All federal departments and agencies that may be required to assist or support during a national incident – whether from threats or acts of terrorism, major natural disasters or man-made emergencies – will use the plan.
The National Response Plan standardizes federal incident response actions by integrating existing and formerly disparate processes. The plan uses the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to establish standardized training, organization and communications procedures for multi-jurisdictional interaction and clearly identifies authority and leadership responsibilities. The plan also provides a comprehensive framework for private and non-profit institutions to plan and integrate their own preparedness and response activities, nationally and within their own communities.
"With the National Response Plan, our nation and its federal, state, local and tribal response communities now have a comprehensive, all-hazards tool for domestic incident management across the spectrum of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery," said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "The complex and emerging threats of the 21st century demand this synchronized and coordinated plan in order to adequately protect our nation and its citizens."
The National Response Plan was developed by teams of experts from: federal departments and agencies; state, local and tribal officials; incident response; and private sector communities from around the nation. Ridge said, "We brought together the best of the best in our nation's incident management and first responder communities for a singular but critical national endeavor."
The National Response Plan and the supporting National Incident Management System establish incident management processes to:
- Improve coordination and integration between federal, state, local, tribal, regional, private sector and non-governmental organization partners;
- Integrate the federal response to catastrophic events;
- Improve incident management communications and increase cross-jurisdictional coordination and situational awareness;
- Improve federal to federal interaction and emergency support;
- Maximize use and employment of incident management resources; and
- Facilitate emergency mutual aid and federal emergency support to state, local and tribal governments.
The plan further recognizes the potential magnitude of threats from weapons of mass destruction and severe natural disasters by adoption of a new term, the Incident of National Significance. An incident of national significance is described as an incident with high impact requiring an extensive and well-coordinated response by federal, state, local, tribal, and nongovernmental authorities to save lives, minimize damage, and provide the basis for long-term community and economic recovery.
The National Response Plan fulfills a requirement in Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 and provides a core operational plan for all national incident management. When fully implemented, it will supersede the Initial National Response Plan (INRP), the Federal Response Plan (FRP), the U. S. Government Interagency Domestic Terrorism Concept of Operations Plan (CONPLAN), and the Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan (FRERP).
To get more information about the National Response Plan:
- First responders and incident management authorities may call 1-800-368-6498 [8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST weekdays].
- Interested citizens may view and download a PDF copy of the National Response Plan online at http://www.dhs.gov/nationalresponseplanwww.dhs.gov/nationalresponseplan.
- Information on FEMA National Response Plan training courses is available through links at the above Web site.