Appendix H: Coordination and Command for Mass Evacuations
In Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5 (HSPD-5), President Bush called on the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a national incident management system to provide a consistent nationwide approach for Federal, State, tribal and local governments to work together to prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size or complexity. On March 1, 2004, after close collaboration with State and local government officials and representatives from a wide range of public safety organizations, Homeland Security issued the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which incorporates many existing best practices into a comprehensive national approach to domestic incident management, applicable at all jurisdictional levels and across all functional disciplines.
The NIMS represents a core set of doctrine, principles, terminology, and organizational processes to enable effective, efficient and collaborative incident management at all levels. To provide the framework for interoperability and compatibility, the NIMS is based on a balance between flexibility and standardization. One of the most important practices that has been incorporated into the NIMS is the Incident Command System (ICS), a standard, on-scene, all-hazards incident management system already in use by firefighters, hazardous materials teams, rescuers, and emergency medical teams. The ICS has been established by the NIMS as the standardized incident organizational structure for the management of all incidents.
NIMS standard incident command structures are based on the following three key organizational systems:
Multiagency Coordination Systems: These define the operating characteristics, interactive management components, and organizational structure of supporting incident management entities engaged at the Federal, State, local, tribal, and regional levels through mutual-aid agreements and other assistance arrangements.
ICS: The ICS defines the operating characteristics, interactive management components, and structure of incident management and emergency response organizations engaged throughout the life cycle of an incident.
Public Information Systems: These refer to processes, procedures, and systems for communicating timely and accurate information to the public during crisis or emergency situations.
In a letter written in October 2005, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the Governors that Hurricane Katrina was a stark reminder of how critical it is for our nation to approach incident management in a coordinated, consistent, and efficient manner. Secretary Chertoff emphasized that all levels of government need to work together to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from any emergency or disaster.
To better understand how ICS and NIMS relate to catastrophic evacuations, this appendix provides a description of the major components of the command structure for Federal, State, and local governments as discussed in Chapter II of this report.
HSPD-5 designates the Secretary of Homeland Security as the "principal Federal official" (PFO) for domestic incident management." The U.S. DOT plays support or leadership roles in many areas of emergency management, including Emergency Support Function (ESF) 1, Transportation, under the NRP. No incident, whether an evacuation is involved or not, can be successfully prepared for or recovered from without the movement of people and goods using our nation's transportation systems. In addition to the roles defined in the NRP, such as providing emergency exemptions on the transport of hazardous materials like fuel, the U.S. DOT also assists with preparation by supporting the development of intelligent transportation systems, and developing guidance for transportation professionals on emergency management. These roles are outlined in detail later in this appendix.
Multiagency Coordination Entity
This entity functions within a broader multiagency coordination system. It may establish priorities among incidents and associated resource allocations, de-conflict agency policies, and provide strategic guidance and direction to support incident management activities.
Interagency Incident Management Group (IIMG)
The IIMG is a Federal headquarters-level multiagency coordination entity that facilitates strategic Federal domestic incident management for Incidents of National Significance. The Secretary of Homeland Security activates the IIMG based on the nature, severity, magnitude, and complexity of the threat or incident. The Secretary of Homeland Security may activate the IIMG for high-profile, large-scale events that present high-probability targets, such as National Special Security Events (NSSEs), and in heightened threat situations. The IIMG is comprised of senior representatives from DHS components, other Federal departments and agencies, and NGOs, as required.
Joint Field Office (JFO) Coordination Group
Utilizing the NIMS principle of Unified Command, JFO activities are directed by a JFO Coordination Group, which may include the PFO, Senior Federal Law Enforcement Official (SFLEO), Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO)/Federal Resource Coordinator (FRC), or other SFOs with primary jurisdictional responsibility or functional authority for the incident.
The JFO Coordination Group also includes a limited number of principal State, local, and tribal officials (such as the State Coordinating Officer or SCO), as well as NGO and private-sector representatives. The JFO Coordination Group functions as a multiagency coordination entity and works jointly to establish priorities (single or multiple incidents) and associated resource allocation, resolve agency policy issues, and provide strategic guidance to support Federal incident management activities. Generally, the PFO, in consultation with the FCO and SFLEO, determines the composition of the JFO Coordination Group.
PFO: The PFO is the local representative of the Secretary of DHS, appointed to oversee, coordinate, and execute the Federal government's incident management responsibilities for Incidents of National Significance. Moreover, the PFO addresses long-term care and treatment of affected persons, implements additional measures for community restoration, incorporates mitigation measures and techniques as feasible, evaluates the incident to identify lessons learned, and develops initiatives to mitigate the effects of future incidents. Depending on the magnitude of the disaster, however, a PFO may not always be designated, in which case the FCO will provide the Federal lead.
