ESF #5 - Information and Planning Annex
In PDF format
||Federal Emergency Management Agency
||Department of Agriculture
||Department of Commerce
||Department of Defense
||Department of Education
||Department of Energy
||Department of Health and Human Services
||Department of the Interior
||Department of Justice
||Department of Transportation
||Department of the Treasury
||American Red Cross
||Environmental Protection Agency
||General Services Administration
||National Aeronautics and Space Administration
||National Communications System
||Nuclear Regulatory Commission
||Small Business Administration
||Civil Air Patrol
Emergency Support Function (ESF) #5 — Information and Planning collects, analyzes,
processes, and disseminates information about a potential or actual disaster
or emergency to facilitate the overall activities of the Federal Government
in providing assistance to one or more affected States. Fulfilling this
mission supports planning and decision making at both the field/regional operations
and headquarters levels.
During disaster operations, ESF #5 becomes the Information and Planning Section
of the Regional Operations Center (ROC) or the Emergency Response Team (ERT)
at the Disaster Field Office (DFO), as well as the Emergency Support Team
(EST) at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Headquarters.
The Information and Planning Section operates at all levels of disaster response,
whether at the disaster site itself, the region, or FEMA Headquarters.
- Activates as needed in anticipation of, or immediately following, a disaster
- Performs as a staff-level function in support of Federal leadership at
the field, regional, and headquarters levels;
- Processes information that is common to one or more operational elements
and that contributes to the overall perspective of the emergency;
- Coordinates activities of on-the-ground assessment personnel;
- Serves as site of overall coordination of situation assessment operations;
- Tasks support agencies to provide technical expertise and information
necessary to develop accurate assessment and analysis of a developing or
- Contacts other ERT or EST organizational elements to provide daily information
updates for reporting and analysis requirements of ESF #5. Other ERT
and EST elements are responsible for information processing and information
displays unique to their own operations;
- Collocates with the State Information and Planning Section when feasible
for ERT operations; and
- Executes, at the ERT and EST locations, procedures stipulated in the
current version of the Information and Planning Section Standard Operating
- Disaster Condition
A disaster or other significant event will be of such severity and magnitude
as to require Federal response and recovery assistance to supplement State
and local efforts to save lives and protect property. Information and
Planning (ESF #5) will support initial assessment of developing situations
and will provide timely and appropriate information to support Federal emergency
managers in determining, with the appropriate State(s), whether Federal assistance
will be required.
- Planning Assumptions
- In a disaster situation, there is a need for a central collection point
in the ROC, ERT, and EST, where situation information can be compiled,
analyzed, and prepared for use by decision makers.
- The State is the most immediate source of vital information for the
ROC staff and/or the ERT regarding damage and initial response needs.
Regional data, using State and local government sources and Federal agency
inputs, become the primary information sources for the EST.
- There is an immediate and continuous demand by officials involved in
response and recovery efforts for information about the developing or
ongoing disaster or emergency situation.
- There may be a need to rapidly deploy field observers or assessment
personnel to the disaster area to collect additional critical information
about resource requirements for victims or to conduct an immediate situation
assessment to determine initial Federal response requirements.
- Information and Planning Section staff, deployed as part of the Advance
Element of the ERT (ERT-A), needs to operate without local support for
up to 72 hours. The ESF #5 staff needs to be self-sufficient in
terms of supplies, equipment, and communications connectivity during this
- Initial Information and Planning Section activities at the ROC/EST
may require 24-hour operations.
- Concept of Operations
- In response to a disaster situation or incident, emergency personnel
from the affected State and the Federal Government should jointly assess
the situation initially to determine if there is a need for Federal response
operations. Executing these assessment duties involves Information
and Planning personnel in the form of ERT-A staff.
- In the initial period of an incident, the main avenue for the collection
of disaster information should be from local sources (primarily first
responders and other government elements), which should report information
to the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC). At the State EOC,
reports should be directed to the appropriate operational element(s) needing
the information — both State and Federal response elements, including
the Information and Planning Section. Information should be passed
to Federal elements through the FEMA State Liaison from the appropriate
FEMA Regional Office.
