Community Lifelines

Why lifelines?

  • FEMA developed the community lifelines construct to increase effectiveness in disaster operations and better position the Agency to respond to catastrophic incidents
  • Lifelines are the most fundamental services in the community that, when stabilized, enable all other aspects of society
  • When disrupted, decisive intervention (e.g., rapid service re-establishment or employment of contingency response solutions) is required
  • During initial response, priority efforts focus on stabilizing community lifelines.
  • Lifelines provide an outcome-based, survivor- centric frame of reference that assists responders with:
    • Root Cause Analysis
    • Interdependencies
    • Prioritization
    • Ease of Communication

How were lifelines developed?

  • FEMA released initial guidance (Lifelines Toolkit) introducing the lifelines construct in February 2019, followed by significant stakeholder outreach and feedback including:
    • State and Local Emergency Managers
    • Interagency Partners
    • Private and Non-Profit Stakeholders
  • Construct was validated during responses to Hurricanes Michael, Florence, and Dorian, Super Typhoon Yutu, Alaska Earthquake, and during Shaken Fury full-scale exercise.
  • Lessons learned from exercises, operations, and stakeholder feedback resulted in refinement and improvement to the construct.
  • National Response Framework (NRF) 4th Edition formalized lifelines in national response policy
  • Enhanced Lifelines guidance (Lifelines Toolkit 2.0) released to support NRF Publication.
Lifeline Drive Response Graphic

View the Lifelines Toolkit online at: Community Lifelines Implementation Toolkit |

If you have any questions or feedback, please email them to:

Last updated October 14, 2021