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Response and Recovery

Table of Contents
Basic Plan
Emergency Support Function Annexes
Recovery Function
Support Annexes
Incident Annexes
Figure Directory

ESF #5 - Information and Planning Annex

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Primary Agency: Federal Emergency Management Agency
Support Agencies: 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
Support Organizations: Civil Air Patrol
Voluntary Organizations

  1. Introduction

    1. Purpose

    2. 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.
    3. Scope

    4. 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.
  3. Policies

    The Information and Planning Section operates at all levels of disaster response, whether at the disaster site itself, the region, or FEMA Headquarters.  It:
    1. Activates as needed in anticipation of, or immediately following, a disaster or emergency;

    2. Performs as a staff-level function in support of Federal leadership at the field, regional, and headquarters levels;

    3. Processes information that is common to one or more operational elements and that contributes to the overall perspective of the emergency;

    4. Coordinates activities of on-the-ground assessment personnel;

    5. Serves as site of overall coordination of situation assessment operations;

    6. Tasks support agencies to provide technical expertise and information necessary to develop accurate assessment and analysis of a developing or ongoing situation;

    7. 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;

    8. Collocates with the State Information and Planning Section when feasible for ERT operations; and

    9. Executes, at the ERT and EST locations, procedures stipulated in the current version of the Information and Planning Section Standard Operating Procedures.

  5. Situation

    1. 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.
    3. Planning Assumptions

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

      4. 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.

      5. 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 period.

      6. Initial Information and Planning Section activities at the ROC/EST may require 24-hour operations.

  7. Concept of Operations

    1. General

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

      4. 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.

      5. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. Basic Organizational Structure for the ROC or DFO

      2. 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.
        1. Situation Status Branch

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

          3. Develops appropriate media for displaying information, including the overall emergency team organizational chart and daily meeting information.

        2. Planning Support Branch

          1. Receives information from the Situation Status Branch and uses it to support the different planning needs of the FCO and the ERT leadership;

          2. Analyzes long-term trends and assists team leadership with the development of strategic plans and formats;

          3. Identifies critical planning issues and provides general planning support to the ERT;

          4. Facilitates daily or special planning meetings;

          5. 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

          6. Produces and disseminates a Daily Intelligence Summary for the FCO and other disaster managers.

        3. Documentation Branch

          1. 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;

          2. Uses status reports of agencies leading the Federal response under other plans in describing response efforts in the SITREPs;

          3. Maintains archival files and records for each current disaster and provides clerical support to the Information and Planning Section; and

          4. Solicits inputs to and prepares the after-action report signed by the FCO.

        4. Technical Services Branch

          1. Coordinates remote sensing and reconnaissance requirements;

          2. Establishes and maintains a geographic information system (GIS) capability within the DFO to include:

            • 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;

          3. Provides hazard-specific technical advice to support operational planning; and

          4. Uses additional subject matter experts or technical specialists such as a meteorologist or seismologist, as needed.

      3. 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.
        1. Situation Status Branch

        2. 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.
        3. Documentation Branch

          1. 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;

          2. Maintains archival files and records for each current disaster;

          3. Solicits inputs for and prepares an after-action report; and

          4. 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 briefings.

    5. Response Actions

      1. Initial Actions

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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 members.

      3. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

        3. Situation reporting and formal briefings should continue through the recovery phase, although the frequency of both should be gradually reduced.

        4. 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.

        5. 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.

  9. Responsibilities

    1. Primary Agency: Federal Emergency Management Agency

      1. 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;

      2. 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

      3. Provide staffing support for Information and Planning Section activities at the State EOC, ROC, and DFO at the regional level and at FEMA Headquarters.

    3. Support Agencies

    4. Department of Agriculture
      Department of Commerce (DOC)
        National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
          National Weather Service (NWS)
          National Ocean Service (NOS)
          Environmental Research Laboratories (ERL)
        National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
      Department of Defense (DOD)
        Director of Military Support (DOMS)
        U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
        National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)
      Department of Education (DOEd)
      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)
      1. 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, as follows:

        1. Nautical and aeronautical charting, surveys, tidal and geodetic services, and geo-referenced coastal imagery (DOC/NOAA/NOS);

        2. Meteorology (DOC/NWS);

        3. Structural engineering (DOC/NIST);

        4. Economic and business impacts, banking, and small business recovery assistance  (DOC, Treasury, and SBA);

        5. National security (DOD);

        6. Schools (DOEd);

        7. Mental health (HHS);

        8. Seismology (DOI/USGS);

        9. Hydrology, stream flows, and water-level data (DOI, USACE, and DOC/NOAA);

        10. Airborne pollution dispersion prediction (DOC/NOAA/ERL);

        11. Shelter status reports and housing transition issues and planning (ARC);

        12. Legal issues and law enforcement (DOJ);

        13. Environmental impacts, pollution and hazardous materials (EPA and DOT/USCG);

        14. Real-time assessment of disaster impact and magnitude (Treasury/U.S. Customs Service);

        15. Nuclear power plants (NRC);

        16. Dam safety (USACE); and

        17. Remote sensing technology and assistance (DOI/USGS, DOD/NIMA, and NASA).

        This list is not exhaustive.  Support capabilities of other entities may be used as needed.

      2. Agencies should provide personnel to support assessment operations as requested.

      3. 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.

    5. Support Organizations

      1. Civil Air Patrol

        1. 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 Element.

        2. 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.

      2. Voluntary Organizations

      3. 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 community.

  11. References

    1. Information and Planning Section Standard Operating Procedures, Federal
      Emergency Management Agency, July 1996 (or latest version).

    2. The Federal Disaster Operations System — An Overview, 9000.0-VW, Federal Emergency Management Agency, June 1997.

    3. All Hazards Notification, 4340.1-PR, Federal Emergency Management Agency, December 1996.

    4. Memorandum of Understanding Between the Civil Air Patrol and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, August 10, 1996.

    5. Civil Air Patrol Support in Disasters — A Standard Operating Procedure, 9347.1-PR, Federal Emergency Management Agency, September 1997.

  12. Terms and Definitions

    1. Types of Plans Employed during ERT and EST Operations

      1. Action Plan: A verbal or written plan reflecting FCO/State Coordinating Officer priorities with tactical objectives for the next operational period.

      2. 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.

      3. Functional Plan: A subset of the action plan developed by individual elements, setting out their operational priorities for addressing the most pressing problems.

      4. 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.

      5. 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.

    2. Essential Elements of Information (EEIs)

    3. 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:

      • 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

      • Donations

      • 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, SBA)

      • Status and analysis of initial assessments (needs assessments and damage assessments, including Preliminary Damage Assessments

      • Status of efforts under other Federal emergency operations plans

    4. Information Coordination Unit (ICU)

    5. 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 Branch.

    6. Monitoring Period

    7. 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.

    8. Operational Period

    9. 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 priorities.

    10. Situation Assessment

    11. 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.

    12. Situation Reports (SITREPs)

    13. 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.

    14. Situation Room

    15. An area in the State EOC, ROC, DFO, or FEMA Headquarters used for the display of information summarizing the status of disaster operations.

    16. Status Briefing

    17. 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