Interested in FEMA Disaster Recovery Work? Apply now.

BVI is now accepting applications for FEMA work. If you wish to apply, please email a resume in Word format to vog.avtnull@fleslsTitle the email “FEMA Work.” Send any questions you may have to the same address.

FEMA photo for WP site

TVA retirees assess storm damages for FEMA, working through BVI.

If you have applied previously, you must re-apply to be considered. BVI will choose a set of individuals based on the resumes. These candidates will be interviewed and may be asked to take a computer literacy test. A class of FEMA trainees will be selected from this group.

Applicants chosen for the class must pass a detailed background check for the security credentials required by FEMA. This process can take approximately six months.

After training and badging, FEMA will accept only a few trainees at a time from BVI. This means that new people may have to wait some time before getting an opportunity to deploy.

Applicants should be willing to spend significant periods of time on the road away from home. Typical deployments are 90 days at a time. Our current average deployment time for the last year was six months.

The deadline for submitting resumes for the upcoming class is August 1, 2018.

Things You Should Know Before You Apply

As many as 20% of the people we have trained ultimately elected not to accept deployment, though everyone is eventually given the opportunity.  While we do not want to discourage you from applying, we want to be frank about the demands so that you’ll know what to expect.  We are really trying to minimize the numbers that train but do not choose to deploy.

Our goal is that all applicants have a good understanding of this work before they apply, and that – once trained – they carry through with deployment to a Federal disaster.  Here are some things you should know:

  • Before you can be deployed, you must go through an extensive Homeland Security-required badging process that includes the gathering of your work and personal history, a thorough background check, and several trips to TVA Security and a GSA badging center.  The process generally takes 3-6 months; and you cannot be deployed until the badging is complete.
  • Your first deployment may take a while – In the past this has taken up to a year. However, due to the large demand from recent major disasters, we hope this will shorten considerably.  FEMA prefers experienced workers and often will not agree to take new people unless that is their only option.  Some of our trainees lose interest or find other work before we can place them.  We hope to minimize that, but are constrained by FEMA’s desires.  We ask that you apply only if you think you can be flexible and wait for deployment.
  • Deployment is often not in a place that is nice.  Often, the area has been ravaged by some disaster, and conditions are not the best.  Sometimes, as in the case of severe hurricanes, many motels in the vicinity of the assignment are damaged or filled with evacuees.  You may be required to stay some distance away from the work site, or may have to temporarily stay somewhere that is not the most desirable.
  • Sometimes you may be working in an area with many FEMA workers, but other times you may have a solitary assignment.  You may be asked to work for a period of time in an area where you have no co-workers and no one to spend time with after-hours.
  • FEMA sometimes requires long work-weeks.  You may be required to work six 10-hour or even 12-hour days for weeks at a time.  Or, you may only be assigned 40 hours a week.  Overtime hours are not guaranteed.  
  • Pay rates range from $38.50 – $50.00 per hour, depending on job classification, with time-and-a-half for all hours over 40 per week.  Assignments are almost always for at least 30 days; but can run substantially longer. For the sake of continuity, customer service and production, FEMA prefers people stay through the completion of their assignment. This is often unpredictable and at FEMA’s control.
  • While FEMA will pay your way home occasionally and give you several days off (with no pay) you may be required to work 6 to 8 weeks before being approved for a trip home.
  • Many people find the work stimulating and rewarding, and one-third of BVI workers have worked numerous disasters over many years to accrue over 10,000 hours in the field.  On the other hand, some people find the work depressing.  It’s a matter of individual preferences.
  • After an indoctrination period, you will likely be expected to explain, monitor, and enforce FEMA rules and regulations, as defined in manuals in which you will be trained.  It will be your responsibility to calculate the amounts eligible for Federal (FEMA) reimbursement.  Some FEMA applicants will likely not be happy with the answers you will be obliged to give them.
  • You must have good computer skills.  All work requires the use of a FEMA computer.  You will be writing reports and assembling data using EXCEL, WORD, and ADOBE programs.  You should be proficient in these programs.
  • You must be proficient with a Smartphone.  FEMA will issue you a phone for use during the disaster, and you will be expected to use it for GPS readings, photographs, mapping, texting, and phone calls.

Now that you know what to expect, please consider this information carefully before applying for FEMA work.  BVI has no problem filling the available slots for a training class; in fact, we have about three times as many people apply for training as we can accommodate.

If you are unsure about applying, it may be best to hold off.  If you are selected for training and then change your mind before training begins, please call us.  It is not unusual for us to fill unexpected vacancies the day before the training begins.  It is much better for all concerned if you withdraw before training rather than after.

Current rules are that you must be a TVA retiree or former employee to perform FEMA work through BVI.