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This Directive was canceled January 11, 2001.

FHWA Emergency Preparedness Program
Classification Code Date Office of Primary Interest
1910.2 B October 21, 1997 HOTO-1


  1. Purpose
  2. Cancellation
  3. Authority
  4. Policy
  5. Organization and Responsibilities
  6. Program Elements

  1. PURPOSE. To prescribe policy and guidance for an emergency preparedness program that will continue a state-of-readiness within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to meet any emergency situation.

  2. CANCELLATION. FHWA Order 1910.2A dated July 11, 1983, FHWA Emergency Preparedness Program; FHWA Order 1910.1B dated July 11, 1983, FHWA Continuity of Operations; and Federal-Aid Policy Guide G4072.0 through G4072.11, Chapter 4, Emergency Standby Orders are canceled.

  3. AUTHORITY. Executive Order 12656, dated November 18, 1988, Assignment of Emergency Preparedness Responsibilities; Department of Transportation (DOT) Order 1900.8 dated March 15, 1984, Civil Emergency Preparedness Policies and Programs.

  4. POLICY. It is essential that the FHWA be in a state of readiness necessary to prepare for, cope with, and recover from the effects of an emergency or disaster (whether natural or human-caused) upon the Agency or on the Nation's highways. To assure this, all aspects of the emergency preparedness program are an integral part of FHWA's overall mission, functions, and responsibilities.


    1. Headquarters Office

        (1) The FHWA Emergency Coordinator, under the direction of the Chief, Federal-Aid and Design Division (HNG-10) shall:

          (a) represent the FHWA Administrator, as directed, on all mattersconcerning emergency preparedness,

          (b) develop and recommend policy and provide overall program direction related to the FHWA emergency preparedness program,

          (c) coordinate directly with the Office of Emergency Transportation in the Research and Special Programs Administration on matters pertaining to overall departmental emergency preparedness and operational readiness,

          (d) provide guidance and assistance in the development of FHWA emergency preparedness plans and, through FHWA field offices, the State highway agencies' (SHA) plans,

          (e) provide guidance to the FHWA and SHAs on the protection of critical highway facilities,

          (f) develop, maintain, and distribute to appropriate personnel a continuity of operations plan for the Washington Headquarters,

          (g) maintain a reliable emergency communications system for the Agency,

          (h) provide orientation and training to appropriate FHWA personnel on emergency preparedness matters and,

          (i) provide resources to support the FHWA participation in the Secretary's Crisis Management Center (CMC).

        (2) The Associate Administrators and Staff Office Directors shall:

          (a) be responsible in their respective organizations for developing, applying, and implementing FHWA policies and program procedures related to emergency preparedness,

          (b) provide for the discharge of their respective essential uninterruptible functions in an emergency and,

          (c) provide assistance, as necessary, in the development of emergency programs and procedures.

    2. Regional Offices

        The Regional Federal Highway Administrators shall:

        (1) assure implementation and support of the program elements set forth in paragraph 6,

        (2) develop a region-wide capability to carry out emergency programs and plans,

        (3) appoint a Regional Emergency Coordinator directly responsible to the Regional Administrator for the administration of the regional emergency preparedness program, and

        (4) publish, maintain, and distribute to appropriate personnel a continuity of operations plan for their regional offices.

    3. Division Offices

        The Division Administrators shall:

        (1) assure implementation and support of program elements as set forth in paragraph 6,

        (2) develop a capability to carry out emergency programs and plans,

        (3) appoint a Division Emergency Coordinator directly responsible to the Division Administrator for the administration of the division emergency preparedness program,

        (4) maintain and distribute a continuity of operations plan for the division, and

        (5) promote the development of an SHA capability to carry out emergency plans and programs.

    4. State Highway Agency Participation

        Division Offices should encourage the SHAs to develop plans to ensure continued SHA operations. The SHAs should:

        (1) prepare an Emergency Preparedness Plan, Continuity of Operations Plan, and Emergency Highway Traffic Regulation Plan,

        (2) appoint an Emergency Coordinator to administer the development and implementation of emergency programs,

        (3) provide for the conduct of emergency training and exercises,

        (4) encourage private sector representation in emergency preparedness activities and,

        (5) identify critical bridges, tunnels, and highway facilities vulnerable to potential acts of terrorism and possible alternatives to these facilities.


    1. Data Collection and Reporting. When an emergency or natural disaster occurs, the FHWA immediately becomes concerned with two issues: (1) the safety of its employees and their families and, (2) the extent of damages to the transportation infrastructure; namely roads, bridges, and tunnels. It is essential that efforts be made by all personnel to accurately report information on critical events in a timely manner.

    2. Federal, State, and Local Assistance. Subsequent to a disaster, FHWA field personnel may be called upon to assist Federal, State, and local officials with activities related to the Agency's Emergency Relief program or to provide information and advice on the Agency's Emergency Preparedness program.

