Emergency Support Functions (ESFs)

The Emergency Support Functions (ESF) model, created by FEMA/DHS, is used for organizing and “bundling” the management of resources before, during and after a critical event. These various functions are typically identified within an organization’s Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). The development journey of this framework is a long and complex one. However, the adopted, updated principles are outlined in the National Response Framework, Third Edition (2016).

While FEMA organizes its response resources and capabilities under this ESF model, an increasing number of state, local and tribal governments are adopting the approach as well.  For example, The State of California recently transitioned to ESFs from a more function-based framework.

According to FEMA, because state and local jurisdictions establish ESFs based on their specific risks and needs, there is no mandatory linkage to the federal ESFs. Local and state governments are encouraged to engage members of the whole community as part of whatever coordinating processes they use.

BOLDplanning and ESFs

As such, BOLDplanning’s online software platform allows emergency managers and continuity professionals in all sectors to easily adopt the ESF model within their Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs).

ESFs can be followed as a standard approach in our EOP templates, while being tailored to individual state, local and tribal needs. Additionally, BOLDplanning consultants are trained and have real-world experience in implementing the ESF framework. Our on-site customer workshops are customized towards optimizing ESF planning for both government and non-governmental clients.

The end result is an EOP that follows best practices and aligns well with federal guidelines.

A State ESF Example

For reference and idea generation, the following ESF descriptions provide an example of federal definitions that have been tailored towards a state EOP:

ESF 1: Transportation

Assists in the management of transportation systems and infrastructure during domestic threats or in response to incidents.

ESF 2: Communications

Coordinates government and industry efforts for the reestablishment and provision of critical communications infrastructure, facilitates the stabilization of systems and applications from malicious cyber activity, and coordinates communications support to response efforts.

ESF 3: Construction and Engineering

Organizes the capabilities and resources to facilitate the delivery of services, technical assistance, engineering expertise, construction management, and other support.

ESF 4: Fire and Rescue

Monitors the status of fire mutual aid activities. Coordinates support activities related to the detection and suppression of urban, rural, and wildland fires and emergency incident scene rescue activities and provide personnel, equipment, and supplies to support local jurisdictions.

ESF 5: Management

Coordinates and resolves issues in the four phases of emergency management to ensure consistency in the development and maintenance of annexes. During emergencies, serves in an advisory capacity to the EOC Director.

ESF 6: Care and Shelter

Coordinates actions to assist responsible jurisdictions to meet the needs of victims displaced during an incident including food assistance, clothing, non-medical care and sheltering, family reunification, and victim recovery.