The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) developed the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) to serve as the nation's first strategic plan for emergency communications guidance. The NECP outlines three strategic goals for emergency response situations. All three goals focus on response-level communications and provide set standards for emergency response personnel to achieve by certain dates.
- Goal 1 (PDF, 21 pages - 634 KB) - By 2010, 90 percent of all high-risk urban areas designated within the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) are able to demonstrate response-level emergency communications within one hour for routine events involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.
- Goal 2 (PDF, 1 page - 120 KB) - By 2011, 75 percent of non-UASI jurisdictions are able to demonstrate response-level emergency communications within one hour for routine events involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.
- Goal 3 - By 2013, 75 percent of all jurisdictions are able to demonstrate response-level emergency communications within three hours, in the event of a significant event as outlined in national planning scenarios.
Response-Level Emergency Communications
OEC defines response-level communications as the capacity of individuals with primary operational leadership responsibility to manage resources and make timely decisions during an incident involving multiple agencies, without technical or procedural communications impediments. Through these goals, the NECP established national performance metrics for interoperable communications, and the Department will evaluate each jurisdiction’s ability to demonstrate response-level communications during the Goal demonstrations and evaluations.
To successfully demonstrate response-level communications, each area must have common policies and procedures that allow interagency communications to occur consistently, clearly-defined responder roles and responsibilities that are maintained during an incident, and continuous, high-quality communications that are in place throughout the emergency or event.
OEC has aligned the key success factors with the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum, a common measuring tool in use by many emergency response agencies across the nation. These common enablers will serve as the foundation of a jurisdiction’s ability to consistently achieve response-level communications.
Measuring the Goals
Emergency communications is a locally-driven issue, and as such, NECP Goals measurement requires local participation. Goal 1 of the NECP addresses the 60 high-risk urban areas designated within the FY 2008 Urban Area Security Initiative Program. To implement and measure Goal 1, OEC assessed UASI regions’ abilities to demonstrate response-level emergency communications during planned events between January 1, 2010 and October 31, 2010. A report entitled “National Emergency Communications Plan: Urban Area Communications Key Findings and Recommendation” (PDF, 21 pages - 634 KB) details the assessment process for gauging the ability of the Nation’s urban areas to achieve Goal 1 of the National Emergency Communications Plan.
In 2011, OEC worked closely with more than 3,200 counties to collect capability and performance data nationwide. Among those jurisdictions that did participate, about 90 percent were able to achieve response-level communications and demonstrate NECP Goal 2.
The results of Goals measurement are being used to ensure that public safety continues to receive the guidance and support needed to conduct and sustain interoperable emergency communications across the Nation. OEC is able to better target resources, training, and technical assistance, and provide public safety with concrete facts needed to build a sound business case, justify continued support, and identify any further gaps to achieving and sustaining interoperability.
For specific questions about the NECP Goal Demonstration, email NECPgoals@hq.dhs.gov.