Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) have developed a readiness and capability assessment system for State and local emergency managers. The result of this effort is the Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR). All Hands consultants have developed a comprehensive process and tool for conducting the Capability Assessment for Readiness.

Our “Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR)” service assesses the operational capabilities of local government. Unlike many systems, it is designed to focus on the identification of deficiencies or a basis for corrective actions that need to be taken in order to strengthen local government emergency management programs. The assessment results will assist a local government in establishing priorities and analyzing program performance to improve the quality of local government emergency management programs.

This assessment serves two purposes. First, it provides local jurisdictions with baseline information that can be used in program analysis and strategic planning. Second, if implemented state-wide, it will foster the development of a state emergency management baseline specific to that state. This baseline could be further developed into state minimum standards, that would allow local government and the state to then set improvement goals and measure progress towards this baseline in succeeding years. Perhaps the most significant benefit of this progress is that it allows assessment results to be tracked so that local and state emergency managers can focus resources on the areas requiring the most improvement.

Our Capabilities

We will evaluate the status of your community program in detail to:

  • Identify areas where improvements and further development are needed
  • Quantify results of this evaluation in measurable term
  • Produce a Strategic Workplan that includes details on the priority, time frame for competition, staff time and other costs for each program element
  • Analyze existing work loads, i.e. time being spent by existing professional staff on program elements.

Our CAR process can be easily customized…adding state-specific program requirements. The process is in compliance with NFPA 1600 and other emerging standards – an important component of professionalism and accreditation.

CAR is the new basis for our  “Managing Emergency Operations (MEO)” course and text (also known as “Blueprint for Community Emergency Management”) which has been updated and re-written using CAR as the foundation. The new MEO text serves as the automated CAR “HELP” manual.


  • Identify existing strengths and weaknesses.
  • Evaluate the current state of readiness.
  • Develop strategic plans to improve identified weaknesses for terrorism and other threats.
  • Justify existing program staffing and budget.
  • Demonstrate the need for additional program development resources, e.g. additional staff, budget, support from other community agencies, etc.
  • Support professional development and accreditation programs.

CAR Elements

The following 13 Emergency Management Functions (EMFs) comprise the elements of a community emergency management program as prescribed by FEMA.

EMF 1 Laws And Authorities
EMF 2 Hazard Identification And Risk Assessment
EMF 3 Hazard Management
EMF 4 Resource Management
EMF 5 Planning
EMF 6 Direction, Control And Coordination
EMF 7 Communications And Warning
EMF 8 Operations And Procedures
EMF 9 Logistics And Facilities
EMF 10 Training
EMF 11 Exercises
EMF 12 Public Education And Information
EMF 13 Finance And Administration

A local “Emergency Management System Capability Assessment” provides a common format for an assessment of local government emergency management organizations, and allows state and local emergency management agency staff, to communicate strengths and areas needing improvement. The local government assessment process seeks to answer three very basic questions:

  1. Is the emergency management program comprehensive for the needs of the jurisdiction?
  2. Are goals, objectives and mission of the system being achieved?
  3. Is local government able to utilize resources through a strategic planning process?

Finally, local government must be able to meet the increased demands that the public places on government during an emergency or disaster. Expectations of the citizens that are served by government must become the focus of emergency planning and operations.