- Information and Planning activities in the region commence with the
activation of a ROC by the FEMA Regional Director, based on the need to
monitor a potential or developing incident. As the situation develops
and it is determined that Federal response and recovery assistance will
be required, deployment to the disaster response location may begin.
ESF #5 personnel should participate in initial response operations as
part of the ERT-A, and later the full ERT in the DFO. The ROC is responsible
for all situation reporting to the EST and other operating elements until
the DFO is operational.
- Information and Planning activities at the headquarters level should
begin concurrently with ROC activities for an incident. In addition,
ESF #5 elements on the EST may be activated at FEMA Headquarters at any
time to monitor and report on situations that have a disaster potential.
- As the DFO becomes operational, regional Information and Planning activities
should transition from the State EOC and the ROC to the DFO. The
focus of the information collection process should change from one involving
overall assessment of the severity and extent of the damage to one describing
the status of the response and recovery efforts.
- Organization of the Information
and Planning Section
Leadership for the Information and Planning Section rests with an Information
and Planning Section Chief who reports directly to the ROC Director in the
ROC, or the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) who heads the ERT at a DFO.
In the ROC or DFO, a Deputy Information and Planning Section Chief may support
the Section Chief. A second deputy may be necessary in a situation
where a night shift would be operating. On the EST, the Section Chief
has no deputy but may have an administrative assistant.
- Basic Organizational Structure for the ROC or DFO
The organization chart in Figure
ESF #5-1 shows a full Information and Planning Section that might operate
at a DFO or, on a smaller scale, at a ROC. The ESF #5 Section Chief
may adjust the size and structure of the section to fit the needs of the
specific situation. The Section Chief consults with the ROC Director or
FCO to determine the timetable for situation report (SITREP) inputs, SITREP
publishing times, and times for daily status briefings. These consultations
may include discussions with the headquarters EST because of report deadlines
established by the White House and other leadership elements.
- Situation Status Branch
- Collects, analyzes, and displays information regarding the disaster
situation and the location of critical resources. The latter
include special teams, task forces, deployed personnel, and highlights
from resource tracking information maintained by the Logistics Section.
- Maintains the Situation Room for information displays, and collects
and analyzes information to be used in the SITREPs, the status briefings,
and by other responders.
- Develops appropriate media for displaying information, including
the overall emergency team organizational chart and daily meeting
- Planning Support Branch
- Receives information from the Situation Status Branch and uses
it to support the different planning needs of the FCO and the ERT
- Analyzes long-term trends and assists team leadership with the
development of strategic plans and formats;
- Identifies critical planning issues and provides general planning
support to the ERT;
- Facilitates daily or special planning meetings;
- Produces and disseminates, as needed, daily action plans based
on the functional plans of other sections, contingency plans based
on specific issues, and long-range management plans concerning personnel
or operational priorities; and
- Produces and disseminates a Daily Intelligence Summary for the
FCO and other disaster managers.
- Documentation Branch
- Receives information from the Situation Status Branch as well as
from other ESFs and team elements to prepare its products, which include
SITREPs, status and informal briefings, and special reports;
- Uses status reports of agencies leading the Federal response under
other plans in describing response efforts in the SITREPs;
- Maintains archival files and records for each current disaster
and provides clerical support to the Information and Planning Section;
- Solicits inputs to and prepares the after-action report signed
by the FCO.
- Technical Services Branch
- Coordinates remote sensing and reconnaissance requirements;
- Establishes and maintains a geographic information system (GIS)
capability within the DFO to include:
Provides hazard-specific technical advice to support operational
- Acquiring and/or setting up a GIS computer suite and/or coordinating
through the FEMA Headquarters Information Technology Services Directorate
Mapping and Analysis Center (MAC) for temporary use of a deployable
GIS computer suite if available; and
- Generating GIS products and analyses, including maps and tables,
and/or coordinating with the MAC to obtain these products;
Uses additional subject matter experts or technical specialists
such as a meteorologist or seismologist, as needed.
