Responding to a disaster can be a hectic time. A vital mitigation action of this chaos can be achieved by knowing who is leading what segment of the response and what each segment’s roles and responsibilities are. Therefore, it is wise that the emergency management team delegate Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) into the Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) for their jurisdiction.
While it is not a recognized requirement to list and identify ESFs, but including them into the EOP allows all personnel involved in the Emergency Management (EM) team to understand what is expected of the functions, identifies resource management and therefore eases communication. The support functions are akin to a house of cards, removing any one of the support functions and the capabilities of the remaining functions be hindered, or will result in a failed EOP response.
This paper will be addressing the role of ESF 7 Resource Support, commonly referred to as logistics. In the event of disaster, an affected area activates their Emergency Operation Center (EOC) and their EOP. The logistic management of ESF 7 is designed to provide the planning, management, and sustainment capability that harnesses the varied resources of Federal logistics partners, key public and private stakeholders and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to assist the victims of the disaster and the responders (FEMA 2010).
The supply chain established by ESF 7 serves as the framework for Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to jointly manage, and provide relief supplies, facility space, office equipment and supplies, transportation, personnel that are required to support immediate response activities and other mission critical resources (FEMA 1999). Consider this scenario; a Category four hurricane strikes eastern Florida with heavy damage to structures and infrastructure.
The local and state EOCs have activated their respective EOPs. ESF 7 resource management will have already identified and balanced logistics requirements and resources as well as communicating the logistics policies, procedures and plans during the preparedness phase of supply chain process. During the response phase, the resource manager directs the initial surge, or push of resources, as well as the ongoing sustainment, or pull, of resources from outside organizations and agencies to continue response operations.
The recovery phase of operations finds the resource manager overseeing the continued pull of resources to aid in recovery activities. Without the planning and efforts described and planned out in ESF 7, response and recovery personnel would have no federally owned or leased building to rest or operate out of. Motor equipment, cranes, bull dozers, dump trucks, etc. , will not have been planned to be supplied by federal agencies, contractors or other sources.
Office equipment, technical advisors, telecommunication equipment and the desperately needed supplies – medical, food and water would be much more difficult to provide for response personnel as well as citizens. It can be clearly seen, that ESF 7 is a critical annex to an EOP. The preparedness, response and recovery phases of actions in an EOC is designed to be a coordinated effort. The failure to execute any of the annex functions of an EOP can have a negative impact on the overall response and recovery activities.
The vital links for resources from local, state, and federal organizations and agencies provide the logistical life support for an impacted area and its citizens. Resource management of ESF 7 provides the links and management for equipment to rescue victims and rebuild, provides medicine, food and water for rescuers and citizens, facilities for displaced citizens and rest areas for responders, telecommunication equipment for responders to continue their operations. The list goes on and on and without a doubt prove that ESF 7 resource management provides the supplies to allow the responders to get the job done.