The U.S. Department of Homeland Security produced this disaster-response document, "a guide to how the Nation conducts all-hazards response. It is built upon scalable, flexible, and adaptable coordinating structures to align key roles and responsibilities across the Nation. It describes specific authorities and best practices for managing incidents that range from the serious but purely local, to large-scale terrorist attacks or catastrophic natural disasters.
The overview goes on to say, "This document explains the common discipline and structures that have been exercised and matured at the local, tribal, State, and national levels over time. It describes key lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, focusing particularly on how the Federal Government is organized to support communities and States in catastrophic incidents. Most importantly, it builds upon the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which provides a consistent template for managing incidents.
The term "response" as used in this Framework includes immediate actions to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs. Response also includes the execution of emergency plans and actions to support short-term recovery. The Framework is always in effect, and elements can be implemented as needed on a flexible, scalable basis to improve response.
The Framework is written especially for government executives, private-sector and nongovernmental organization (NGO) leaders, and emergency management practitioners. First, it is addressed to senior elected and appointed leaders, such as Federal department or agency heads, State Governors, mayors, tribal leaders, and city or county officials - those who have a responsibility to provide for effective response. For the Nation to be prepared for any and all hazards, its leaders must have a baseline familiarity with the concepts and mechanics of the Framework.
At the same time, the Framework informs emergency management practitioners, explaining the operating structures and tools used routinely by first responders and emergency managers at all levels of government. For these readers, the Framework is augmented with online access to supporting documents, further training, and an evolving resource for exchanging lessons learned."