DHS Releases National Response Framework

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the release of the National Response Framework (NRF) to facilitate emergency response planning by providing guidance to the private sector and federal, state and local responders in the event of a disaster.

The Jan. 22 release follows an extensive outreach and coordination process that included nearly 5,700 responses received during the framework’s public comment periods.

“The National Response Framework is an essential tool for emergency managers at all levels,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “It helps define the roles, responsibilities and relationships critical to effective emergency planning, preparedness and response to any emergency or disaster.”

A successor to the 2004 National Response Plan, the NRF is a product of repeated requests from federal, state, local and private sectors for a streamlined, user-friendly document. The framework is designed for senior elected and appointed leaders to be scalable, flexible and adaptable; to always be in effect; and to articulate roles and responsibilities among federal, state and local officials.

Additionally, the framework informs emergency management practitioners by explaining tools and operating structures used by first responders and emergency managers at all levels of government.

The NRF Resource Center, www.fema.gov/nrf, will release all components of the framework, including Emergency Support Function Annexes and Support Annexes. The annexes are comprised of 23 documents designed to provide operations, procedures and structures for all partners in fulfilling their roles under the NRF.

Once the NRF base document and its annexes are finalized, DHS will initiate a nationwide training and exercise program to incorporate the framework into the country’s preparedness and response cycle. This strategy will include awareness training, position-specific training, tabletop and functional exercises and sustainment training.

The framework goes into effect March 22, 2008.

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