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Disaster Emergency Communications Division

Disaster Emergency Communications is a specialized field within the broader field of emergency communications.  Emergency communications covers all technical means and modes for public safety agencies at all levels of government (e.g. law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services) to perform their routine, daily communications.  Disaster emergency communications applies to those technical means and modes required to provide and maintain operable and interoperable communication before, during, and after presidentially declared emergencies, disasters, or planned National Special Security Events.

The Disaster Emergency Communications Division has six geographically dispersed Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) detachments and a number of Mobile Communications Office Vehicles (MCOV). To learn more about these capabilities, visit our page on Disaster Emergency Communications.

The Disaster Emergency Communications Division establishes, maintains, and coordinates effective disaster emergency communications services and information systems critical to FEMA’s role in coordinating the Federal government’s response, continuity efforts, and restoration of essential services before, during, and after an incident or planned event. The DEC Division promotes and provides operable and interoperable communications and information systems capabilities across all levels of government to ensure mission–critical information and situational awareness for emergency management decision makers and support elements. This is accomplished through:

  • Supporting effective tactical operable and interoperable voice, video, and information systems for federal emergency response teams.
  • Identifying and documenting mission-critical disaster emergency communication and information systems capabilities, requirements, solutions, and mitigation strategies. 
  • Developing effective command and control communications frameworks.
  • Supporting the coordination and delivery of secure communications solutions.
  • Promoting communications interoperability with Federal, State, tribal, and local emergency response providers.

Disaster Emergency Communications Division (Headquarters Element) The DEC Division at FEMA headquarters provides the executive leadership, program support, guidance, planning, and national intra-and interagency coordination required for the effective delivery of FEMA disaster emergency services. The DEC Division also advocates for the resolution of strategic policy issues impacting the communications needs of emergency responders, engages across the Federal government to support response to State and local governments and help establish consistent DEC operability and interoperability standards and capabilities, and facilitates a coordinated emergency communications response framework. Specifically, the DEC Division headquarter element performs the following roles:

  • Programmatic oversight and support, to include:
    • Doctrine, policy, and standards development and maintenance
    • Planning
    • Logistics and Budget
    • Interagency Coordination
    • Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Working Groups
    • Research, Testing, Development, and Evaluation
    • Lifecycle Management
    • Integration Management
    • Training and Exercises
    • Readiness Reporting
    • Security
    • Administrative Support
    • Engineering Review Board
    • Change Control Board
  • Operations:
    • Deployment and support of MERS Detachments
    • Spectrum management
    • Interagency all-hazards response coordination
    Last Updated: 
    03/24/2016 - 11:06