To be prepared for an emergency, before any incident happens you have to address the answers to a series of questions that will occur:
- What is the nature of the emergency?
- Which jurisdiction(s) is (are) responsible?
- Who is called into action and who stays back?
- What and where are the resources needed to respond to this emergency?
- Is it a short-term or a long-term recovery?
- How do you handle the emergency in the long term?
As part of NIMS, jurisdictions must develop several different types of emergency operations plans (EOPs) for responding to various emergencies. Then there are procedures, which provide all the essential information for responding to the emergency. Preparedness plans describe how to obtain resources through mutual aid agreements, which facility and equipment to use (depending on the event), and even what training will be utilized. After an event, planned or actual, is a need for a corrective action plan, which evaluates how objectives were met and then incorporates lessons learned into an updated procedure. Recovery plans explain the objectives for facilitating long-term recovery.