    3. Emergency Communications. The need for reliable communication regarding the status of the highway infrastructure following a disaster is extremely important. It is the intent of FHWA to be able to maintain continuous communications capability should conventional communications systems fail. The Associate Administrator for Program Development's memorandum dated June 18, 1997, provides guidance on the FHWA's emergency communications program and equipment.

    4. Alert Bulletins. FHWA Order 5180.1E, FHWA Alert Bulletin Procedures, dated March 3, 1997, establishes the FHWA procedures for rapidly providing the Federal Highway Administrator, the Office of Emergency Transportation, and the Office of the Secretary of Transportation accurate information on major occurrences and catastrophes of local, regional, or national significance on the Nation's highways.

    5. Continuity of Operations Planning. The FHWA Headquarters and each FHWA field office shall develop procedures for the accountability of all personnel, the continuity of essential operations, and the relocation of essential personnel and records in the event of an incident that renders any FHWA office inoperable (i.e., the evacuation of an office building due to an explosion, flood, or earthquake). These procedures shall be documented in a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). All plans must include lists of essential functions, personnel or positions, and records. The Plan must also include a pre-established relocation site, a line of succession of leadership positions, and a procedure to account for all personnel. Meeting the above requirements will ensure uniformity among individual plans; however, the amount of information provided in each of these categories is an individual office choice. The overriding importance of the COOP is that it be concise, simple, direct, and understandable to facilitate disciplined action under confusing and stressful conditions. All personnel should be familiar with the COOP.

    6. National Security Coordination

        (1) At the Headquarters level, the FHWA is an active member of the U.S./Canada Emergency Planning Committee for Civil Transportation (EPCCT). This Committee consists of representatives from the U.S. DOT and its operating administrations, and Transport Canada (the Canadian DOT). The goal of the group is to jointly study problem areas in the field of transportation emergency planning requiring U.S./Canada agreement. The group meets annually to discuss issues such as cross-border transportation of hazardous materials, cross-border movements of emergency service vehicles, etc.

        (2) Also at the Headquarters level, the FHWA is involved with the U.S. DOT Security Working Group (SWG). This group consists of representatives from the Office of the Secretary's Office of Intelligence and Security and from each of the operating administrations. The SWG meets monthly to discuss issues such as critical infrastructure protection, special events and domestic threat advisories.

        (3) The FHWA also coordinates a number of specific issues and program areas with the Department of Defense's Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC). These issues and program areas have been grouped into five components which are described in the MTMC Coordination Action Plan. The five components of the Plan are: defense highway and bridge condition and performance assessment, oversized/overweight vehicles, emergency highway traffic regulation, military installation issues, and overall FHWA/MTMC coordination.

    7. Federal Response Plan (FRP) Participation

        (1) The FRP has its basis under Public Law 93-288, as amended. The Plan establishes the basis for provision of Federal assistance to a state and its affected local governments impacted by a catastrophic disaster or emergency. The Plan is based on the assumption that a significant disaster or emergency will overwhelm the capability of state and local government to carry out the extensive emergency operations necessary to save lives and protect property.

        (2) Resources of Federal departments and agencies, grouped into Emergency Support Functions (ESFs), are used to provide Federal response assistance to the state under the Plan. There are 12 designated ESFs under the Plan. The DOT is assigned the primary responsibility for management of ESF-1, Transportation. Its role is to provide leadership and coordination of all air, surface and marine transportation support activities involved in the emergency response effort. To carry out the Departmental role and responsibilities, DOT Order 1100.29G, Regional Emergency Transportation Coordinators and Representatives, dated October 15, 1993, established DOT Regional Emergency Transportation Coordinators (RETCOs) and DOT Regional Emergency Transportation Representatives (RETREPs) in each of the standard DOT Regions and Alaska. The DOT Order further describes the functions of these officials. The FHWA is the designated RETCO/RETREP in four of the nine DOT Regions and Alaska. RETCOs are the Secretary of Transportation's representative within the regions for all DOT emergency preparedness and response activities. The RETCOs serve as the leader of a multi-disciplinary transportation team which, at the discretion of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), responds on-site to significant emergencies or catastrophic disasters. FHWA field staff may be requested to serve on these response teams.

    8. Emergency Preparedness Training. Emergency preparedness training is available to FHWA personnel at two levels. The Office of Emergency Transportation conducts annual Regional emergency training exercises for ESF #1 team members and annual Headquarters training sessions for CMC personnel. Also, FHWA Headquarters, in coordination with its Regional offices, provides training to FHWA and State personnel on the FHWA's Emergency Preparedness Program. The goal of these training seminars is to promote better understanding of emergency regulations, responsibilities and processes, to share experiences related to these activities, and to achieve a state of readiness necessary to respond to and recover from a disaster. The FHWA Emergency Coordinator (HNG-10) may be contacted for further information related to emergency preparedness training.

/s/ Original signed by:
Gloria J. Jeff
Acting Federal Highway Administrator

Page last modified on October 19, 2015