Private Sector Plays Role in New National Disaster Plan

By J.J. Smith Feb 14, 2008
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The U.S. government has issued a new national disaster plan that focuses on response and short-term recovery involving all levels of government as well as the private sector.

On Jan. 22, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued the National Response Framework (NRF), which “articulates the doctrine, principles and architecture by which our nation prepares for and responds to all-hazard disasters across all levels of government and all sectors of communities.”

The NRF is intended for senior elected and appointed leaders, such as federal department and agency heads, state governors, mayors, tribal leaders, city managers and the private sector, DHS says. The document also informs emergency management practitioners by explaining the operating structures and tools routinely used by first responders and emergency managers at all levels of government.

The NRF is a response “to repeated federal, state, local and private sector requests for a streamlined document that is less bureaucratic and more user-friendly,” DHS says. It focuses on preparedness and encourages a higher level of readiness across all jurisdictions. The plan was developed based on input from key stakeholders representing federal, tribal, state and local governments, non-governmental agencies and associations, and the private sector, DHS says.

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

However, while DHS has issued the document and has established a National Response Framework Resource Center web site, the NRF does not become effective until March 22, 2008. Until the NFR becomes effective, the existing policy—the National Response Plan—remains in effect, DHS says.

J.J. Smith is a SHRM Online editor/manager.

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