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