SFLEO: The SFLEO is the senior law enforcement official from the agency with primary jurisdictional responsibility as directed by statute, Presidential directive, existing Federal policies, and/or the Attorney General. The SFLEO directs intelligence and investigative law enforcement operations related to the incident and supports the law enforcement component of the Unified Command on scene. In the event of a terrorist incident, this official will normally be the FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC).
FCO: The FCO manages and coordinates Federal resource support activities related to Stafford Act disasters and emergencies. The FCO is responsible for coordinating the timely delivery of Federal disaster assistance resources and programs to the affected State and local governments, individual victims, and the private sector. The FCO assists the Unified Command and/or the Area Command, and works closely with the PFO, SFLEO, and other SFOs. In Stafford Act situations where a PFO has not been assigned, the FCO provides overall coordination for the Federal components of the JFO.
FRC: In non-Stafford Act situations when a Federal department or agency acting under its own authority has requested the assistance of the Secretary of Homeland Security to obtain support from other Federal departments and agencies, DHS designates an FRC. In these situations, the FRC coordinates support through interagency agreements and MOUs. Relying on the same skill set, DHS may select the FRC from the FCO cadre or other personnel with equivalent knowledge, skills, and abilities. The FRC is responsible for coordinating the timely delivery of resources to the requesting agency.
SCO: The SCO represents the State, and is appointed to manage State resource support activities related to disasters and emergencies. The SCO is the State's principal point-of-contact with the Federal Government. Additionally, the SCO is responsible for coordinating the timely delivery of State disaster assistance resources and programs to the affected local governments, individual victims, and the private sector. The SCO works with the FCO to identify emergency response requirements for the State.
Multiagency Coordination Centers
Multiagency coordination centers and emergency operations centers (EOCs) provide central locations for operational information-sharing and resource coordination in support of on-scene efforts.
Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC)
The HSOC is the primary national hub for domestic incident management operational coordination and situational awareness. The HSOC is a standing 24/7 interagency organization fusing law enforcement, national intelligence, emergency response, and private sector reporting. The HSOC facilitates homeland security information-sharing and operational coordination with other Federal, State, local, tribal, and nongovernmental EOCs.
National Response Coordination Center (NRCC)
The NRCC is a multiagency center that provides overall Federal response coordination for Incidents of National Significance, including coordinating the use of Federal remote sensing and disaster assessment support, and emergency management program implementation. During an incident, the NRCC operates on a 24/7 basis or as required in coordination with other elements of the HSOC. To support incident operations, more than 40 departments and agencies from activated ESF primary and support agencies provide representatives to augment the NRCC. Moreover, FEMA maintains the NRCC as a functional component of the HSOC in support of incident management operations. The NRCC monitors potential or developing Incidents of National Significance and supports the efforts of regional and field components. If required, the NRCC will activate and deploy national-level entities such as the National Disaster Medical System, Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces, Mobile Emergency Response Support, and Emergency Response Team (ERT).
Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC)
The RRCC is a standing facility operated by FEMA that is activated to coordinate regional response efforts, establish Federal priorities, and implement local Federal program support until a JFO is established in the field and/or the PFO, FCO, or FRC can assume their National Response Plan coordination responsibilities. The RRCC establishes communications with the affected State emergency management agency and the NRCC, and coordinates deployment of the Emergency Response Team–Advance Element (ERT-A) to field locations. Moreover, the RRCC assesses damage information, develops situation reports, and issues initial mission assignments.
The JFO is a multiagency coordination center established locally. It provides a central location for coordination of Federal, State, local, tribal, nongovernmental, and private sector organizations with primary responsibility for threat response and incident support. The JFO enables the effective and efficient coordination of Federal incident-related prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery actions. The JFO organization adapts to the magnitude and complexity of the situation at hand, and incorporates the NIMS principles regarding span of control and organizational structure including management, operations, planning, logistics, and finance and administration. Although the JFO uses an ICS structure, it does not manage on-scene operations. Instead, the JFO focuses on providing support to on-scene efforts and conducts broader support operations that may extend beyond the incident site.
State (and Local) EOCs
The State EOC is a physical location at which the coordination of information and resources to support state incident management activities normally takes place. The State EOC may be a temporary facility or may be located in a more central or permanently established facility, perhaps at a higher level of organization within a jurisdiction. Moreover, it may be organized by major functional disciplines (e.g., fire, law enforcement, and medical services). When advance warning of potential disaster or emergencies is possible, DHS through its HSOC may deploy and request other Federal agencies to deploy liaison officers and personnel to the State EOC to assess the emerging situation. During an emergency, the State Governor will activate the State EOC.
