The purpose of this page is to provide information on the National Response Framework. The National Incident Management System is intended to be used by the whole community. The intended audience for this page is individuals, families, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and local, state, tribal, territorial, insular area, and Federal governments.
National Response Framework
Government resources alone cannot meet all the needs of those affected by terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other catastrophic events. When disaster strikes, people throughout the community and our nation pitch in to help the response effort.
The second edition of the National Response Framework (NRF), updated in 2013, provides context for how the whole community works together and how response efforts relate to other parts of national preparedness. It is one of the five documents in a suite of National Planning Frameworks. Each Framework covers one preparedness mission area: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response or Recovery.
- National Planning Frameworks Overview
- National Response Framework (second edition)
- National Response Framework Information Sheet
- ESF, Support, and Incident Annexes
Focus on Immediate Needs
The Response Framework covers the capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred. Response activities take place immediately before, during and in the first few days after a major or catastrophic disaster. Then, recovery efforts begin to help the community get back on its feet.
Roles and activities found in other Frameworks affect response efforts in many ways. For example, when people proactively do things to lessen the impact of future disasters—as described in the National Mitigation Framework—they may need fewer response resources when a disaster strikes.
The Updated Response Framework
While some other Frameworks debuted in 2013, the second edition of the NRF is based on an existing version released in 2008. The new NRF incorporates a focus on whole community and core capabilities. For example, the Framework now describes the important roles of individuals, families and households in response activities.
Also, the Frameworks are intended to be strategic documents, with tactical planning and concept of operations content reserved for the new Federal Interagency Operational Plans (FIOPs). As a result, the revised NRF is shorter and more strategic than its predecessor.
Changes in the New NRF
The Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) maintain their prominence in the updated NRF, as they are a proven and effective way to bundle and manage resources. They are included as the primary coordinating structures at the federal level.
The revised National Response Framework:
- Has a modified structure that is consistent with the other National Planning Frameworks released in 2013.
- Incorporates the “whole community” term and concept. The concept is consistent with 2008 NRF but was not called “whole community” until the revision.
- Recognizes Families, Individuals and Households as a main component of the whole community. The Framework has a section to describe their roles and responsibilities and incorporates related activities and coordinating structures.
- Features the core capabilities aligned to the Response mission area and provides definitions, critical tasks and examples of organizations that deliver each capability.
- Identifies the Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) as the primary federal coordinating structures for delivering Response core capabilities. The 2008 NRF included ESFs but did not formally recognize them as coordinating structures.
- Removed the Planning chapter from the existing NRF, as it will have a more appropriate home in the new Response FIOP. The revised NRF briefly discusses planning and refers to the FIOP.
- Removed the Recovery section, as the content now resides in the National Disaster Recovery Framework, released in 2011.
- Removed the descriptions of positions and responsibilities at the field support structure level, as they will be covered in the Response FIOP.
- Places greater emphasis on the role of federal agencies in non-Stafford Act incidents.
Response Core Capabilities
Core capabilities are the distinct elements needed to achieve the National Preparedness Goal. There are 14 covered in the NRF:
- Public Information and Warning
- Operational Coordination
- Critical Transportation
- Environmental Response/Health and Safety
- Fatality Management Services
- Infrastructure Systems
- Mass Care Services
- Mass Search and Rescue Operations
- On-Scene Security and Protection
- Operational Communications
- Public and Private Services and Resources
- Public Health and Medical Services
- Situational Assessment
The Framework also lists several critical tasks for each core capability. Here’s an example under the Public Information and Warning core capability:
Deliver credible messages to inform ongoing emergency services and the public about protective measures and other life-sustaining actions and facilitate the transition to recovery.