Local Contractors Benefit in Disaster Declarations

Disaster declarations have been made for the following states: Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, and Washington, DC, making federal funding available to supplement state and local response efforts.  Once a disaster has been declared, under FAR ruling, preference shall be given to local firms.

An excerpt from the FAR ruling:

When awarding emergency response contracts during the term of a major disaster or emergency declaration by the President of the United States under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121, et seq.), preference shall be given, to the extent feasible and practicable, to local firms. Preference may be given through a local area set-aside or an evaluation preference. 26.202-1 Local area set-aside.

The contracting officer may set aside solicitations to allow only local firms within a specific geographic area to compete (see 6.207).
(a) The contracting officer, in consultation with the requirements office, shall define the specific geographic area for the local set-aside.
(b) A major disaster or emergency area may span counties in several contiguous States. The set-aside area need not include all the counties in the declared disaster/emergency area(s), but cannot go outside it.
(c) The contracting officer shall also determine whether a local area set-aside should be further restricted to small business concerns in the set-aside area (see Part 19).

Where can you find opportunities?
FEMA contracts over $25,000 are posted on FedBizOpps (FBO) granted, if you are seeing the opportunity for the first time - you are probably too late to win. Posting in some cases is a formality, the contracting officer has a vendor waiting in the wings already. So what can you do? Review the opportunities, they include buyer contact data- this is invaluable information. Contact the buyer let the CO know 1) you are local 2) you are available 3) if you are a GSA schedule holder- play that card right away. Award data for Sandy contracts is available at the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) website, here you will find information on the winning vendor, very often disaster recovery contracts mandate the prime contractor sub-contract with local small businesses. Contact the prime and let them know you are ready and available to perform subcontracting opportunities.

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