This page features information about the Response Division and the resources and support it provides.
To build, sustain and improve our ability to coordinate the core federal disaster response capabilities needed to save lives, reduce suffering, and protect property in communities that have been overwhelmed by the impacts of a disaster or emergency, regardless of cause.
What We Do
The Response Division provides the coordinated Federal response capabilities needed to save and sustain lives, minimize suffering, and protect property in a timely and effective manner in communities that have been impacted by natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other emergencies. Response program activities encompass the coordination of all federal emergency management response operations, response planning, logistics programs and integration of federal, state, tribal nation and local disaster programs. This coordination ensures efficient and effective delivery of immediate emergency assistance to individuals and communities impacted and overwhelmed by these disasters, emergencies, or acts of terrorism.
Operations Integration builds partnerships with local, state, tribal nation, and other federal agency partners before, during and after disasters to enhance overall capabilities and communication. Branch staff assist state personnel with assessing damages, evaluating the impact to communities and their citizens, determining initial resource shortfalls, and making requests for federal assistance.
Operations Planning Branch
Planning as a whole is at the heart of emergency management; before an incident, it builds response and recovery capabilities in coordination with Whole Community partners. During an incident, planning strategically coordinates response activities and after the incident, it facilitates an effective recovery effort. Operational planning, in particular, informs efforts to address incidents. This involves developing a concept of operations and concept of support for mitigating, responding to, and recovering from incidents. The resulting plans address resource deployment, clarify command and control, and assign roles and responsibilities prior to an event. Operational planning relies heavily on the engagement and participation of multiple partners and stakeholders across program, jurisdictional, and agency lines.
The central mission of logistics is to get the right resources to the right place at the right time. Accomplishing this requires sites, staff, equipment and supplies, as well as policies and protocols; each of which must be addressed pre-incident to ensure an effective and efficient response capability. Logistics staff assesses and responds to operational needs and resource requests from within FEMA as well as from regional state, tribal nation, and other federal agency partners.
Regional Watch Center
The Regional Watch Center (RWC) maintains 24-hour regional situational awareness to conduct analysis, determine possible impacts, identify potential and occurring incidents within their respective areas of responsibility, and report to the Regional Administrator, and directly support response operations at the regional level. The RWCs link the Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC), State Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), regional DHS components and other key State and local operational centers.
Incident Management Assistance Team
The Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) is an expeditionary, highly mobile team responsible for leading Federal efforts to support all-hazards response. The IMAT deploys to an incident to support local, State, Tribal, or territorial disaster response activities or to support another lead Federal agency as directed for non-Stafford Act incidents. Response-oriented with mission priorities of lifesaving, life-sustaining, property conservation, and incident stabilization, an IMAT becomes the control and coordination foundation for a survivor-centric incident management organization.
Disaster Emergency Communications
Regional Emergency Communications provide tactical disaster emergency communications capabilities to support all-hazards disaster response and national security emergency requirements. Regional Emergency Communications staff facilitate region-wide coordination among Federal, State, tribal nation, and local emergency communications stakeholders to ensure that FEMA provides maximum preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities and assets in the event of an incident. The staff also provides Federal agencies with a view into regional preparedness efforts to identify emergency communications shortcomings at the State and local level, and works to help ensure that Federal resources are provided to mitigate these risks.
FEMA operates ten regional watch centers that are staffed 24-hours a day to support our partners. Watch this short video to learn more:
- Alan Neidermeyer, Director, Region II Response Division