"The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) authorizes the President to issue two types of declarations that could potentially provide federal assistance to states and localities in response to a terrorist attack: a 'major disaster declaration' or an 'emergency declaration.' Major disaster declarations authorize a wide range of federal assistance to states, local governments, tribal nations, individuals and households, and certain nonprofit organizations to recover from a catastrophic event. Major disaster declarations also make Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans available to eligible businesses and households. Emergency declarations authorize a more limited range of federal assistance to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a major disaster. Only private nonprofit organizations are eligible for disaster loans under an emergency declaration. [...] This report provides an overview of emergency and major disaster declarations and explains how they might be used in the aftermath of a terrorist incident that does not involve a fire or an explosion, such as high casualty mass shootings or chemical gas attacks. This report also provides an overview of Stafford Act assistance provided for past terrorist incidents. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, R44801
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/