Basic EST Organization
The basic functions for the EST Information and Planning Section do not
differ from those of the ERT. However, the same tasks are accomplished
with fewer ranches because in the headquarters environment some support
requirements can be provided from organic assets that are not available
to the ERT in the field. An organization chart is shown in Figure
ESF #5-2. The Section Chief operates with an administrative assistant
and two planning specialists. The chief oversees two branches — a
Situation Status Branch and a Documentation Branch. The daily planning
activities are organized and executed by the two planning specialists who
collate and prepare the daily action plan based on functional plans prepared
by the other EST sections. Other plans may be required if the disaster
is large or there are multiple States involved.
- Situation Status Branch
Conducts activities similar to those of the ERT, with one or more technical
specialists who coordinate remote sensing and GIS requests. Technical/subject
matter experts, such as a meteorologist, seismologist, or mitigation specialist,
may be added to the branch, as needed, to collect hazard-specific information
for reports and plans.
- Documentation Branch
- Like its ERT counterpart, receives information from the Situation
Status Branch as well as from other ESFs and sections, to be used
in SITREPs, status and informal briefings, and special reports;
- Maintains archival files and records for each current disaster;
- Solicits inputs for and prepares an after-action report; and
- Develops, as needed, special reports (which may include daily White
House briefings, talking points, or briefing books) for the FEMA Director
and other senior FEMA officials, and congressional or Presidential
- Initial Actions
The Information and Planning Section begins operations at the occurrence
of the event/incident or upon a pre-incident emergency declaration.
In some instances, this could precede the onset of a disaster, e.g., during
an approaching hurricane, when the ROC and headquarters Information and
Planning Section would operate a small monitoring group.
- Regional ESF activities for Information and Planning begin at the
ROC. State information processing operations should commence simultaneously
at the State EOC or another State-designated location. Then the
ERT-A, including key Information and Planning staff, should deploy to
the disaster response location. At that time, some of the regional
staff may join State staff at the EOC to begin situation assessment
activities, and other staff may go to the DFO to arrange space and equipment
for the full Information and Planning Section. Additional staff
should be activated as needed by the Section Chief.
- The headquarters Information and Planning Section initiates activities
in its operations area at FEMA Headquarters and establishes initial
liaison with the ROC and/or the ERT-A. In the case of a developing
incident, such as a major flood or hurricane, the Information Coordination
Unit (ICU) at Headquarters provides intelligence to the incoming EST
- Continuing Actions
Information and Planning Section actions last as long as necessary.
Over time, disaster operations will transition from response to recovery.
This transition does not change the mission of Information and Planning,
nor does it affect the basic functions of information gathering, analysis,
dissemination, and planning. As the tempo of disaster operations slows,
the staff of the Information and Planning Section is gradually reduced.
- The focus shifts to the economic impact of the disaster, the effectiveness
of program delivery, and the identification of recovery issues.
Normally, there will be an increased need for specific economic and
demographic information provided by the Technical Services Branch.
- The emphasis in planning during the recovery phase shifts from the
daily action plan to long-range management plans. Much of this
planning will be done by staff within individual ERT and EST sections
or branches; Information and Planning staff collates the information
and facilitates the process.
- Situation reporting and formal briefings should continue through
the recovery phase, although the frequency of both should be gradually
- At least one Information and Planning staff member, normally a reports
specialist, should remain on the FCO’s staff until the DFO is closed.
This facilitates the preparation of the after-action report, daily briefings,
and talking points.
- A reduced staff should remain active at FEMA Headquarters to develop
briefings, special reports, and SITREPs as needed. When the requirement
for regular reporting diminishes, this function should transition to
the ICU. FCO SITREPs can substitute for the headquarters SITREPs
during this period.
