Having a basic understanding of community or national emergency plans can assist families in disaster. This is especially true during the response phase. The National Response Framework (NRF) is a great example of a national community reference. According to FEMA’s publication, “The National Response Framework,” from 2013, the NRF is a guide which describes the basis of national response to any form of disaster. The NRF was developed from a long line of response guidance plans. The first was the Federal Response plan which was replaced by the National Response Plan. Then in 2008, the NRF was developed to make national response guidance more efficient as well as to include practices created after Hurricane Katrina. The NRF is comprised of 4 sections. These are the foundation document, the Emergency Support Functions (ESF) Annexes, the Support Annexes, and the Incident Annexes. These annexes describe how the NRF can be implemented. It is important to note that the NRF and the National Incident Management System (NIMS) are meant to work in conjunction with each other, while NIMS and its component the Incident Command System (ICS) supply the NRF with an incident management function (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2013c, pp. 2-3). The NRF is based on several guiding principles. These are engaged partnership, tiered response, scalable operations, unity of effort/unified command, and readiness to act (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2013c, pp. 5-6).
What makes the NRF unique is that it is intended to guide the entire national community’s response efforts. FEMA believes that the inclusion of the whole community is necessary to promote national preparedness. While the NRF notes that individuals and families are not formal operators, it states that the general public can increase national resilience, preparedness, and response by satisfying their role. This includes actions such as household hazard reduction and participating in voluntary organizations and programs (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2013c, p. 8).
The Incident Command System
Today, the Incident Command System (ICS) is a major component of NIMS and is widely used in emergency management response. However, this was not always the case. According to David A. McEntire and Gregg Dawson, authors of the article, “The intergovernmental Context,” ICS was originally developed by the fire service in 1970. Its purpose was to assist in the command of wildfire events. It was unique because it standardized operations, yet offered flexibility so that it could be used on any number of events, regardless of size or type (McEntire & Dawson, 2007, p. 63).
The book, “National Incident Management System: Principles and Practice,” by Dr. Donald W. Walsh, Dr. Hank T. Christen, Christian E. Callsen, Geoffrey T. Miller, Paul M. Maniscalco, Graydon C. Lord, and Neal J. Dolan, describes ICS as, “…a system for domestic incident management that is based on an expandable, flexible...