The purpose of this section is to provide frequently asked questions and answers about the National Disaster Recovery Framework, a guide that enables effective recovery support to disaster-impacted States, Tribes, Territorial and local jurisdictions.
- What is the National Disaster Recovery Framework?
The National Disaster Recovery Framework is a guide designed to ensure coordination and recovery planning at all levels of government before a disaster, and defines how we will work together, following a disaster, to best meet the needs of states and communities in their recoveries.
This guide is the product of efforts to meet requirements from two key directives: first, the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 requires FEMA to develop a National Disaster Recovery Strategy. Additionally, Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-8, National Preparedness directs FEMA to work with interagency partners to publish a National Disaster Recovery Framework and supporting operational plans as an integral element of a National Preparedness System.
- What kind of outreach has been done to develop the National Disaster Recovery Framework?
The National Disaster Recovery Framework was developed in partnership, and through extensive outreach, with Federal, state, local, tribal, private and non-profit partners who have a stake in the immediate and ongoing recovery following a disaster.
Outreach sessions, that began in Fall 2009, by the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Working Group resulted in thousands of comments and recommendations from more than 600 stakeholders representing Federal, Tribal, state and local governments, public and private organizations, including communities recovering from disasters. This feedback informed the development of the draft National Disaster Recovery Framework.
The draft National Disaster Recovery Framework was published in the Federal Register, in January 2010, for public comment. FEMA reviewed the more than 2,000 comments to further refine the final version of the National Disaster Recovery Framework.
- What is new in the National Disaster Recovery Framework?
The National Disaster Recovery Framework, for the first time, defines how, as a nation, we will approach recovery. The National Disaster Recovery Framework establishes coordination structures, leadership roles and responsibilities, and guides recovery planning at all levels of government before a disaster happens.
The National Disaster Recovery Framework introduces recovery support functions that are led by designated federal coordinating agencies. These coordinating federal agencies support state, local, tribal and private sector groups with community planning and capacity building, regaining economic stability, rebuilding infrastructure, restoring health and social services, and natural and cultural resources and meeting the housing needs of residents displaced by disasters.
In addition, the National Disaster Recovery Framework recommends and identifies key recovery leadership positions designed to allow for more concentrated focus on community recovery. These include State/Tribal disaster recovery coordinators and local disaster recovery managers, as well as a Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator when needed for large-scale and catastrophic disasters.
- When and where will the National Disaster Recovery Framework first be implemented?
FEMA has already begun field testing some of the concepts and constructs outlined in the National Disaster Recovery Framework in Alabama, Missouri and Tennessee. For example, in Alabama, the State aligned its coordination efforts with the Recovery Support Functions. FEMA and its partners followed suit, with the overarching Federal disaster recovery coordinator managing the overall recovery effort. In Tennessee, FEMA field tested the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator and the Recovery Support Function concepts. In the Joint Field Office organizational structure the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator role was established as a Deputy Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Long- Term Community Recovery (DFCO/LTCR). Also, several federal agencies deployed staff to participate in the National Disaster Recovery Framework field test. Staff from six agencies were mission assigned to the disaster and organized under the ESF #14 Coordination Branch: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Departments of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration, U.S Environmental Protection Agency, U.S Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) already deployed to the disaster for response activities, also participated in Recovery Support Function activities.
The effective implementation of the National Disaster Recovery Framework, whether or not in the context of a presidential disaster declaration, requires interagency cooperation and engagement across all levels of government and support from nongovernmental organizations and the private sector. FEMA and other federal agency partners will conduct various outreach efforts to make sure all stakeholders are briefed on the new concepts identified in the National Disaster Recovery Framework.
- Has FEMA documented lessons learned and results from the field tests?
Yes. Based on this initial implementation of the Recovery Support Functions and leadership positions, it is clear that these National Disaster Recovery Framework concepts present an opportunity for increased collaboration and coordination of recovery resources.
Early indications show that states find it useful to align their organizational coordination structure closely to the Recovery Support Functions. In Alabama, the interagency coordination through the Recovery Support Functions has helped to leverage existing federal funds.
For instance, the recovery support function focusing on economic stability, led by the U.S. Department of Commerce working closely with state partners (the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency) identified a potential local economic impact when a major employer in the area was looking to move operations to another location outside the state due to the flood, and damaged incurred to their facility. Working together and collaborating with other partner agencies, the team was able to present a retention package to the employer, and secure 1,180 jobs in Ashland City and Cheatham County.
- Why a Framework vs. Strategy?
FEMA believes that a Framework—a companion to the National Response Framework that outlines roles and responsibilities and a comprehensive organizing structure for disaster recovery—better describes what Congress requested in Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act.
Also, Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-8, National Preparedness directs FEMA to work with interagency partners to publish a National Disaster Recovery Framework and supporting operational plans as an integral element of a National Preparedness System.
- How will the National Disaster Recovery Framework change the way the Federal Government supports disaster recovery?
The National Disaster Recovery Framework establishes a clear structure for interagency and nongovernmental partners to align resources and work together to support recovery in a holistic, coordinated manner. The National Disaster Recovery Framework adds several new positions to the Joint Field Office structure for large-scale and catastrophic incidents, including the senior Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator that will allow for more concentrated focus on community recovery. These new positions will have the flexibility to be assigned to some of the hardest hit areas as a result of large-scale and catastrophic disasters so that as a community and a team the federal government can ensure a speedy and seamless recovery process.
- How does the National Disaster Recovery Framework incorporate the whole community in recovering from disasters?
The National Disaster Recovery Framework incorporates whole community values and emphasizes core principles that reflect the whole community objectives, such as individual and family empowerment and partnership and inclusiveness.
FEMA's Whole Community core values guide our approach to supporting disaster recovery, provide the basis for what the Agency does, and how FEMA personnel operate and interrelate with others.
- How will FEMA ensure partners are familiarized and trained to implement National Disaster Recovery Framework?
This National Disaster Recovery Framework, which helps to better define how we as a nation will approach recovery, is not a finish line, but just one part of our ongoing mission to better meet the needs of disaster survivors. We will continue to work with all of our stakeholders on ways to improve our programs, and better partner with the entire team, in our common goal to support communities as they recover.
FEMA will also be conducting briefings overtime with key stakeholders and the public in each Region following the initial rollout of the National Disaster Recovery Framework.
- How often will the National Disaster Recovery Framework be updated?
The National Disaster Recovery Framework is a living document that will continue to be updated to include annexes for each Recovery Support Function. We will continue to work with all of our stakeholders on ways to improve our common goal to support communities as they recover. Updates to the National Disaster Recovery Framework will be implemented to incorporate these improvements, as needed or every five years.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.