Four methods/tools, selected for their strengths, are used for the approach to neighborhood emergency teams described here.


Any kind of emergency planning can be extremely dynamic and complex. We found a very simple approach in use in a local city. That method, Neighborhood Emergency Teams, is the one used here.

Incident Response

In an emergency, neighborhood residents become "first responders", so it makes sense to use an approach that aligns with that used by professionals, like fire and medical.

The "standard" for response to emergencies is the Incident Command System (ICS). Currently managed by FEMA, ICS grew from experience with fighting forest files where the situation could easily be highly dynamic. Maintaining current status to guide resource deployment required a standard method for command and control of incident response.

Designed to be adaptable and scalable, ICS is intended to make incident response efficient and effective.

In the method used here, we use the same terminology and description for teams relevant to neighborhood emergency response.


Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a method used in businesses for emergency response and recovery. The one used here came from Strohl Systems and focuses, as all do, on recovering business operations.

A neighborhood has operations. Kids to buses, traveling in and out, sleeping, eating, playing, etc. are examples of the "business" of the neighborhood.

By integrating BCM into the method used here, an outcome (recover neighborhood operations) becomes an objective and a measure.


An Emergency Operation Center (EOC), when activated, integrates incident response, by monitoring status and deploying resources. If a disaster is big enough to deplete or overwhelm local resources, connecting to any part of an EOC is added to the neighborhod team objectives.


Maturity Model

The method used here also integrates a business continutity capability maturity model.

Maturity models are useful for keeping focus on current tasks while providing a vision of different levels of capability. Key elements are included in the Approach.

Animals In Disaster (AID)

A 2008 workshop on animals in disaster.

Seattle Humane Society

Business continuity planning applied to a local humane society.