Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans

Whether you call it a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP), or an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), you are probably wondering about what the best way is to structure your plan given the new FEMA Comprehensive Preparedness Guide, CPG 101. We have long stressed the need to adapt the plan to the local concept of operations but always start a CEMP project by lookin at the ConOps to see if it should be adjusted. The central question is normally related to organizing under the Incident Command System (ICS) or by Emergency Support Functions (ESFs).


A jurisdiction's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) establishes a framework for an effective comprehensive emergency management program. A CEMP describes the basic strategies, assumptions, policies, operational goals and objectives, and mechanisms through which a jurisdiction will mobilize resources and conduct activities to guide and support emergency management efforts through prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. To facilitate effective response and recovery operations, the CEMP adopts a functional approach that groups the types of emergency assistance to be provided into Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) and groups recovery tasks into Recovery Functions (RFs).

Often, contractors are hired to work for, and in close coordination with, the jurisdiction's emergency management staff, to provide administrative, research, planning, publishing services and best practices required to develop a complete CEMP.


CPG 101 encourages use of the Target Capabilities List (TCLs) when developing a schedule of ESFs (or annexes) Quotes from CPG 101:

"The Target Capability List’s “Planning” common target capability provides guidance to jurisdictions on building the capacity to perform emergency planning."

"The Target Capabilities List (TCL) is a comprehensive catalog of capabilities (response functions) . . ."

"The Target Capabilities List, Respond Mission Area target capabilities for On-Site Incident Management and for EOC Management provide tasks and measures that are helpful for . . . (CEMP/EOC) . . . development . . ."

Regardless of what they are called, the schedule of ESF (or annexes) should encompass all of the emergency functions and tasks that will need to be performed by the community during disaster. A singular ESF analyzes a particular emergency function. The ESF is concerned with that emergency function and specifies the specific tasks to be done, who will do the tasks and if more than one agency/organization is involved, then how they will work together.

Quote from CPG 101:

"The EOP contains annexes and appendices appropriate to the jurisdiction’s organization and operations."

WHAT FORMAT TO USE (ESFs versus Functional Annexes)?

CPG 101 says it does not matter; choose what best works for you:

"(CPG 101) outlines a variety of formats that a jurisdiction could use for an EOP, to include a Functional format, an Emergency Support Function format, and an Agency/Department-Focused format. These format options come from EOPs used by State, Territorial, Local, and Tribal governments across the nation. No matter the source, these formats are, at best, suggestions ... for developing an EOP. "

"As the planning team begins to develop a new EOP, members must discuss what format is the most effective and easiest to use by their jurisdiction."

In short, "form follows function" in the sense that operational needs should help determine the EOP format a jurisdiction uses. The planning team may modify any of these formats to make the EOP fit the jurisdiction’s emergency management strategy, policy, resources, and capabilities.


All Hands believes that Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) comprise the core response elements of a comprehensive emergency management plan and program. We work with each jurisdiction to ensure that their schedule of ESFs works for them.

Notional ESF schedule. (Note per CPG 101 jurisdictions are encouraged to develop an ESF schedule that best works for them)

ESF 1 Transportation

ESF 2 Communications; or Communications &Warning

ESF 3 Public Works & Engineering

• Debris Management (3.1)

ESF 4 Firefighting

ESF 5 Information, Analysis & Planning; or Emergency Management

• Managing Emergency Operations: Community Emergency Management System (5.1)

• Situation Analysis & Reporting (5.2)

• Alert, Warning, Notification (5.3)

• Military Support (5.4)

• Initial Disaster & Life Safety Assessment (5.5)

• Public Protection - Warning, Evacuation, Shelter (5.6)

ESF 6 Mass Care, Housing & Human Services

ESF 7 Resource Support (Management?)

• Food & Water (7.1)

ESF 8 Public Health (move EMS to separate ESF); or Public Health & Medical Services

ESF 9 Search & Rescue

ESF 10 Oil and Hazardous Materials

ESF 11 Agriculture & Natural Resources (or make this Food and Water)

ESF 12 Energy & Utilities

ESF 13 Public Safety & Security (law enforcement)

• Evacuation Traffic Management (13.1)

• Military Support (31.2)

ESF 14 Community Recovery & Mitigation (or make these programs separate annexes to CEMP)

ESF 15 Public Information

ESF 16 Volunteers & Donations

ESF 17 Animal Services

ESF 18 Special Needs Services

ESF 19 Finance & Administration

ESF 20 Information & Technology Services

ESF 21 Employee Assistance & Deployment

ESF 22 Damage Assessment

ESF 23 Emergency Medical Services

• Hospitals (23.1)

• Special Medical Needs (32.2)

ESF 24 Fatality Management (Coroner)

ESF 25 Business & Industry Coordination

Other ?


Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) versus CEMP

• An EOP is a response oriented operations plan (maybe includes recovery).

• A CEMP is a strategic document that is the blueprint for a jurisdiction's comprehensive emergency management program and as such contains the 4 phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. An EOP is contained with a CEMP (it is the response element)

A CEMP/EOP Should:

• Serve the needs of a local jurisdiction first (emergencies/disasters are owned at the local jurisdiction level).

• Be all hazards.

• Be the "blueprint" for a jurisdiction's emergency management program and contain the 4 phases of emergency management.

• "Dovetail" with the next levels of government plans: region, state, federal as per CPG 101:

"National guidance and consensus standards expect that a jurisdiction’s plans will be coordinated and integrated among all levels of government and will consider critical infrastructure planning efforts. The NIMS and the NRF support a concept of layered operations. They recognize that many operations start at the local level, and, as needs exceed resources and capabilities, State, Regional, and Federal assets are applied. This approach means that planning must be vertically integrated to ensure that all response levels have a common operational focus."


1. Obtain background information.

• Review existing plan(s), procedures, and relevant written materials and agree on which portions of the existing plan(s) are relevant.

• Review, research legal planning requirements and basis.

• Review all relevant laws, policies, guidelines to ensure plan compatibility and compliance.

• Determine relevance of state planning guidance.

2. Analyze current situation.

• Gain an understanding of how the jurisdiction is organized, and how it intends to function during emergency and disaster conditions.

3. Identification of hazards.

• Obtain existing community Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA) to obtain knowledge of hazards facing the community. Summarize this information for inclusion in the Basic Plan.

• Determine and agree on best approach to integrate specific hazards concerns, i.e. schedule of special subjects appended to CEMP.

• Summarize mitigation data contained in the HVA (and from other sources) into CEMP Mitigation Section.

• Suggest mitigation strategies.

4. Determine City’s “Concept of Operations” to include:

• Use of ICS and EOC (ICS/EOC interface).

• Relationship of jurisdiction's emergency management program to higher levels of government, i.e. city to county; county to state..

• What emergency functions are performed by jurisdiction.

• Levels of emergency.

5. Determine CEMP structure, format, content.

• Present, review examples of "best practices."

• Develop CEMP outline (table of contents).

• Establish outline and format of Basic Plan.

• Determine schedule of emergency function annexes or ESFs.

• Establish common outline, format, content for emergency function annexes or ESFs.

• Determine and agree on best approach to including special functions and hazards of local concern.

• Determine which “special subjects” will be appended to CEMP. Develop list.

• Determine schedule of diagrams, charts, maps.

6. Identify planning process participants and development of planning process workbook.

• Determine which jurisdiction departments, agencies, organizations will be involved in the planning process, and exactly how the contractor will work with and through jurisdiction's Emergency Manager.

• Develop questionnaire/planning process workbook to be distributed to planning process participants.

• Collect questionnaire/planning process workbooks, compile information and data for inclusion into CEMP, Special Subjects Digest, and EOC Manual.

• Establish data collection filing system.

7. Develop an ESF "primary/support" responsibility matrix.

• Identify and list the plan participants (potential resource providers).

• Develop a matrix that will be used to identify and assess participation of the various agencies involved. (CEMP participants listed on one axis, and the schedule of ESFs listed on the other axis.)

• Fill in matrix. For each EFS indicate which agency will have the lead role (primary) and which agencies will be in a supporting role.

8. Design EOC organization chart (basis for the jurisdiction’s incident management system).

• Determine the EOC functions.

• Determine the sections, branches, units, and assign appropriate departments and EFSs to each.

• Summarize and include details in CEMP Basic Plan.

• NOTE: Organizational chart is the table of contents for the EOC Manual.

9. Establish computer protocols, i.e. central control, back-up system, etc.

• Set up files for the various CEMP parts/sections on computer.

10. Begin writing plan.

11. Produce a first draft of the CEMP.

• Determine what information, content is missing.

• Include first draft of charts, diagrams, other display items.

• Submit to jurisdiction's emergency management staff for comment.

12. Produce a second draft of the CEMP from comments received on first draft and submit to jurisdiction's emergency management staff for comment.

13. Prepare final draft, making appropriate changes as per comments received from jurisdiction's emergency management staff for comment.

• Review and suggest changes to final draft.

14. Produce and submit to jurisdiction's emergency management staff final electronic copies of plan both in "Word" and "PDF".


  1. Reality! A lot of words to say get ready for the worst and be ready to deal with it.

    The section where you wrote other? Have the insurance to pay for the debris removal, recovery and re-build.

    Have sent it on to others btw


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