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Federal Response Plan, April 1999 Executive Overview

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1999
8 pages
This document focuses on the Federal disaster assistance available to State, local, and voluntary agencies.
Local government is primarily responsible for preparing for disasters affecting a community and helping residents recover from such events. State and Federal resources are available to assist only when the local resources are overwhelmed. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for implementing and managing Federal disaster assistance. FEMA has developed the Federal Response Plan (FRP) to coordinate the Federal response to disasters to reduce loss of life and property, protect critical infrastructure, and lead and support an emergency management program of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The FRP clarifies the role of each of the 27 participating Federal departments and agencies. It is implemented in response to an actual event requiring Federal assistance under a Presidential declaration of a major disaster or emergency, or in anticipation of a significant event likely to result in a need for Federal assistance. The types of assistance to be provided are initial response resources (food, water, emergency generators); emergency services to clear debris, open transportation routes, restore public utilities, and provide mass sheltering and feeding; and damage assessment, emergency communications, medical assistance, search and rescue, power restoration, incident management, and community relations. Assistance to help a community return to normal and reduce future damage includes loans and grants; technical assistance; and crisis counseling, tax relief, legal services, and job placement. The FRP groups 12 Emergency Support Functions as the types of direct Federal assistance that a State is most likely to need. These functions are 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. FEMA’s official notification point is the FEMA Operations Center. When a major disaster occurs, the Regional Operations Center is activated and becomes the initial coordination point for Federal response efforts. If the disaster is catastrophic, a team from FEMA headquarters, a National Emergency Response Team, is called to coordinate FEMA resources.