency situation the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides disaster relief to help preserve human life and prevent suffering as well as to minimize property damage and loss.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must be fully prepared to respond to a major disaster or emergency situation by quickly establishing communications, assessing damaged or potential problem areas, provide response teams and prepare emergency contracts in accordance with USACE or FEMA policies.

Every year, the Corps of Engineers sends hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people to respond to disasters around the world. When disasters occur, it is not just a local Corps District or office that responds. Personnel and other resources are mobilized from across the country to carry out our response and recovery missions.

What Can We Do?

 What We Can Do To Help
When an impending disaster is greater than the capability of levee and drainage districts and local or state governments, the Corps of Engineers has the authority under Public Law 84-99 to provide emergency flood protection of limited degree without specific authorization of Congress. The Corps of Engineers can furnish assistance for flood emergency preparation, flood fighting and the repair and restoration of flood control works threatened or destroyed by a flood. In addition, the Corps can provide emergency supplies of clean drinking water and drought assistance.
 Emergency Assistance Available
The Corps of Engineers is authorized to provide emergency assistance under four categories:
  • Emergency operations, flood fight assistance
  • Rehabilitation of existing flood control projects
  • Emergency water supplies and drought assistance
  • Advance measures to protect against predicted flooding are designed to complement the maximum non-Federal capability
NOTE: Exclusive assistance to individual homeowners and businesses, including agricultural businesses, is not authorized. However, during periods of extreme drought, such assistance may be provided to farmers and ranchers under certain circumstances. Rehabilitation assistance may also be available for eligible flood control structures with public sponsors.
 What Are The Eligibility Requirements For Assistance
The Corps’ assistance is intended to be supplemental and not a replacement for community self-help, and requires a written request for assistance from a local sponsor or entity. No assistance can be provided directly to individuals.

The sponsoring agency can be a state, county or city or other entity fully authorized to provide requirements of local cooperation and to pay a local share of the costs. Since most emergency work is to provide protection for an immediate situation, Corps of Engineers authority does not extend to the reimbursement of flood fighting expenditures incurred by state or local authorities, or flood and debris cleanup, or the removal of temporary flood control structures.

On written request, the Corps of Engineers may assume a leadership role and direct flood fighting efforts. However participation by the Corps of Engineers in emergency operations may extend to operational control of emergency forces if requested by state and local authorities. This action will be subordinate to the state and local responsibilities and authorities and exercised only when the situation exceeds the non-Federal capability to control.

Another requirement is that local interests must execute a standard Emergency Assistance Agreement (see example below):

(a) Furnishing of land easements, and rights of way. This item provides for sites of structures, for borrow and disposal areas, and for access; also, for all other rights in, upon, through or over private property as needed by the United States in connection with the authorized work. Performance by the local interests under their assurance to furnish lands, easements and rights-of-way will normally not be considered a contribution. If more advantageous to the Federal Government, borrow and disposal areas may be assumed as a Federal responsibility. Easements must be provided for future Federal inspection of maintenance or removal. If a public agency sponsors a project for a non-public applicant, the applicant must provide an easement to the sponsor for future maintenance or removal, as well as for Federal inspection. Easement should extend to the life of the project.

(b) Hold and save clause. Where the property concerned is under tenancy, both the property owner and the tenant should sign the local cooperation agreement.

(c) Maintain and operate clause. This clause must include: "It is understood that the foregoing maintenance and operation requirement extends to interrelated features of all protective work under the control of (insert name of owner or sponsor)."
 Loan Or Issue Of Supplies And Equipment
The Corps of Engineers role is to provide “Supplemental” support to state and local interests during flood fight operations. The state and local interests have the primary responsibility for expending sufficient resources to insure effective flood fight preparedness. Maximum use of “Local resources” must be made before assistance in the form of supplies and equipment, can be “provided” by the Federal Government.

Typical preparedness activities by local interests should include the stock piling of adequate flood fight supplies such as sandbags, polyethylene sheeting, snow fence and advance rental or procurement of equipment such as pumps, generators, boats and motors. If these stockpiles are exhausted, in an emergency situation, the Corps of Engineers may supplement these supplies.

Also, included are the preparation of flood response plans and proper maintenance of any existing flood protection facilities. Flood fighting supplies, in sufficient quantity should be stockpiled to meet the total needs of flash floods and lesser floods of longer duration, as well as the initial requirements of a major flood occurrence.

Expendable supplies such as sandbags will be replaced in kind or paid for by local interests to the extent considered feasible and practicable by the Division or District Engineer.

Sandbag Information

 Sandbags: A Steadfast Tool for Flood Fighting

Sandbagging is one of the most versatile of flood fighting tools and is a simple, effective way to prevent or reduce floodwater damage. Although sandbags do not guarantee a watertight seal, they are a proven deterrent to costly water damage.

Sandbags have been used to:

  • Prevent overtopping of levees
  • Direct a river's current flow to specific areas
  • Construct ring dikes around boils on levee back slopes, levee toes or behind levees
  • Use as weight on back slopes of saturated levees
  • Weigh down visquine or straw bales
  • Buttress on back slopes and the toe of saturated levees
 How To Acquire Sandbags
If you are a public entity or a levee district, please contact us for sandbags.
If you are a private individual, go to your local authorities ( i.e. levee district commissioners, ciy, count, etc.) for information.
 Sandbag Manufacturers

Great Western Bag Company
Ed Katz
1416 North Broadway
St. Louis, MO 63102
Phone: (314) 421-0498 (day)
(314) 993-5287 (evening)

United Bags Incorporated
2508 North Broadway, P. O. Box 297
St. Louis, MO 63166
Phone: (314) 421-3700 (day)
(314) 862-1962 (Emergency ONLY)

Unisac Incorporated
6 Beckewith Ct
O'Fallon, MO 63366

Mitco Enterprises
Sharon Shugrue
145 Grand Avenue
Kirkwood, MO 63122
Phone: (314) 965-6300

Denise Haden
1619 Homer Adams Parkway
Alton, IL 62002
(618) 474-9900 x8
(618)474-9917 (fax)

Max Katz Bag Company
Stan Green
P.O. Box 1666
Indianapolis, IN 46206
Phone: (800) 225-3729 

The Sandbagger Corp.
Tim or Ivy
P.O. Box 626
Wauconda, IL 60084
Phone: (800) 770-SAND (7263)

Ensor Equipment, Inc.
Mark E. Ensor, P.E.
1770 Santa Barbara Dr.
San Jose, CA 95125
Phone: 408-448-5819
Fax: 408-448-3346
Cell: 408-314-1186 
Mobile Sandbag Filling Service

Big Bag USA

The SandMaster
Barrier Systems LLC
P.O. Box 854 Kula Hwy.
Kula, HI 96790
Phone: 808-878-3700


National Flood Barrier Testing & Certification Program



 How To Fill A Sandbag

Emergency Response



U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Louis District
Emergency Management

1222 Spruce St.
St. Louis, MO 63103

Phone Numbers:
Emergency Operations Center 
(during an event or emergency)

Chief, Readiness Branch
(314) 331-8569

Natural Disaster Program Manager
(314) 331-8570

ICW Program Manager
(314) 331-8568