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Response and Recovery

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

Introduction to the Basic Plan of the Federal Response Plan, April 1999

In PDF format

  1. Introduction

    1. Purpose

    2. The Federal Response Plan (FRP) establishes a process and structure for the systematic, coordinated, and effective delivery of Federal assistance to address the consequences of any major disaster or emergency declared under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 5121, et seq.).  The FRP:

      1. Sets forth fundamental policies, planning assumptions, a concept of operations, response and recovery actions, and Federal agency responsibilities;

      2. Describes the array of Federal response, recovery, and mitigation resources available to augment State and local efforts to save lives; protect public health, safety, and property; and aid affected individuals and communities in rebuilding after a disaster;

      3. Organizes the types of Federal response assistance that a State is most likely to need under 12 Emergency Support Functions (ESFs), each of which has a designated primary agency;

      4. Describes the process and methodology for implementing and managing Federal recovery and mitigation programs and support/technical services;

      5. Addresses linkages to other Federal emergency operations plans developed for specific incidents;

      6. Provides a focus for interagency and intergovernmental emergency preparedness, planning, training, exercising, coordination, and information exchange; and

      7. Serves as the foundation for the development of detailed supplemental plans and procedures to implement Federal response and recovery activities rapidly and efficiently.

    3. Scope

      1. The FRP concepts apply to a major disaster or emergency as defined under the Stafford Act, which includes a natural catastrophe; fire, flood, or explosion regardless of cause; or any other occasion or instance for which the President determines that Federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities.  Throughout the FRP, any reference to a disaster, major disaster, or emergency generally means a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency under the Stafford Act.

      2. The FRP covers the full range of complex and constantly changing requirements following a disaster: saving lives, protecting property, and meeting basic human needs (response); restoring the disaster-affected area (recovery); and reducing vulnerability to future disasters (mitigation).  The FRP does not specifically address long-term reconstruction and redevelopment.

      3. The FRP applies to all signatory Federal departments and independent agencies that may be tasked to provide assistance in a major disaster or emergency.  Additionally, the American Red Cross functions as a Federal agency in coordinating the use of Federal mass care resources in a presidentially declared disaster or emergency.  For purposes of the FRP, any reference to Federal agencies with respect to their responsibilities and activities in responding to a disaster generally means Federal departments and agencies, as well as the American Red Cross.

      4. Under the FRP, a State means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  Two former trust territories (but now independent countries) also are deemed eligible for assistance under the Compact of Free Association the Republic of the Marshall Islands (until October 21, 2001) and the Federated States of Micronesia (until November 3, 2001).

      5. Relationships with any federally recognized American Indian or Alaska Native Tribe are on a government-to-government basis.  Federal agencies acknowledge the importance of an nteragency/intergovernmental/tribal partnership to improve access to disaster assistance.  Although a State Governor must request a Presidential disaster declaration on behalf of a tribe under the Stafford Act, Federal agencies subsequently can work directly with the tribe, within existing authorities and resources, to tailor disaster programs to its unique needs.

    4. National Disaster Response Framework

      1.  The combined emergency management authorities, policies, procedures, and resources of local, State, and Federal governments as well as voluntary disaster relief organizations, the private sector, and international sources constitute a national disaster response framework for providing assistance following a major disaster or emergency.  This framework is illustrated in Figure 1.

      2. Within this framework, the Federal Government can provide personnel, equipment, supplies, facilities, and managerial, technical, and advisory services in support of State and local disaster assistance efforts.  Various Federal statutory authorities and policies establish the bases for providing these resources.  (The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has compiled a separate compendium of Legal Authorities Supporting the Federal Response Plan that lists emergency response and recovery-related directives, together with a summary interpretation of each legal citation.)

      3. Under the Stafford Act and Executive Orders 12148, Federal Emergency Management, and 12656, Assignment of Emergency Preparedness Responsibilities, FEMA has been delegated primary responsibility for coordinating Federal emergency preparedness, planning, management, and disaster assistance functions.  FEMA also has been delegated responsibility for establishing Federal disaster assistance policy.  In this stewardship role, FEMA has the lead in developing and maintaining the FRP.

