Feds to allow states to use supply schedule for disaster recovery

The General Services Administration is taking steps that would enable state and local governments to order products and services from federal contracts in the event of major disasters or terrorist acts.

An interim rule change to 40 U.S.C. 502 published in the Federal Register on Feb. 1 is an initial step toward making this possible, GSA said. The new support should be available to state and locals this spring.

"Opening our Federal Supply Schedule means unprecedented delivery speed and best value for state and local agencies directly helping Americans who need it most," GSA Administrator Lurita Doan said in a statement announcing the initiative.

For state and locals to use federal disaster relief and recovery contracts previously available only to federal agencies, purchases must be for recovery from a major disaster as declared by the president or an act of terrorism.

However, GSA's rule allows state and local governments to purchase these goods and services in advance of such a disaster to allow for rapid response and recovery.

GSA worked closely with the Homeland Security Department and other federal agencies to implement this new program. While all goods and services on the GSA Federal Supply Schedule could be used for disaster recovery, GSA contracts for disaster relief, homeland security and firefighting equipment for wildfires should be among the first available to state and locals, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said in the same announcement.

Beyond the initial offerings, GSA's entire Federal Supply Schedule of more than 10 million products and services eventually will be opened up for state and local disaster relief, GSA said.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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