Federal Emergency Management Agency Comprehensive Preparedness Guide on Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans

FEMA has prepared and updates frequently a Comprehensive Preparedness Guide which provides assistance in the development of the fundamentals of planning for emergency operations plans to be used in all areas of the country. It discusses the fundamentals of planning principles and analytical problem-solving which should address the complexity and uncertainty found in traditional disasters and catastrophic events. It discusses strategic plans, operational plans, and tactical plans. Strategic plans are based on policy established by senior management and the political entity in order to meet emergency situations and homeland security situations. Operational plans describe the roles, responsibilities, tasks, and how to integrate the actions of various departments and agencies during emergencies to obtain the quickest action in the most efficient manner possible. The tactical plans describe how to manage personnel, equipment, and resources that are directly involved in preventing, mitigating, and resolving the disastrous event or catastrophe. The plans need constant re-evaluation and adjustment to meet the realities of the problems within the community.

The guide utilizes practical information from what has been learned from actual disasters, major incidents, assessments, and grant programs. It provides techniques that might be used by the appropriate planners in: working with the whole community and all organizations in establishing an emergency operation plan; determining the level of specific risk in each situation and the amount and type of resources which will be needed to mitigate the risk and resolve the problem; utilizing and adapting the plan to a given disaster event; and coordinating the efforts of the various groups working to resolve the disaster event. It explains various planning approaches and common planning pitfalls. It discusses the relationship between federal plans and state emergency operations plans and how best to resolve problems and conflicts between the plans to get immediate assistance to the disaster area; it helps explain how to coordinate and integrate all plans and the actual operational capabilities of all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, universities, religious organizations, business and industry, individuals, and families. It provides information on regulatory requirements for given disasters.

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