Colorado Hazard and Incident Response and Recovery Plan
In 2016, FEMA released an updated version of all four National Planning Frameworks, with changes reflecting lessons learned from major events such as Hurricane Sandy. Despite the alterations, these four elements are not stovepipe plans that discuss linkages between each other but instead address different audiences within each emergency management organization. If we are to truly have seamless integration between mission areas, the linkage needs to become stronger and more easily recognizable.
Colorado’s statewide emergency management program is based on the four pillars of emergency management: Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. However, there is a special relationship between response and recovery that is traditionally overlooked. Typically, response is measured in days to weeks, receiving prompt attention and earning notoriety. Conversely, the recovery phase is measured in years and is equally important but also easily forgotten. The same priorities exist for each phase: preservation life, public safety, incident stabilization, protection of property, restoration of critical utilities and essential program functions, and stakeholder coordination.
Colorado sought to improve the bond between response and recovery and undertook the consolidating of the State Emergency Operations Plan and the State Recovery Plan into a single document. This was not a cut and paste effort merging portions of the each plan together or to make the Recovery Plan an annex to the Emergency Operations Plan. The objective was to provide cohesive and transitional guidelines from response to recovery in one plan. What we have found is that the key element lies within the Emergency Support Functions (ESF) and Recovery Support Functions (RSF); those are the central areas where the simultaneous and subsequent actions take place. Many identified lead and support agencies to the National Response Framework (NRF) and the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) are contained within the responsibility of their associated State agency.
As with all plans, not every possibility can be addressed and each incident is different in scope and complexity, additional refinement will be needed based upon lessons learned from the State's experiences with future incidents and exercises.