- Primary Agency: Federal Emergency
- Coordinate the overall Federal effort to collect, analyze, process,
synthesize, report, and display essential elements of information (EEIs)
and to facilitate support for planning efforts in disaster operations;
- Coordinate Federal situation assessment to include remote sensing and
reconnaissance operations, activation and deployment of assessment personnel
or teams, and GIS support to operating disaster entities; and
- Provide staffing support for Information and Planning Section activities
at the State EOC, ROC, and DFO at the regional level and at FEMA Headquarters.
- Support Agencies
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce (DOC)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Department of Defense (DOD)
National Weather Service (NWS)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
National Ocean Service (NOS)
Environmental Research Laboratories (ERL)
Director of Military Support (DOMS)
Department of Education (DOEd)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)
Department of Energy (DOE)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Department of the Interior (DOI)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)
Department of the Treasury
U.S. Customs Service
American Red Cross (ARC)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
General Services Administration (GSA)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Communications System (NCS)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
Small Business Administration (SBA)
- As support agencies to ESF #5, primary agencies for other ESFs should
identify a staff liaison or a point of contact at the regional, DFO, and
headquarters levels to provide disaster information and intelligence on
ESF activities to the Information and Planning Section. In addition,
all agencies as appropriate should identify a staff liaison or a point
of contact at both the regional and headquarters levels to provide technical
expertise, data, advice, and staff support for disaster operations and
situation assessment activities that fall within the domain of each agency,
This list is not exhaustive. Support capabilities of other entities
may be used as needed.
- Nautical and aeronautical charting, surveys, tidal and geodetic services,
and geo-referenced coastal imagery (DOC/NOAA/NOS);
- Meteorology (DOC/NWS);
- Structural engineering (DOC/NIST);
- Economic and business impacts, banking, and small business recovery
assistance (DOC, Treasury, and SBA);
- National security (DOD);
- Schools (DOEd);
- Mental health (HHS);
- Seismology (DOI/USGS);
- Hydrology, stream flows, and water-level data (DOI, USACE, and DOC/NOAA);
- Airborne pollution dispersion prediction (DOC/NOAA/ERL);
- Shelter status reports and housing transition issues and planning
- Legal issues and law enforcement (DOJ);
- Environmental impacts, pollution and hazardous materials (EPA and
- Real-time assessment of disaster impact and magnitude (Treasury/U.S.
- Nuclear power plants (NRC);
- Dam safety (USACE); and
- Remote sensing technology and assistance (DOI/USGS, DOD/NIMA, and
- Agencies should provide personnel to support assessment operations
- Agencies should provide personnel to work in the appropriate ESF of
the ERT or EST. They should also provide periodic reports, as requested,
on agency response operations to the Information and Planning Sections
of the ERT and EST.
- Support Organizations
- Civil Air Patrol
- Provide a liaison to the DFO to work with the Operations and ESF
#5 Sections to facilitate coordination of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) support
operations and to ensure that CAP activities are reported in the SITREP.
Input to the SITREP also may be submitted through the Defense Coordinating
- Designate an appropriate CAP Wing Staff person to coordinate CAP-FEMA
planning and response activities between the CAP-U.S. Air Force region
and the FEMA regional staff.
- Voluntary Organizations
Report information on their disaster response and recovery activities through
the FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaison in the Human Services Branch of the ERT
Operations Section. Information should include status of relief activities
such as feeding, sheltering, cleanup, unsolicited donated goods and services
management, or any other relief activity being provided to the affected
Terms and Definitions
- Information and Planning Section Standard Operating Procedures, Federal
Emergency Management Agency, July 1996 (or latest version).
- The Federal Disaster Operations System — An Overview, 9000.0-VW, Federal
Emergency Management Agency, June 1997.
- All Hazards Notification, 4340.1-PR, Federal Emergency Management Agency,
- Memorandum of Understanding Between the Civil Air Patrol and the Federal
Emergency Management Agency, August 10, 1996.
- Civil Air Patrol Support in Disasters — A Standard Operating Procedure,
9347.1-PR, Federal Emergency Management Agency, September 1997.
