Tuesday, January 22, 2008

National Response Framework Released

The Department of Homeland Security released the National Response Framework (NRF), successor to the National Response Plan on Tuesday, January 22, 2008. The NRF is the guide to how the nation conducts all-hazards response and describes specific authorities and best practices for managing incidents that range from local to large-scale terrorist or catastrophic natural disasters. The National Response Plan (NRP) is still in effect until the National Response Framework becomes effective on March 22, 2008. You can read the press release for more details. Information on the National Response Framework including Documents, Annexes, References and Briefings/Trainings can be accessed from the NRF Resource Center.


  1. An acronym I believe everyone should be familiar with is LRA (Legally Responsible Agent). Then it's younger brother RA (Responsible Agent).

    In the search and rescue world, the federal LRA is the Air force with the exception of the territory of Alaska and the Coast Guard in certain water rescue circumstances. Aircraft incidents involving an injury or death, NTSB is the LRA. Federal Parks: the park police are the LRA. Federal Forests: since most District Ranger offices are under staffed the LRA role is assigned to the sheriff of the local jurisdiction.

    RA comes into play when the LRA defers operation control to another entity. For example, in Virginia the State Police are the RA for most downed air craft incidents because NTSB representatives can not physically be on site for every single incident. Nor can the Air Force mobilize for every Alzheimer's patient that wanders off. Designated local and state level RA's are expected to jump into action and deal with the situation.

    Here is the important part with CERT: who are your RA's for your neighborhood, your county, your state?

  2. This is not clear, can you clarify LRA as it relates to our CERT? Does anyone really have LRA over CERT?

  3. Just between us girls... this is NIMS/ICS management level material that is not taught in the CERT classroom. It may be covered in the refresher courses for CERT graduates. If you attend a VDEM Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) certification course for FTM, FTL or ICS it will be required knowledge.

    The CERT course material does a good job of covering Incident Command Structure but it fails to cover if you are acting as an incident commander for a CERT operation then who can relieve you? Who as a CERT commander are you answerable too? Work the question from top down.

    LRA is the Air Force for all GSAR operations. VDEM is the LRA for the state of Virginia. Then you have regional Emergency Managers that are RA's for assigned jurisdictions. The regional EM's can delegate authority to State Police. The LRA for Fairfax County is Gerald E. Connolly. I live in the Braddock District so that makes Sharon Bulova the RA at that level. Sharon Bulova delegates her responsibility to the local police and fire departments. Next levels down?

    According to the command tree given above can a block captain or a HOA president walk into your CP and take over your CERT command? Question you need to ask is under who's authority is that action being taken. If it is not coming from the local fire, police, Sharon Bulova, Gerald E. Connolly or someone with a VDEM identification badge then it might not be a lawful act.

  4. Should we meet with Connolly and the LRAs? Meet with the Air Force so they meet our CERT Teams?

  5. Connolly and the Air Force are a little above CERT's pay grade. Focus your attention at the community level. Contact Sharon Bulova or whomever is your district supervisor and work your way down to who is the RA assigned to your community. Get to know your local fire and police departments and their personnel. Odds are, when the mess hits the fan they are going to be the first Emergency Services folks you see.

    The point of this exercise is if you see me stroll into your command with my ASRC uniform on that you should not assume that I am now in charge. I am multi-state certified to lead GSAR teams in the field. I am not certified in ICS. The same goes for every firefighter, police officer or military personnel that happens by. What is the level of their training? Could be that you have more ICS training then they do.

    In the medical field you can not transfer care of a patient to someone unless they have equal or greater training than you. The same applies to command of CERT and every other type of SAR operation.


We welcome insightful comments from the community that add value to the conversation. Spam, offensive, harassing, off-topic or inappropriate posts may be deleted.