Planning & Preparedness

Planning & Preparedness

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Listos California: Getting ready is much simpler than you think. Doing some small things today can help make sure you, your family, pets and other important people in your life are safe and cared for when disaster strikes.

Use Listos' simple tools and resources below to learn the risks, build awareness and prepare yourself and your community to deal with an earthquake, wildfire, flood or pandemic.

Planning and Preparedness

The Cal OES Planning and Preparedness Branch develops and maintains state-level emergency plans and guidance that engage the whole community by using an all-hazards planning process that represents the actual stakeholders from the community, both local and state government leaders, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector.

The Preparedness Branch administers the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) Maintenance System, coordinates the state’s activities in the federal National Incident Management System (NIMS), and provides technical assistance in Radiological-Nuclear and Homeland Security areas.

The Branch also manages the Disaster Council Accreditation program and works in partnership with stakeholders to develop catastrophic emergency plans.  Furthermore, the Branch is responsible for maintaining the State Emergency Plan, the State Executive Branch Continuity Plan, and the California Continuity Planning Guidance.

Branch staff assists local governments and other state agencies in developing their own emergency preparedness and response plans in accordance with the SEMS, NIMS, and the State Emergency Plan.

The Preparedness Branch Manager oversees the activities of two divisions and branch level programs.  The Planning Division Chief supervises the Disaster Planning Unit and Emergency Function Planning Unit.  The Technological Hazards and Systems Division Chief supervises the Radiological Preparedness Unit, the Emergency Management Systems Unit, and the newly formed Community Planning Unit.  The principle program responsibilities for each unit are displayed below.

To contact the Planning and Preparedness Branch, click on the Contacts link.

​Emergency Management Systems Unit

The Emergency Management Systems Unit (EMSU) has the responsibility for maintaining the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) including coordinating the SEMS Advisory Board, SEMS Technical Group and Specialist Committees, integrating/coordinating the National Incident Management System (NIMS) into SEMS (including the annual NIMS assessment), and producing the mandated After Action Reports with follow on coordination for identified corrective actions and improvement planning for proclaimed disasters.  EMSU is also responsible for the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP).  In support of the State Emergency Plan, staff assists state agencies and departments in the development of their Administrative Orders and assists jurisdictions with their Disaster Council Accreditation.

​Emergency Functions Planning Unit

The Emergency Function Planning Unit provides assistance to other Cal OES branches, federal, state and local agencies, departments, and other stakeholders with similar functional activities working together in a discipline-specific environment. These discipline specific areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to, State of California Emergency Plan, California Emergency Support Functions, education emergency preparedness, and the California Animal Response Emergency Systems (CARES). The Unit also develops and maintains the state’s regulatory processes, planning guidance materials, and implementation of emergency planning policy and guidance for which Cal OES has lead agency responsibility.  For program specific information, see below.

​Disaster Planning Unit

The Disaster Planning Unit maintains the State Executive Branch Continuity Plan, offers annual Statewide Continuity Planner Workshops, and provides guidance materials for continuity planning. Unit staff work in partnership with stakeholders to develop and maintain preparedness, response, and catastrophic emergency plans in accordance with the state’s planning policies and regulatory processes. The Disaster Planning Unit also develops and maintains planning guidance materials and administers the review of state plans.

​Radiological Preparedness Unit

The Radiological Preparedness Unit (RPU) consists of the staff, expertise, authority, and program funding necessary to support local governments in their effort to plan for, prepare for, and respond to radiological incidents that threaten lives, property, and the environment. The RPU provides an effective and efficient emergency management system for radiological incidents by coordinating with private entities, federal, tribal, State, and local government organizations. The goal of the RPU is to protect the public, property, and the environment from the possible harmful effects of radiation from transportation accidents, incidents at nuclear power plants, and other fixed facilities.

Community Planning Unit (CPU)

The Community Planning Unit (CPU), newly formed in 2019, has the responsibility for providing support in the creation, implementation, and exercising of local community emergency plans. By working with Cal OES Administrative Regions, Urban Area Security Initiatives (UASIs), Mutual Aid Regional Advisory Councils (MARACs), Operational Areas (OAs), and local communities, the CPU will assist communities in identifying Best Practices and Lessons Learned in local community emergency planning. 

Community Planning



What is the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)?What is the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)?<p>​SEMS is the system required by Government Code Section 8607 (a) for managing emergencies involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.  SEMS consists of five organizational levels which are activated as necessary: field response, local government, operational area, regional, and state.  </p><p>SEMS incorporates the functions and principles of the Incident Command System (ICS), the Master Mutual Aid Agreement (MMAA), existing mutual aid systems, the operational area concept, and multi-agency or inter-agency coordination.</p><p>Local governments must use SEMS to be eligible for funding of their response-related personnel costs under state disaster assistance programs.</p>


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