- Types of Plans Employed during ERT
and EST Operations
- Action Plan: A verbal or written plan reflecting
FCO/State Coordinating Officer priorities with tactical objectives for
the next operational period.
- Contingency Plan: Targets a specific
issue or event that arises during the course of disaster operations and
presents alternative actions to respond to the situation.
- Functional Plan: A subset of the action
plan developed by individual elements, setting out their operational priorities
for addressing the most pressing problems.
- Long-Range Management Plan: Used by the FCO
and team management in a large-scale disaster to address internal staffing
and disaster organization and team requirements.
- Strategic Plan: Addresses long-term
issues such as impact of weather forecasts, time-phased resource requirements,
and problems such as permanent housing for displaced disaster victims,
environmental pollution, and infrastructure restoration.
- Essential Elements of Information
To assess quickly and accurately the effect of a disaster on the population
and infrastructure of an area, emergency managers require early intelligence
on the areas noted below. This information facilitates accurate assessment
of what response activities and materiel are required to save lives, relieve
human suffering, and expedite response and recovery operations. During
the early hours of a disaster and in the absence of “ground truth” information
such as actual on-site surveys or imagery, GIS, computerized predictive modeling,
and damage estimation software may be used to develop initial estimates of
damage. As soon as possible, actual on-site ground surveys will be performed.
Sources may include a Federal-State Preliminary Damage Assessment and information
from Federal, State, and local government agencies, among others, to establish
“ground truth” for the following EEIs as needed:
Information Coordination Unit (ICU)
- Boundaries of the disaster area
- Social, economic, and political impacts
- Jurisdictional boundaries
- Status of transportation systems and critical transportation facilities
- Status of communications systems
- Access points to the disaster area
- Status of operating facilities
- Hazard-specific information
- Weather data affecting operations
- Seismic or other geophysical information
- Status of critical facilities and distribution systems
- Status of remote sensing and reconnaissance activities
- Status of key personnel
- Status of ESF activation
- Status of disaster or emergency declaration
- Major issues and activities of ESFs
- Resource shortfalls and status of critical resources
- Overall priorities for response
- Status of upcoming activities
- Historical and demographic information
- Status of energy systems
- Estimates of potential impacts based on predictive modeling (as applicable)
- Status (statistics) on recovery programs (human services, infrastructure,
- Status and analysis of initial assessments (needs assessments and damage
assessments, including Preliminary Damage Assessments
- Status of efforts under other Federal emergency operations plans
A FEMA Headquarters team that monitors and reports daily on potential or actual
disasters. Prior to an incident, the ICU provides daily situation updates
about all ongoing or pending activities. During a disaster, ICU members
become part of the EST Information and Planning Section, Situation Status
The period preceding an incident characterized by assessment and preparatory
activities leading to either response activity or stand-down. During this
period, the Assessment and Analysis Branch, Operations and Planning Division,
FEMA Response and Recovery Directorate, monitors causative factors and phenomena,
keeps in close contact with the affected FEMA region(s) and appropriate Federal
agencies, and may call for remote sensing data or other assessment actions.
The period of time scheduled for completion of a given set of operations actions
as specified in the action plan, usually 24 hours. This period usually
defines the reporting period for SITREPs and plans that address operational
The evaluation and interpretation of information gathered from a variety of
sources — including weather information and forecasts, computerized models,
GIS data mapping, remote sensing sources, ground surveys, etc. — that, when
communicated to emergency managers and decision makers, can provide a basis
for response and recovery decision making.
Situation Reports (SITREPs)
Periodic summaries of the disaster situation, including the status of operations,
geographical information, identification of operational priorities and requirements,
reports from specific ESFs on their major response and recovery activities,
unmet needs, and recommended actions, as well as data on human services, infrastructure,
and mitigation programs.
An area in the State EOC, ROC, DFO, or FEMA Headquarters used for the display
of information summarizing the status of disaster operations.
A briefing by ERT or EST personnel that summarizes the current situation,
operational priorities, and the status of Federal response operations in support
of a disaster.
Updated: June 3, 1999