      4. The FRP describes the structure for organizing, coordinating, and mobilizing Federal resources to augment State and local response efforts under the Stafford Act and its implementing regulations that appear in 44 CFR 206.  The FRP also may be used in conjunction with Federal agency emergency operations plans developed under other statutory authorities as well as memorandums of understanding (MOUs) among various Federal agencies.

      5. In particular, the FRP may be implemented concurrently with the:

        1. National Plan for Telecommunications Support in Non-Wartime Emergencies, which provides a basis for ESF #2 Communications operations;

        2. National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, known as the National Contingency Plan (NCP), which provides the basis for ESF #10 Hazardous Materials operations; and/or

        3. Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan (FRERP), which details the Federal response to a peacetime radiological emergency.

      6. The FRP also may be implemented in response to the consequences of terrorism, in accordance with Presidential Decision Directive 39 (PDD-39) and PDD-62 that set forth U.S. counterterrorism policy.  The FRP Terrorism Incident Annex describes the concept of operations for a unified response to a terrorism incident involving two or more of the following plans:  the FRP, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Incident Contingency Plan, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health and Medical Services Support Plan for the Federal Response to Acts of Chemical/Biological Terrorism, the NCP, and the FRERP.

      7. The FRP is implemented through regional supplements developed by FEMA and other Federal agency regional offices describing specific actions, operating locations, and relationships to address the unique needs of the region and States within the region.  From time to time, an operations supplement to the FRP may be issued to address special events that merit advanced planning, such as the Olympics or Presidential inaugurations.

      8. The FRP is further implemented through various operations manuals, field operations guides, and job aids that detail specific agency actions to be taken.

      9. States, along with their local jurisdictions, have their own emergency operations plans describing who will do what, when, and with what resources.  In addition, many voluntary, private, and international organizations have emergency or contingency plans.  These planning relationships are shown in Figure 2.

      10. While the FRP focuses primarily on operational planning specific to an incident, other types of planning also are critical to ensuring effective disaster operations.  Pre-incident planning at all levels of government is used to identify operating facilities and resources that might be needed in response and recovery.  Action planning, conducted throughout a disaster, establishes priorities with tactical objectives for the next operational period.  Contingency planning assists in targeting a specific issue or event arising during the course of a disaster and presents alternative actions to respond to the situation.  Strategic planning is used to identify long-term issues such as impact of forecasts and problems such as permanent housing for displaced disaster victims.  It also can serve as a blueprint for rebuilding after a disaster.

    5. Organization of the FRP

    6. The FRP consists of the following sections as shown in Figure 3:

      1. The Basic Plan presents the policies and concept of operations that guide how the Federal Government will assist disaster-stricken State and local governments.  It also summarizes Federal planning assumptions, response and recovery actions, and responsibilities.

      2. Emergency Support Function Annexes describe the mission, policies, concept of operations, and responsibilities of the primary and support agencies involved in the implementation of key response functions that supplement State and local activities.  ESFs include Transportation, Communications, Public Works and Engineering, Firefighting, Information and Planning, Mass Care, Resource Support, Health and Medical Services, Urban Search and Rescue, Hazardous Materials, Food, and Energy.

      3. The Recovery Function Annex describes the policies, planning considerations, and concept of operations that guide the provision of assistance to help disaster victims and affected communities return to normal and minimize the risk of future damage.  Assistance is categorized by delivery system either to individuals, families, and businesses or to State and local governments.  (Note: A separate annex describing mitigation as a concept and a program is being developed.)

      4. Support Annexes describe the mission, policies, and concept of operations of related activities required to conduct overall Federal disaster operations, including Community Relations, Congressional Affairs, Donations Management, Financial Management, Logistics Management, Occupational Safety and Health, and Public Affairs.

      5. Incident Annexes describe the mission, policies, concept of operations, and responsibilities in those specific events that require a unified response under the FRP and one or more other Federal plans that implement authorities and functions outside the scope of the Stafford Act. The Terrorism Incident Annex is the first in a series of anticipated incident annexes.

      6. Appendices cover other relevant information, including terms and definitions, acronyms and abbreviations, guidelines for FRP changes and revision, and overview of a disaster operation.
Updated: June 3, 1999