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Region VII: National Preparedness

This page provides information about the National Preparedness Division's role in preparing our nation for disasters.

The preparedness cycle involves (in this order) planning; organizing and equipping; training, exercising and then evaluating to make improvements to the cycle.
We are professionals in emergency management planning, training and exercises, community outreach and emergency preparedness. The team focuses on increasing the emergency preparedness and building the emergency response capability of the Whole Community.

We are organized to provide federal and state coordination (Office of the Federal Preparedness Coordinator), planning, training, exercise and outreach (Regional Integration Branch) and planning for the protection of communities near nuclear power plants (Technological Hazards Branch).

Emergency Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, equipping, training, exercising, evaluating and taking corrective action to enable effective coordination during emergency response operations. By increasing the preparedness of the whole community, we can reduce the impact of future disasters on life, property, and the economy.

The Preparedness Cycle is one element of a broader National Preparedness System to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate against natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.

Federal and State Coordination (Office of the Federal Preparedness Coordinator)

This office includes the Director of the National Preparedness Division, the Regional Continuity Manager and administrative staff. The Director of the National Preparedness Division also performs the roles and functions of the Federal Preparedness Coordinator (FPC).

The FPC works with the whole community to reduce the impact of natural disasters, and to prepare communities, families and individuals for all possible hazards. The FPC provides leadership and guidance to our state, local and tribal partners to build the plans, resources and skills they need to respond to emergencies. The Regional Continuity Manager assists the FPC by working with other federal agencies to ensure they are prepared to perform essential public functions in the event of an emergency.

Maintaining Essential Government Functions (Continuity Program)

The Regional Continuity Manager works directly for the FPC and provides training and technical planning assistance to federal government agencies to improve their ability to perform essential public functions after an emergency.

Continuity of Operations (commonly referred to as COOP) is an effort within government departments and agencies at all levels and in the private sector, to ensure Mission Essential Functions (MEFs) continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents and technological or attack-related emergencies. Mission Essential Functions are those things the organization must continue to do even during emergency conditions. For example, if the local fire station is damaged by a storm, the fire department still needs to provide firefighting services to the community.

Interested in the latest Continuity of Operations news? Sign Up for GovDelivery Continuity of Operations Updates!

Resources: Continuity of Operations related publications, guidance, grant information and brochures.

Training: A wide range of free online courses are available through the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Independent Study program Use keyword ‘continuity’ in the Search IS field.

Continuity Practitioner certification: FEMA manages a professional certificate program in Continuity that includes two levels:

Webinars: Occur on the first Wednesday of every month at 1 pm (Central Time). A variety of Continuity topics are presented by subject matter experts across the nation. Recent webinars have provided information on continuity drills, public alert and warning systems and a variety of related topics. Learn more about the Continuity Webinar Series.

Learn more on FEMA’s Continuity of Operations website; it is also available in Spanish.

Planning, Training, Exercise, and Outreach (Regional Integration Branch)

The Regional Integration Branch (RIB) includes specialists in risk analysis, community preparedness and outreach, emergency management standards and guidance, emergency management training and exercises and continuous improvement.

We coordinate with all FEMA Region VII programs to build preparedness as the foundation for the five emergency management mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery. We also work with all levels of government and the whole community to promote a coordinated, nationwide effort to increase emergency preparedness and emergency management capabilities.

The Regional Integration Branch (RIB) provides technical assistance, guidance, and support to state, tribal, and local jurisdictions and regional federal agency offices. We help them develop and maintain preparedness activities that support Presidential Policy Directive Eight (PPD-8).

RIB manages several programs to assist government, community and private sector organizations increase their preparedness. These programs include:

  • National Preparedness System (NPS) Integration, including Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA)

  • Individual and Community Preparedness

  • National Incident Management System (NIMS)

  • Training

  • Exercises

  • Continuous Improvement and Lessons Learned

Identification and Assessment of Community Risks (National Preparedness System Integration)

The NPS Integration staff are specialists in identifying and analyzing community risks and hazards from natural events such as tornados and floods, human caused events like chemical spills and even intentional threats such as a cyber attack.

We help state, tribal, and local government agencies assess their greatest disaster risks and develop strategies to address those risks. We provide guidance and help coordinate the efforts of our partners to ensure preparedness efforts are focused on the most important threats to the region.

Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) is a four step risk assessment process that helps the whole community understand its risks and estimate what resources and capabilities it needs to address those risks. Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 201 (CPG 201), Second Edition describes the process to conduct a THIRA.

The THIRA supports the National Preparedness Goal and National Preparedness System.

Individual and Community Preparedness

The Community Preparedness staff are specialists in emergency preparedness outreach, information sharing, and coordination.

We work with government, private sector, voluntary, community- and faith-based organizations to promote emergency preparedness for all types of natural and man-made hazards.

To help reduce the loss of life and property from disasters in communities we serve, we promote these three key steps individuals can take to prepare themselves and their families for emergencies:

  • Be Informed – What hazards are most likely to affect you and what steps should you take before, during and after an emergency? Fire, flooding and severe storms can strike almost anywhere, but there may be other hazards in your neighborhood or place of business.

  • Make a Plan – What will you do, where will you go and how will you communicate with your family after a disaster? A good family emergency plan will help ensure everyone is safe and help you recover more quickly after a disaster.

  • Build a Kit – You should have an emergency supply kit with food, water and essential items to last for at least 72 hours. After a disaster it may take time for emergency services to reach you, so having these supplies on hand will help you through the emergency and reduce the demand on government and voluntary response organizations.

FEMA’s Ready Campaign teaches individuals and businesses how to prepare for disasters.

If you would like to help your community prepare for disasters, Get Involved! Here are a few examples of nation-wide organizations and programs that help make our communities safer and more disaster resilient:

  • Citizen Corps – Promotes education, training and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger and better prepared to respond to any type of disaster.

  • Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) – CERT educates the public about disaster preparedness for hazards that are most likely to affect their community. It also trains CERT members in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

  • America’s PrepareAthon! – America’s PrepareAthon! (AP!) is the national action-based campaign to build and maintain emergency preparedness. AP! encourages individuals, families, organizations, and communities to Take Action to prepare for specific hazards by participating in emergency drills, testing emergency communication plans, conducting an exercise, downloading emergency preparedness apps, or performing other activities. AP! events are focused on April and September, but can occur any time during the year. Learn about events near you or create your own event today!

Emergency Management Standards and Guidance (National Incident Management System)

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) Coordinator is a subject matter specialist on NIMS and related policies that provide guidance to the nation on how we plan for and respond to emergencies.

We work with emergency management officials in all levels of government, the private sector and voluntary organizations to help them use the principles and standards in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to improve emergency planning, organization, training, exercise and response operations.

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons highlighted the need to improve emergency management and incident response across the country. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is the nation’s approach to ensuring all levels of government, voluntary organizations and the private sector work together seamlessly to manage incidents involving all threats and hazards. NIMS provides the guiding concepts and principles for emergency management including training, organization, communications and resources. NIMS provides the foundation to the National Preparedness System and the template for managing incidents in support of all five National Planning Frameworks.

NIMS Alerts provide updated information on new NIMS guidance, tools, and other resources. Examples include new NIMS related training courses, new resource management guidance and updates to the NIMS document. You can also sign up to receive email or text notifications from GovDelivery when new NIMS Alerts are released.

Did You Know?... The NIMS document is currently being revised. Watch NIMS Alerts for updates.

Emergency Management Training

The Regional Training staff are specialists in planning, managing and conducting emergency management training programs.

We coordinate both disaster-related and professional development training for FEMA Region VII staff. We also work closely with the state training officers to ensure their emergency management training programs meet current requirements and support their needs.

The resources below provide a broad array of training to address the needs of first responders, emergency management professionals, elected officials and citizens:

  • Emergency Management Institute – EMI is the emergency management community’s flagship training institution.

  • Center for Domestic Preparedness – CDP identifies, develops, tests and delivers training to state, local and tribal emergency response providers. It is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's only federally chartered Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) training center.

  • National Fire Academy - NFA works to enhance the ability of fire and emergency services and allied professionals to deal more effectively with fire and related emergencies. Free training courses and programs are delivered at the campus in Emmitsburg, Maryland, online, and throughout the nation.

  • National Domestic Preparedness Consortium – NDPC is a DHS/FEMA training partner providing high-quality training to emergency responders throughout the United States and its territories.

  • Center for Homeland Defense and Security – CHDS has been the nation’s premier provider of homeland security graduate and executive level education since 2002.

Emergency Management Exercise Planning and Coordination

 Strategy Planning; Design and Development; Conduct; Evaluation; and Improvement Planning.The Regional Exercise staff are specialists in planning, coordinating and conducting exercises to test emergency management plans and procedures.

We work with all levels of government to develop, coordinate and execute emergency management exercises in support of the National Exercise Program.

Exercises are a critical step in an emergency preparedness program. They are used to test emergency plans and operations, verify procedures and communications and identify gaps or potential improvements.

The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) provides guidance for building and managing an organization’s exercise program. It also includes information on how to plan and conduct individual exercises.

Improving Emergency Plans and Operations (Lessons Learned / Continuous Improvement)

The Lessons Learned/Continuous Improvement coordinator is a specialist in analyzing emergency management operations and exercises to identify ways to improve plans and procedures.

We work with staff at FEMA disaster response and recovery operations and exercises to collect information about what went well, what needs improvement and what solutions were found (Best Practices) for problems that could arise in future events. Collectively, this type of information is called “Lessons Learned." We then help them analyze this information to develop an After-Action Report detailing the problems identified, Lessons Learned, and Best Practices used. We also develop processes to ensure the Lessons Learned are fed back into the cycle of planning, organizing and training. This creates a cycle of continuous improvement, making future emergency management plans and operations more effective.

Did You Know?... FEMA’s Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS) program has completed the consolidation of content previously available on with the Naval Postgraduate School’s Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL). As part of the consolidation effort, nearly 23,000 documents were transferred to the HSDL document library. We believe this consolidation will improve the whole community’s access to valuable information.

Emergency Planning for Communities near Nuclear Power Plants (Technological Hazards Branch)

The Technological Hazards Branch (THB) is a team of specialists in emergency management planning and exercises for communities near nuclear power plants. Our primary goals are to ensure the health and safety of citizens living around commercial nuclear power plants would be protected in the event of a nuclear power plant accident and to inform and educate the public about radiological emergency preparedness.

We coordinate the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program (REPP), a cooperative effort with the Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) located in FEMA Region VII. We work closely across the spectrum of local, state and federal government agencies, first responders, voluntary organizations and the private sector (including NPPs) to help develop emergency plans to protect the safety of individuals in nearby communities in case of an emergency. We also conduct periodic evaluations and exercises of radiological emergency plans.

These plans only address “offsite” activities: state, tribal and local government emergency planning and preparedness efforts that take place outside the NPP boundaries. “Onsite” activities continue to be the responsibility of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

We are responsible for the following Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs):

  • Cooper Nuclear Station, Brownville, Neb.

  • Quad Cities Generating Station, Cordova, Ill.

  • Duane Arnold Energy Center, Palo, IA

  • Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station, Blair, Neb.

  • Callaway Energy Center, Reform, Mo.

  • Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station, Burlington, Kan.

Learn more about the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program (REPP).

Last Updated: 
01/09/2018 - 17:02