The National Preparedness System diagram. Encircling the diagram is "Whole Community", "National Incident Management System (NIMS)", "Core Capabilities"Identifying & Assessing Risk Estimating Capability Requirements Building & Sustaining Capabilities Planning to Deliver Capabilities Validating Capabilities Reviewing & Updating


Planning provides a methodical way to engage the whole community in thinking through the life cycle of a potential crisis, determining required capabilities, and establishing a framework for roles and responsibilities. It shapes how a community envisions and shares a desired outcome, selects effective ways to achieve it, and communicates expected results. Each jurisdiction's plans must reflect what that community will do to address its specific risks with the unique resource it has or can obtain.

Planning Tools

FEMA provides several tools that aid communities in their planning process.

  • Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101 – CPG 101 provides guidelines on developing emergency operations plans (EOP). It promotes a common understanding of the fundamentals of risk-informed planning and decision making to help planners examine a hazard or threat and produce integrated, coordinated, and synchronized plans.

  • Hazard Mitigation Planning Resources – FEMA provides a suite of hazard mitigation planning tools that are publically available and are intended to support the mitigation planning process, including developing and implementing local mitigation plans.

  • Strategic and Operational Planning – FEMA provides resources to support overarching planning activities. Strategic and operational planning establishes priorities, identifies expected levels of performance and capability requirements, provides the standard for assessing capabilities and helps stakeholders learn their roles.

  • Hazard Explorer Toolkit - FEMA provides a suite of publicly available location-enabled data, analysis tools, and smart practices to support and inform all types of planning efforts and exercise design & conduct. 

FEMA provides additional Planning Guides and Tools as part of the National Planning System.

Preparedness Cycle Diagram - Exercise to Evaluate/Improve to Plan to Organize/Equip to Train


Links to the Preparedness Cycle:

Plan: Planning to deliver capabilities is a key component of the preparedness cycle. Planning makes it possible to manage the entire life cycle of a potential crisis. Strategic and operational planning establishes priorities, identifies expected levels of performance and capability requirements, provides the standard for assessing capabilities, and helps stakeholders learn their roles. The planning elements identify what an organization’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) should include for ensuring that contingencies are in place for delivering the capability during a large-scale disaster.



Critical Linkages

Planning to deliver the capabilities relies on NIMS resource typing definitions & job titles/position qualifications, resource inventorying, and mutual aid.

  • National Incident Management System (NIMS) – NIMS is a systematic, proactive approach to guide communities at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work together seamless and manage incidents.

  • Resource Typing Library Tool (RTLT) – RTLT is an online catalog of all NIMS resources typing definitions and job titles/position qualification sheets that have been released by FEMA.

  • Resource Inventory System (RIS) – Resource Inventory System (RIS) is a centralized, secure, and cloud-hosted resource inventory solution. It is provided by FEMA and available at no cost for use by local, state, tribal, and territorial agencies as well as NGOs and other partners. 

  • Mutual Aid Resources and Tools – FEMA provides several resources and tools to aid in mutual aid planning and integration including model intrastate mutual aid legislation. FEMA also supports the Emergency Management Assistance Compact that serves as the firm legal foundation for the movement of resources across state boundaries during Governor-declared states of emergency.