As noted in the introduction, ICS is a standard, on-scene, all-hazards incident management system already in use by the Federal, State, local first responder community.
Area Command (Unified Area Command Structure)
An Area Command is established to oversee the management of multiple incidents that are each being handled by a separate ICS organization or to oversee the management of a very large or complex incident that has multiple incident management teams engaged. An Area Command Structure becomes a Unified Area Command Structure when incidents are multi-jurisdictional. Agencies work together through the designated members of the Unified Command to establish their designated Incident Commanders at a single Incident Command Post (ICP) and to establish a common set of objectives and strategies and a single Incident Action Plan. The organization has the responsibility to set overall strategy and priorities, allocate critical resources according to priorities, ensure that incidents are properly managed, and ensure that objectives are met and strategies followed. 
This is the field location at which the primary tactical-level, on-scene incident command functions are performed. The ICP may be collocated with the incident base or other incident facilities and is normally identified by a green rotating or flashing light.
Other Coordination Entities
Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA): DSCA refers to Department of Defense (DOD) support provided by Federal military forces, DOD civilians and contract personnel, and DOD agencies and components in response to requests for assistance during domestic incidents to include terrorist threats or attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies including mass evacuations.
Emergency Support Functions (ESFs): The ESFs serve as the coordination mechanism to provide assistance to State, local, and tribal governments or to Federal departments and agencies conducting missions of primary Federal responsibility. ESFs are activated by the NRCC or the RRCC and liaisons for each ESF receive mission assignment through the JFO. Overall, there are 15 ESFs identified in the NRP, including the following ESFs primarily involved in a mass evacuation event: Transportation (ESF-1), Emergency Management (ESF-5), Mass Care, Housing and Human Service (ESF-6), Resources Support (ESF-7), Public Health and Medical Services (ESF-8), Agriculture and Natural Resources (ESF-11), Public Safety and Security (ESF-13), and External Affairs (ESF-15).
ESF Coordinator: The ESF Coordinator has ongoing responsibilities throughout the prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation phases of incident management. The role of the ESF coordinator is carried out through a unified command approach as agreed upon collectively by the designated primary agencies. The responsibilities of the ESF coordinator include pre-incident planning and coordination, maintaining ongoing contact with ESF primary and support agencies, conducting periodic ESF meetings and conference calls, coordinating efforts with corresponding private-sector organizations, and coordinating ESF activities relating to catastrophic incident planning and critical infrastructure preparedness as appropriate.
U.S. DOT's Emergency Management Support Functions and Capabilities
ESF-1: Responsibilities are to assist Federal, State, and local agencies; tribal governmental entities; and voluntary organizations requiring transportation for incidents requiring Federal coordination. Activities within the scope of ESF-1 functions include processing and coordinating requests for Federal and civil transportation support as directed under NRP; reporting damage to transportation infrastructure as a result of the incident; coordinating alternate transportation services; coordinating the restoration and recovery of the transportation infrastructure; performing activities conducted under the direct authority of U.S. DOT elements such as air, maritime, surface, rail, and pipelines; and coordinating and supporting prevention, preparedness, and mitigation among transportation infrastructure stakeholders at the State and local levels. Within DOT, the Department's Emergency Response Team is the coordinating organization for emergency response to meet both the statutory and ESF-1 responsibilities of the Department.
U.S. DOT Office of Intelligence, Security, and Emergency Response (S-60): S-60 serves as U.S. DOT's focal point for leadership and direction on intelligence and emergency management matters, and executes the Secretary's delegated statutory and administrative authorities for U.S. DOT emergency management. S-60 is the catalyst for all Departmental emergency management efforts, and is responsible for affecting the Secretary's statutory responsibilities for transportation emergency management nationwide. As U.S. DOT's leading office on transportation emergency management, S-60 directs the Department's overall prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. These key duties include providing support for the Department's Emergency Response Team; providing transportation threat notifications; directing the intra- and inter-agency emergency coordination efforts at the regional level; developing and maintaining U.S. DOT's emergency management strategy, policies, and plans; and operating the DOT Crisis Management Center (CMC).
Crisis Management Center: The CMC serves as the central information communications center for the U.S. DOT. The CMC information systems, facilities, and staff collect, receive, analyze, synthesize, develop, and distribute transportation information. On a routine basis, the CMC serves as the Department's central information center for the dissemination and interchange of information among operating administration senior staff, emergency support staff, other Federal agencies, foreign transportation authorities, State and local government agencies, and the transportation industry. The CMC operations include provisions for developing lines of communications and promoting information interchange with transportation industry partners.
