Advancing the EMS profession

Disaster Preparedness

EMS systems and providers are an integral component of each state’s emergency response system and are also a critical element of our nation’s disaster and mass casualty response infrastructure. The vital role played by EMS in the Boston Marathon bombings, Texas fertilizer plant explosion, Hurricane Sandy, and the Aurora and Tucson shootings, illustrates the significance of EMS in saving lives in the worst of circumstances.

Below are resources to help prepare EMS agencies and practitioners to respond to disasters and mass casualty incidents.

Public HealthNational Blueprint for BiodefenseRecommendations by the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, resulting from an exhaustive review of the gaps in federal policies and procedures that creates vulnerability to a biological incident.
OperationsFEMA Incident Complexity Guide: Planning, Preparedness and TrainingThe guide promotes a common language and shared understanding of incident complexity across the whole community to determine the complexity or difficulty of managing a disaster, incident, event or exercise.
Special PopulationsFEMA Disaster Preparedness Guide for Older AdultsWorksheets and checklists to help create a disaster response plan for older adults.
CommunicationsSafecom Fact SheetDisaster preparation documents from Safecom
Communications2022 Safecom Annual SummaryDisaster preparation documents from Safecom
CommunicationsNational Incident Management SystemDisaster preparation documents from Safecom
CommunicationsSafecom Strategic Plan 2022Disaster preparation documents from Safecom
CommunicationsPreparing For Technological Transformation In Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs)Disaster preparation documents from Safecom
CommunicationsLand Mobile Radio (LMR) For Information Technology (IT) ProfessionalsDisaster preparation documents from Safecom
WebsiteMass Attacks Defense ToolkitFunded by the National Department of Justice, this toolkit was created by RAND Corporation researchers to help reduce the likelihood of mass shootings and other public attacks, and reduce the casualties of completed attacks.
Mass Casualty IncidentNational Biodefense Strategy and Implementation Plan for Countering Biological Threats Outlines a whole-of-government effort across 20 federal agencies to detect, prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological incidents, in partnership with international, state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners.
Special PopulationGuide to Expanding Mitigation: Making the Connection to Older AdultsJoint FEMA and AARP guide that highlights how natural hazards uniquely affect older adults and provides recommendations for how emergency managers, planners, local officials and community members can include older adults in community efforts to lower their risks.
Mass Casualty IncidentFEMA Releases Updated Planning Guidance for Response to a Nuclear DetonationDescribes the considerations, planning factors, and available resources to craft a successful nuclear detonation response plan; Focuses on the first 24 to 72 hours after a detonation, when early actions can save many lives.
Mass Casualty IncidentRand Mass Attack Defense ToolKitRAND Corporation researchers created this toolkit to help reduce the likelihood of mass shootings and other public attacks, and reduce the casualties of completed attacks. Whatever your role or level of experience, this toolkit can make you a better defender against mass attacks.
Public HealthNAEMT National Survey on EMS Preparedness for Disaster and Mass Casualty Incident ResponseProvides insight into the level of training of EMS practitioners to provide medical response in disasters and mass casualty incidents.
Public HealthNational Incident Management System Incident Complexity GuideSupports the National Incident Management System (NIMS) doctrine by establishing guidance to support the incident management and emergency management community.
WebsiteFBI’s Death Notification Protocol: We Regret to Inform YouTraining website for law enforcement agencies and other first responders responsible for notifying the family members of those who have died suddenly as a result of a crime, an accident, a suicide, or other type of incident
Mass Casualty IncidentNational Mass Violence Victimization Resource CenterCharged with developing a national victim-centric framework that addresses best practices for preparing for and responding to incidents of mass violence and domestic terrorism.
Mass Casualty IncidentOVC Training and Technical Assistance CenterOVC TTAC offers FREE Customized Technical Assistance to meet your organization's needs. Contact OVC TTAC at or 1–866–682–8822.
Mass Casualty IncidentVicarious Trauma ToolkitThis OVC toolkit contains nearly 500 resources to help organizations strengthen their ability to address work-related exposure to trauma.
Mass Casualty IncidentOVC Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism ToolkitProvides resources to help organization's develop a victim assistance plan to respond to victims of mass violence and terrorism in a timely, effective, and compassionate manner.
Public HealthASPR TRACIE Mass Casualty Triage Paradigms and Pitfalls White PaperFocus is to alert EMS medical directors and EMS systems planners and hospital emergency planners to key differences between “conventional” MCIs and mass violence events.
Mass Casualty IncidentCommunications Toolkit for Stakeholders - FGA ResourcesResources to help emergency responders prepare for and respond to a fourth generation nerve agent incident (Novichoks or A-series nerve agents).
Public HealthChecklist for first responders to ensure language access and effective communications during emergenciesHHS checklist to help first responders provide services to individuals with limited English proficiency and individuals with disabilities during emergency response and recovery efforts.
Natural DisasterASPR Hospital Preparedness ProgramHPP prepares our nation’s healthcare system to save lives during emergencies and disasters