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Drafting, revising, and updating local emergency operations plans: The National Response Framework and the Emergency Support Function Annex model

Michael Stallings, JD, Whitney Faust, JD


Lessons learned and public scrutiny resulting from the Gulf Coast hurricane disasters in 2005 led the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to restructure its national incident response guidance. The National Response Framework (NRF) replaced the National Response Plan (NRP) in early 2008. The updated Framework has focused the attention of emergency management planning to, among other things, updating Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) on a State and local jurisdictional level, utilizing an Emergency Support Function (ESF) model.
Since 2005, compliance mandates under the National Incident Management System (NIMS) have required local government entities to revise and update emergency operations plans to incorporate NIMS components. With the introduction of the NRF in 2008, the ESF model is now the recommended standard for local government EOPs under the NIMS compliance objectives. The ESF model provides for a coordinated response effort and mutual aid options local agencies may receive from State and Federal resources in the wake of an emergency. It also works to ensure that local entities themselves have a careful accounting of all of their own resources and capabilities to avoid another slow and inadequate response that was at the heart of the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita tragedies in 2005.


national response framework; emergency support function; local emergency management; emergency operations plan

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