COLUMBIA, MD – November 16, 2011


National Disaster Recovery Framework Based on ERI / All Hands Consulting Best Practices

The basis for the newly released National Disaster Recovery Framework is the concept of “Recovery Support Functions” (RSFs). The original idea and concepts of RSFs was born in Cape Coral, Florida in 2001-2002. This pioneering work was the result of Rick LaValla, President of ERI International and Co-Founder and Vice President of All Hands Consulting, done under contract with the City of Cape Coral.

Mr. LaValla conducted recovery workshops and focus groups with Cape Coral Fire Chief and Emergency Manager William “Bill” Van Helden in 2001 and 2002 which led to the development of the recovery function concept. Rick recalled that “It was late one evening that the epiphany occurred; we were staring at the walls and reviewing the work of the focus group when suddenly it occurred to me that if we use ESFs for response, then why not use RSFs for recovery?”. Bill and Rick quickly brainstormed and developed a recovery framework based on RSFs.

This pioneering work was then utilized in Hilton Head Island, SC and Jefferson County, AL; many other local jurisdictions, and ultimately in Monroe County, FL. FEMA uses the Cape Coral Recovery Plan at EMI and its RSFs are a case study and best practice in their Disaster Recovery Planning courses. Out of all this sprang the newly released National Disaster Recovery Framework.

Many AHC clients are now using the RSF framework in their CEMP Recovery Annex and in their Recovery Plans and procedures.

Emergency Support Functions and Recovery Support Functions

Local government response to and recovery from emergencies and disasters begins with activation of Emergency Support Functions (ESFs). ESFs represent groupings of types of assistance activities that local government citizens and visitors are likely to need in times of emergency or disaster. A lead agency/department for each ESF is indicated, and is responsible for coordinating the delivery of that ESF to the emergency area. The lead agency/department is responsible for identifying the resources within the ESF that will accomplish the mission, and will coordinate the resource delivery. During emergencies, the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) determines which County ESFs are activated to meet the disaster response needs.

Recovery planning also begins when the EOC is activated. Recovery planners begin an assessment of the disaster impacts and determine which Recovery Support Functions (RSFs) will be activated to meet the local government’s recovery needs. Just like ESFs, Recovery Support Functions represent groupings of types of recovery activities and programs that the local government and its citizens/visitors are likely to need following disaster. Some ESFs will become RSFs as their scope changes from “emergency” to “recovery.” An example is the “ESF: Public Information”. During the emergency phase, this ESF is concerned with the issuing of warning, emergency instructions and information. As the emergency phase ends and the recovery phase begin, this function becomes RSF: Public Information, and is now concerned with providing recovery information, post disaster health and safety information, and so.

Just like ESFs, a “primary” agency/department for each RSF is indicated, and will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of the recovery activity or programs. The primary agency/department will be responsible for identifying the resources (support departments and organizations) within the RSF that will accomplish the post disaster activities. The primary agency/department is also responsible for coordinating the resource delivery.

Schedule of RSFs

While the NDRF describes six federal RSFs that can be activated to support state and local governments, there are many more RSFs to consider. Disasters are owned by local governments and they have many more recovery tasks to consider than the federal government does.

Local government RSFs can include:

RSF # 1Impact Assessment (Disaster Assessment)
RSF # 2Continuation of Government
RSF # 3Public Information; Community Relations
RSF # 4Human Services (Short–term)
RSF # 5Individual Assistance
RSF # 6Volunteers and Donations
RSF # 7Unmet Needs
RSF # 8Debris Management
RSF # 9Reentry, Security
RSF # 10Health
RSF # 11Safety
RSF # 12Repair and Restoration of Public Infrastructure, Services, Buildings
RSF # 13Building Inspections and Permits
RSF # 14Rebuilding, Construction, Repairs, Restoration
RSF # 15Housing
RSF # 16Redevelopment (Planning and Community Development)
RSF # 17Economic Restoration and Development
RSF # 18Environmental Concerns
RSF # 19Mitigation
RSF # 20Recovery Administration and Finance
RSF # 21Mutual Aid

For more information on the NDRF:

For more information contact:

Steve Davis, President
All Hands Consulting
(410) 730-5677