National Planning Frameworks: National Engagement Webinars

FEMA is hosting a series of 60-minute engagement webinars to discuss the update of the National Planning Frameworks. All webinars are open to the whole community, which encompasses—individuals (including those with disabilities and others with access and functional needs), businesses and nonprofits, faith-based and community groups, schools, and all levels of government. The sessions are scheduled for:

• Monday, May 18, 3:00 PM EDT
• Wednesday, May 20, 11:00 AM EDT
• Wednesday, May 27, 12:00 PM EDT
• Thursday, May 28, 10:30 AM EDT

Because each engagement webinar will cover the same information, please choose the session most convenient for you. Advance registration is required due to space limitations. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. To register, please visit: https://www.vjpo.org/private/ppd8/events/frameworksupdate.

If you require accommodations to participate in these events, please provide details in the Disability Related Accommodations field on the registration page or contact us at PPD8-Engagement@fema.dhs.gov.

To review the draft National Planning Frameworks, please visit http://www.fema.gov/learn-about-presidential-policy-directive-8. To provide comments, please complete the feedback form and submit to PPD8-Engagement@fema.dhs.gov. Comments made during the webinars are considered to be for discussion purposes only and may not be adjudicated formally.

The National Planning Frameworks, which are part of the National Preparedness System, set the strategy and doctrine for building, sustaining, and delivering the core capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal. They describe the coordinating structures and alignment of key roles and responsibilities for the whole community and are integrated to ensure interoperability across all mission areas.

This update of the National Planning Frameworks focuses on discrete, critical content revisions, and confirming edits as a result of comments received on the National Preparedness Goal. Additional changes in the current draft of the Frameworks are the result of the lessons from implementing the Frameworks and recent events, as well as the findings of the National Preparedness Report.

Questions can be directed to FEMA’s NIC at: PPD8-Engagement@fema.dhs.gov.

For more information on national preparedness efforts, visit: http://www.fema.gov/national-preparedness.

Keeping Up With Changes in Emergency Management

As with many things in life, the field of emergency management has changed and will continue to do so.  Much of this change is an evolution – generally positive and productive adjustments to make us more effective and efficient in what we do supported by doctrine and models to guide our actions and provide consistency of application.  Sometimes changes are made which simply give the illusion of progress or are applied much like a Band-Aid as a knee-jerk stop-gap measure which usually fail unless a better implementation is put in place.  Many of the better thought out applications, however, do tend to stick.  While we have seen a great deal of change in the field over the last 14 years, we have largely seen a clear progression with practitioners and policy makers learning from previous programs. 

Yesterday I encountered two separate instances which did not apply current practices and policies. The first was an advertisement for a training program which discussed the four phases of emergency management.  The second was an article in which the author stated that ‘…preparedness is no longer part of the (emergency management) lexicon…’.  The two items, while different, are related in that they both indicate a lack of understanding in the evolution we have made from the four phases of emergency management – mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. 

In a nutshell, these long standing phases began to change soon after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 with the integration of homeland security with emergency management resulting in the inclusion of ‘prevention’ into the emergency management phases – thus prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.  As minor as this seems, it was quite a change for those of us who had been in the world of the four phases for a while and was a difficult pill to swallow.  Along with the human nature of resistance to change there was still a feeling that the matter wasn’t quite fully settled – in other words, more change would come. 

For several years different models were kicked around but none really gained traction until the issuance of Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD8), which created the National Preparedness Goal and the National Preparedness System.  These begat things like the Core Capabilities (a revamping of the predecessor Target Capabilities) and the introduction of the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) as well as a new way of viewing the major activities within emergency management and homeland security – the five mission areas of prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.  These five mission areas have re-defined, or perhaps more accurately defined what it is that we do in emergency management and homeland security. 

The traditional four phases were often depicted in a cycle.  Taken literally, this meant that you progressed from one phase to the next in a series.  The truth of the matter was that each of the four phases could actually run simultaneously.  There was also a misunderstanding that preparedness was an isolated activity, when in actuality our preparedness efforts applied to all activities.  With the further evolution of homeland security the foundational activities of prevention and then protection were identified and defined.  Pulling together these five mission areas – prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery – the National Preparedness System provides for distinct preparedness activities identified for each mission area, an organization of the Core Capabilities within each mission area, and national planning frameworks which identify the role and goals of each mission area in achieving the national preparedness goal.  Not only has preparedness not gone away, but it has been elevated in status. 

PPD8 was probably the presidential directive with the greatest and broadest impact on our field of practice since Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD5) in 2003 which drove the implementation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  Keeping up with critical changes in our evolution such as these is absolutely imperative for practitioners.  Not only do these policy changes impact how we do our jobs individually and programmatically, but they impact how we coordinate with each other, which is and always will be the foundational essence of emergency management. 

How do you keep up with changes in our field of practice?

© 2014 Timothy Riecker