Guidance for developing an integrated, coordinated, and synchronized emergency operations plan (EOP) is provided in Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101 (CPG 101). Although many emergency managers consider the EOP the foundation of emergency and disaster plans, CPG 101 acknowledges that it is not the only plan that supports emergency management within a jurisdiction.
The coordination and integration of disaster and emergency planning should be between all departments and levels of government and with public and private sector providers of critical services, whose plans often are based on compliance with industry standards and regulations. Integrating the knowledge and resources of the private sector into planning is key to preparing for and successfully executing response and recovery. It is also important for the jurisdiction to integrate planning with nongovernmental and private sector planning as well as the resources and services they provide.
Various Plans & Strategies
Strategic Planning. The 2016 Emergency Management Standard requires jurisdictions to develop a multi-year strategic plan. This plan is required to provide a vision statement, a specified mission, and milestones for achieving the goals and objectives; as well as a method for implementation, evaluation, and revision. The jurisdiction is required to have one or more committees for integrating input from various stakeholders.
Comprehensive Plan. A comprehensive plan describes current and future direction and pace of development of the economic, social, and environmental features of the jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions title this plan the “General Plan,” “Master Plan,” or “Consolidated Plan.” The plan usually includes three- to five-year forecasts for: land use, open space; public utilities, safety; and transportation.
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. The U.S. Development Administration recommends jurisdictions integrate their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) with other sub-state regional plans such as land-use, transportation, and workforce development. CEDS can also help ensure that hazard mitigation strategies are integrated to increase resilience across multiple jurisdictions and sub-stated regions.
Hazard Mitigation Planning. FEMA Region III promotes integration of the hazard mitigation plan into other jurisdiction planning. Jurisdiction planners are encouraged to integrate natural hazard and risk mitigation actions through collaborative planning and interagency coordination. The integration of plans across the agencies and between various disciplines – to include emergency managers, engineers, community planners, and sub-state regional partners – is the stated goal for increasing resilience.
Jurisdictions should integrate the hazard mitigation plan with the comprehensive plan, the capital improvement plan, the economic development plan, the transportation plan, the stormwater management plan, the wildfire protection plan, the watershed protections plans, the EOP, the recovery plan, and the continuity of operations plan. Integrating the mitigation plan with the comprehensive plan can increase resilience by limiting the extension of infrastructure and development in hazard areas. Jurisdictions should also integrate their plans with neighboring multi-regional organizations such as Councils of Governments.
Resilience Planning. Jurisdictions are recommended to integrate planning for determining the risks and improve resilience for buildings and infrastructure systems that support key social functions. Resilience planning should be integrated into the jurisdiction’s comprehensive plan, land use plan, infrastructure plan, transportation plan, economic development plan, housing plan, mitigation plan, environmental plan, EOP, and continuity of government plan.
Continuity of Operations. Jurisdictions should integrate continuity planning with preparedness, resilience, and emergency plans, with continuity planners participating in the development of those plans. Successful implementation of the EOP is more likely when integrated with the continuity plan. Continuity planners need to integrate planning with the private sector and other providers to ensure utilities and other essential services are provided during the disaster. Continuity plans for jurisdictions need to be integrated with the business continuity plans of businesses within the jurisdiction.
Recovery Plans. Jurisdictions should integrate the results of all other plans when developing pre-disaster recovery plans or post-disaster recovery strategies. Jurisdiction planners should look for interdependencies among potential impacts. In addition, recovery plans and strategies should include input from all sectors of the community.
Integrating Jurisdiction Planning
Planners can identify and confirm jurisdiction goals and priorities through an integrated review of all jurisdiction plans and planning processes. One outcome of this review is to identify and resolve potential conflicts. A critical part of planning is the identification and development of planning assumptions. Jurisdictions should consider pulling disaster-planning assumptions from other planning efforts within the jurisdiction. The full spectrum of priorities for a jurisdiction are found in the various plans such as the Comprehensive Plan, Hazard Mitigation Plan, Recovery Plan, Economic Development Strategy, or the Capital Development Strategy (see Table 1). Examples of jurisdiction priorities usually include: retaining population; restoring the tax base and stabilizing revenues; restoring schools and education programs; reopening key industries; implementing mitigation actions; and restoring environment and cultural resources.
Integrated planning is implemented through the zoning ordinances, regulations for subdivisions, and building codes. Examples are zoning restrictions, increased building codes, and the permitting process. Mitigation actions can inform land-use planning and the development or modification of building codes for local jurisdictions. Land-use is managed locally through zoning regulations. The proper design of new neighborhood developments is managed for safety issues, hazard areas and mitigation requirements, water and stormwater management, soil concerns, environmental issues, and landscaping through subdivision regulations.
Why This Topic Is Important
Jurisdictions are required to develop and maintain numerous plans, primarily for community planning and emergency management. The guidance for developing many jurisdictions’ plans do not target or include emergency managers. Guidance written for emergency managers and guidance targeting community planners often use different terminology and different planning perspectives. Most planning guidance does not provide language and structure that informs jurisdictions on how to integrate these plans. A lot of the planning guidance promotes integration of the plans, but the guidance lacks language and structure to describe how a jurisdiction should integrate these plans.
Jurisdictions should develop an integrated planning team that includes planners from other planning disciplines – ranging from emergency managers to community planners. Together with their planning partners, jurisdictions should strive to accomplish the following:
- Integrate jurisdictional planning using shared hazard and vulnerability assessments.
- Integrate planning within jurisdictions, sub-state regions, and the state.
- Integrate the nongovernmental and private sector planning within the jurisdiction planning.
- Integrate resilience-building strategies.
- Integrate continuity planning for essential services that are provided during disasters.
A major requirement for FEMA’s National Emergency Management Advanced Academy (NEMAA) is a research paper between the third and final week of a one-year course. The author chose to research open-source planning guidance to determine the jurisdiction plans that emergency managers should be involved developing in addition to the emergency operation plan (EOP). This research was based on the theory that pre-disaster planning for jurisdictions needs to be integrated to be effective and increase resilience. This article is adapted from the author’s NEMAA research paper and promotes enhancing the effectiveness of planning and increasing resilience through the integration of jurisdictions plans.
Allen B. King III
Allen B. King III, CEM, is an emergency management specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), developing doctrinal policy and guidance. He is a retired Army officer with over 36 years of experience in emergency and disaster management. For the past eight years, he has taught the Boy Scout of America Emergency Preparedness merit badge to scouts in northern Virginia. He has a master’s degree in emergency and disaster management from American Military University. He was the first vice president of the Order of Sword and Shield Honor Society for AMU and is a member of the Delta Epsilon Tau and Golden Key honor societies. He is a recent graduate of FEMA’s National Emergency Management Advanced Academy.