Senator Collins’ Statement on DHS National Response Plan

Washington, DC – Senator Susan Collins today said she was encouraged that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has completed a National Response Plan to establish a unified and standardized approach across the country for protecting citizens and managing homeland security incidents. The plan sets forth how the federal government agencies would coordinate with state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector during threats or acts of terrorism, major natural disasters, or man-made emergencies.

“The National Response Plan integrates disparate law enforcement and homeland security departments into one team. It helps to coordinate local police, fire, and rescue units with state and federal emergency management agencies, to ensure that all responders are working together in the case of a disaster or terrorist attack,” said Senator Collins. “This plan lays the groundwork for first responders and state and federal homeland security teams to operate off a common script in planning for and reacting to emergencies. As the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I will examine the implementation of the plan to ensure its success and continued improvement to counter threats.”

The National Response Plan establishes standardized training, organization, and communications procedures through a National Incident Management System, and clearly identifies authority and leadership responsibilities among federal, state, and local agencies. Under the plan, first responders maintain responsibility for incident management at the local level. For those events that rise to the level of an Incident of National Significance, the Department of Homeland Security would provide operational and/or resource coordination to provide federal support to on-scene incident command structures.

The National Response Plan was developed by teams of experts from federal departments and agencies, state, local, and tribal officials, incident response and private sector committees from around the nation.

“Secretary Tom Ridge has shown great leadership in preparing the country react quicker and more efficiently in national emergencies,” said Senator Collins. “The completion this project was a top priority for Secretary Ridge. He should be commended both for finishing such a massive effort before leaving public service, as well as, for his commitment to involve all stakeholders in this process.”

For more information about the National Response Plan, first responders and incident management authorities may call 1-800-368-6498. Interested citizens may view and download a PDF copy of the National Response Plan online at Information on FEMA National Response Plan training courses is available through links at the above website.