Modal Emergency Coordinators (ECs): The U.S. DOT modal ECs serve as the primary emergency points of contact for all U.S. DOT operating administrations. In addition, Headquarters ECs may have regional or division-level ECs assigned throughout the United States. During a disaster or other emergency event, ECs report to the CMC on the status of the transportation infrastructure specific to their mode, and work with their mode to support restoration and recovery of the transportation infrastructure as necessary. ECs provide modal subject matter expertise to ESF-1 as requested. For example, the FHWA Modal EC interacts with State DOTs in requesting waivers of size and weight regulations facilitating movement of disaster relief goods, personnel, and services.
Regional Emergency Surge Staff – The DOT Regional Emergency Transportation Coordinators and Representatives (RETCO/RETREP) provide full time, collateral duty and volunteer DOT staff to augment the below entities, when established. Their role is to provide direct support to the ESF-1 mission. ESF-1 Staff, including support agencies, are provided to the following organizations:
Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC): A regional component, the RRCC, may be established temporarily until the larger, more comprehensive Joint Field Office is established and functional.
Joint Field Office (JFO): Multiple Joint Field Offices may be established in support of an incident, for both regional-level and nationwide incidents. Note that, under certain circumstances, the Secretary will deploy a representative to one or more JFOs to serve as a Senior Federal Official in support of the Principal Federal Official under the National Response Plan.
State Emergency Operations Centers.
Local Emergency Operations Centers.
Local Incident Command.
Logistics Staging Areas
Local Points of Distribution (normally staffed by state and local personnel)
Evacuation Liaison Team (ELT): The primary role of the ELT, led by U.S. DOT in Region IV with support from FEMA Region IV, is to provide Federal, State, and local emergency management, highway patrol and law enforcement, public safety, and transportation officials with timely and accurate traffic and evacuation-related information during multi-State hurricane threats. The ELT supports regional hurricane response efforts by compiling, analyzing, and disseminating traffic-related information that can be used to facilitate the rapid, efficient, and safe evacuation of threatened populations.
State and Local
Governor: The Governor of the impacted State is the chief executive of the State and is responsible for the safety and welfare of its people. The Governor coordinates the state's assets and resources to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency situations. The Governor is the Commander-in-Chief of State military forces (i.e., National Guard when in State Active Duty or Title 32, United States Code Status and the authorized state militias) and in certain emergency conditions, the Governor has police powers to make, amend, and rescind orders and regulations.
Local Chief Executive Officer (CEO): A mayor or city or county manager, as a local jurisdiction's CEO, is responsible for the public safety and welfare of the people of that jurisdiction. The Local CEO is responsible for coordinating local resources to address the full spectrum of actions to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. Depending upon State and local law, the Local CEO has extraordinary powers to suspend local laws and ordinances, and may establish a curfew, direct evacuations, and, in coordination with the local health authority, order quarantine. The Local CEO negotiates and enters into mutual-aid agreements with other jurisdictions to facilitate resource-sharing. When the local jurisdiction's capabilities have been exceeded or exhausted, the Local CEO may request State and, if necessary, Federal assistance through the Governor.
Tribal CEO: The leader of a tribe is responsible for the public safety and welfare of the people within that tribe. As authorized by tribal government, the Tribal CEO is responsible for coordinating tribal resources to address the full spectrum of actions to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from incidents involving all hazards including terrorism, natural disasters, accidents, and other contingencies. The Tribal CEO has extraordinary powers to suspend tribal laws and ordinances, such as to establish a curfew, direct evacuations, and order quarantine. Furthermore, the Tribal CEO can request State and Federal assistance through the Governor of the State when the tribe's capabilities have been exceeded or exhausted. Also, this individual can elect to deal directly with the Federal Government. (Although a State Governor must request a Presidential disaster declaration on behalf of a tribe under the Stafford Act, Federal agencies can work directly with the tribe within existing authorities and resources.)
State Emergency Management Agency: A state emergency management agency is designated by the governor to plan, prepare for, and support the state's response to a variety of emergencies and hazards. The agency creates emergency operations plans for the state to support emergency management functions and prepares state contingency plans designed to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from all hazards. All state plans are to be coordinated and in sync with local, tribal, and regional emergency management activities.
Law Enforcement Agencies (State): Each State has jurisdiction for enforcement of State law, using State and local resources, including the National Guard (to the extent that the National Guard remains under State authority and has not been called into Federal service or ordered to active duty). The local and State law enforcement agencies within an affected area, among other responsibilities, enforce law and order during a mass evacuation.