The National Response Framework is a guide that teaches U.S. citizens and authorities how to act in case of various disasters.


The National Response Framework (NRF) is an essential tool that provides guidelines for actions during severe disasters, catastrophes, and other emergency situations. The current official document is the National Response Framework, Fourth Edition, from October 29, 2019. It claims to be a unified doctrine for the United States in terms of how to behave in various types of incidents.

The NRF is based on the principles formulated in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) that determine crucial roles and appropriate steps during emergencies. The Framework provides authorities with a description of the best plans of action for dealing with incidents from local to national scope.

Thus, the main goals of the NRF are to clearly explain the role of coordinating structures, to identify the importance of unified efforts among government and citizens, and to provide coherent guidance during dangerous situations.

The intended audience of the NRF ranges from NGOs and the Federal Government to communities and the private sector. The NRF states that its guiding principles are “(1) engaged partnership; (2) tiered response; (3) scalable, flexible, and adaptable operational capabilities; (4) unity of effort through unified command; and (5) readiness to act.” These principles are interdependent, making them an important prerequisite to an effective national response to disasters.

As mentioned above, the NRF is built on concepts contained in NIMS. The aim of NIMS is to give a common strategy for managing incidents. It serves as the template for management while the NRF provides the mechanisms for incident response. Adapting the NRF principles to NIMS provisions leads to the integrity of the national policy for safe, effective action in the case of different emergencies.