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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Policies, Strategies & Directives

Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)

Homeland Security Presidential Directives are issued by the President on matters pertaining to Homeland Security.

As required by Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-5 -  the National Response Framework (NRF) is a guide that details how the Nation conducts all-hazards response– from the smallest incident to the largest catastrophe. This document establishes a comprehensive, national, all-hazards approach to domestic incident response. The Framework identifies the key response principles, as well as the roles and structures that organize national response. It describes how communities, States, the Federal Government and private-sector and nongovernmental partners apply these principles for a coordinated, effective national response. In addition, it describes special circumstances where the Federal Government exercises a larger role, including incidents where Federal interests are involved and catastrophic incidents where a State would require significant support. It lays the groundwork for first responders, decision-makers and supporting entities to provide a unified national response. 

The types of direct Federal assistance that States, Tribal Nations, and jurisdictions may need, as well as the operations support required to sustain Federal response (e.g., transportation, communications), are organized in the NRF under Emergency Support Function annexes. Each ESF is coordinated by a Primary Agency designated on the basis of its authorities, resources, and capabilities in a particular functional area. Federal public health and medical assistance is provided under ESF #8, and HHS serves as the Primary Agency to coordinate ESF #8 resources to fulfill the requirements identified by the affected State(s), Tribe(s), and jurisdictional authorities. HHS may also support other ESFs, most notably ESF #6— Mass Care, Housing, and Human Services.

As required by Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-21 - United States plans and enables provisions for  the public health and medical needs of the American people in the case of a catastrophic health event through continual and timely flow of information during such an event and rapid public health and medical response that marshals all available national capabilities and capacities in a rapid and coordinated manner.

The National Response Framework (NRF)  - presents the guiding principles that enable all response partners to prepare for and provide a unified national response to disasters and emergencies. It establishes a comprehensive, national, all-hazards approach to domestic incident response.

Emergency Support Function (ESF) #6  - Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services coordinates the delivery of Federal mass care, emergency assistance, housing, and human services when local, tribal, and State response and recovery needs exceed their capabilities.

Emergency Support Function (ESF) #8 – Public Health and Medical Services provides the mechanism for coordinated Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local resources in response to a public health and medical disaster, potential or actual incidents requiring a coordinated Federal response, and/or during a developing potential health and medical emergency.

  • This page last reviewed: July 11, 2012