ESF 15: Missed Opportunity
ESF #15 “ensures that sufficient Federal assets are deployed to the field during incidentsrequiring a coordinated Federal response to provide accurate, coordinated, timely, andaccessible information to affected audiences, including governments, media, the privatesector, and the local populace, including the special needs population.”
With this overallgoal in mind, the Standard Operating Procedure for ESF #15 seeks to establish“procedures and protocols for Emergency Support Function 15.”
The SOP is designed as a template “to formulate external affairs incident action plans and procedures that will help save lives and protect the health and safety of the public,responders, and recovery workers. It will also be used as a framework to guide messagingto protect property, mitigate damages and impacts to individuals, communities, and theenvironment, and facilitate recovery information for individuals, families, businesses,governments, and the media.”
To meet these objectives, the ESF #15 SOP establishedseven external affairs components: Joint Information Center; Community Relations;Congressional Affairs; International Affairs; State, Local and Tribal Affairs; PrivateSector; and Planning and Products.Guidelines for disseminating post-disaster service information could fall under one of thefollowing ESF #15 components: Private Sector, Joint Information Center, or CommunityRelations. Despite the apparent overlap, post-disaster service information has yet to beaddressed.
Joint Information Center
A Joint Information Center (JIC) under ESF #15 SOP disseminates information throughthe media.
However, ESF #15 does not have a process or instructions for whatinformation should be relayed to the public.
ESF #15 should include specific guidancefor media on what information should be relayed, and how it should be relayed, tothe public in the aftermath of a disaster.
Alternatively, the role of the JIC could bechanged to serve as the single voice of response by placing other components of ESF #15within the framework of a JIC. Without a coordinated voice, the role of disseminating post-disaster service information may slip through the cracks.
Community Relations Component
Community Relations component uses community-based organizations (CBO) to contactareas most affected by a disaster.
While effective in some scenarios, informationreceived on the ground is still second-hand. Moreover, this component appears to focus
Emergency Support Function #15 – External Affairs Annex ESF #15-1 (January 2008)
Emergency Support Function 15 Standard Operating Procedures p. 1 (July 2006)
Emergency Support Function 15 Standard Operating Procedures p. 3 (July 2006)
Annex F to Emergency Support Function 15 External Affairs
Annex E to Emergency Support Function 15 External Affairs