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Federal Response Plans

Federal plans specify both how emergency response organizations will work together and what will actually happen during an emergency response operation. Advance planning for emergencies can help minimize potential public health and environmental threats. The planning process helps emergency response organizations think through how they would respond to each type of incident and the resources that would be needed.

EPA works with other federal agencies (both military and civilian), state and local governments, industry, and even other countries to develop emergency response plans and procedures. The following are some key federal plans that guide EPA’s efforts:


National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan

The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan more commonly called the National Contingency Plan or NCP, is the federal government's plan for responding to both oil spills and releases of hazardous substances (including radioactive materials).

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National Infrastructure Protection Plan

EPA is the "Sector Specific" lead for the water sector under the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). The NIPP and supporting Sector-Specific Plans (SSPs) provide a coordinated approach to critical infrastructure and key resources protection roles and responsibilities for federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector security partners.

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National Response Framework

EPA's response to disasters or emergencies declared by the President is facilitated through the Department of Homeland Security's National Response Framework (NRF), formerly known as the National Response Plan.

The NRF presents the guiding principles that enable all response partners to prepare for and provide a unified national response to disasters and emergencies - from the smallest incident to the largest catastrophe. The NRF:

Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) provide the structure for coordinating Federal interagency support for a Federal response to an incident. They are mechanisms for grouping functions most frequently used to provide Federal support to States and Federal-to-Federal support, both for declared disasters and emergencies under the Stafford Act and for non-Stafford Act incidents.

EPA’s response efforts are coordinated under the NRF, through the Agency’s role as the Coordinator and Primary Agency for Oil and Hazardous Materials Response, under ESF #10. EPA is also a support agency for a number of other ESFs. ESFs that incorporate EPA involvement are indicated below by highlighted column and an asterisk, and described in greater detail below.

read more  Read more about all the ESFs (PDF) (6 pp, 122K, About PDF Files).

ESF #1 : Transportation
ESF #2 : Communications
ESF #3* : Public Works and Engineering
ESF #4* : Firefighting
ESF #5* : Emergency Management
ESF #6 : Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services
ESF #7 : Logistics Management and Resource Support
ESF #8* : Public Health and Medical Services
ESF #9 : Search and Rescue
ESF #10* : Oil and Hazardous Materials
ESF #11* : Agriculture and Natural Resource
ESF #12* : Energy
ESF #13* : Public Safety and Security
ESF #14* : Long-Term Community Recovery
ESF #15* : External Affairs

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ESF#10 - Oil and Hazardous Materials

read more Read more about the ESF #10 (PDF) .

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ESF #3 - Public Works and Engineering

read more Read more about the ESF #3 (PDF).

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ESF #4 Firefighting

read more Read more about the ESF #4 (PDF).

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ESF #5 Emergency Management Support to the Joint Field Office

read more Read more about the ESF #5 (PDF).

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ESF #8 Public Health and Medical

read more Read more about the ESF #8 (PDF).

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ESF #11 Agriculture and Natural Resource

read more Read more about the ESF #11 (PDF).

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ESF #12 Energy

read more Read more about the ESF #12 (PDF).

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ESF #13 Public Safety and Security

read more Read more about the ESF #13 (PDF).

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ESF #14 Long-Term Community Recovery

read more Read more about the ESF #14 (PDF).

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ESF#15 External Affairs

read more Read more about the ESF #15 (PDF).

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