No community is exempt from a disaster situation and communities everywhere need to be prepared. Community preparedness consists of the following 5 steps: planning, organization, equipping, training, and exercising (POETE). Planning is the 1st of 5 steps in preparedness and is an important way of helping Montana communities prepare for a disasters. The MT Disaster & Emergency Services (DES) Planning Program works with federal, state, and local partners to provide information on emergency strategic and operational planning so that updated plans and procedures are in place to help guide preparedness, response and recovery activities. MT DES plans follow the National Incident Management System which is intended to be used by the whole community and guide Montana’s capability to prevent, respond to, and recover from natural and human-caused disasters through the following activities and/or programs:
The Montana Emergency Response Framework (MERF): The overall objective of the MERF is to ensure the effective management of emergency efforts in responding to and recovering from situations associated with disaster emergencies through aligning, collaborating, and integrating local, Tribal, and state agency emergency operations plans (EOPs). The operation strategies provided in the MERF are illustrated through 14 Emergency Support Functions (ESF) which are used to organize resources and capabilities through identification and coordination of primary and support agencies based on authorities and availability of resources in a given functional area.
Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA): This process is a tool that helps communities identify and assess threats and hazards and how they may impact a community, estimate capability requirements, and determine resource requirements. The THIRA process assists communities in determining what to prepare for, what actions can lessen or eliminate the identified threats and hazards, and what impacts need to be incorporated into the community’s preparedness planning.
The Stakeholder Preparedness Review (SPR): A self-assessment on the current capacity for each core capability. When compared to the targets identified in the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment, the SPR helps to identify preparedness capability gaps and is used to help make programmatic decisions to build and sustain capabilities, plan to deliver capabilities, and validate capabilities. The outputs of this process inform a variety of emergency management efforts, including: emergency operations planning, mutual aid agreements, and hazard mitigation planning.