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Florida's Emergency Management & Response (ESF 4 and ESF 9)

About ESF 4 and ESF 9

The Division of State Fire Marshal is the lead agency for two Emergency Support Functions (ESF) at the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) during a disaster or state emergency. The Division is responsible for the management and staffing of ESF 4 (Firefighting) and ESF 9 (Search and Rescue) at the SEOC as mandated by the State of Florida Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

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The Division accomplishes this responsibility through a partnership with the Florida Division of Forestry and the Florida Fire Chiefs' Association, both of which supply personnel at the SEOC as part of the staffing plan. Personnel are assigned from all of the Division's Bureaus and are responsible for:

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  • Verifying requests for resources and information from impacted local governments;
  • Ensuring that appropriate assistance is provided;
  • Ordering the resource;
  • Tracking and documenting the resource;
  • Estimating the cost associated with the resource request;
  • Ensuring the resource has the necessary logistical support to fulfill the assigned mission; and,
  • Ensuring relief is provided for any resource necessary for an extended operation.

In addition, State Fire Marshal personnel assigned to the SEOC coordinate with Law Enforcement (ESF 16), Military Support (ESF 13), Health and Medical (ESF 8) and Hazardous Materials (ESF 10). There are other ESFs in the SEOC that either supply information or receive information from ESF's 4 and 9.

SERT_Logo_000The coordinated response and management of statewide fire service resources is accomplished using the Florida Fire Chiefs' Association Statewide Emergency Response Plan (SERP). This plan was developed shortly after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and has been used extensively since that time. Every year this plan is reviewed for necessary revisions by a committee designated by the President of the Florida Fire Chiefs' Association. The Division of State Fire Marshal uses the Incident Management System as a standard for SEOC operations. Training in emergency management is an ongoing, cooperative effort with the four partners: the Division of State Fire Marshal, the Florida Forest Service, the Florida Fire Chiefs' Association and the Division of Emergency Management.

In addition to responsibilities at the SEOC, the Division of State Fire Marshal also staffs multiple teams of Division personnel to respond to the disaster area and perform search and rescue duties, debris removal, road clearing and damage assessment. These teams are comprised of personnel from all three bureaus of the Division and are provided with fire apparatus from the Fire College and communication vans and bobcat tractors from the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations. The teams are self-sufficient for a minimum period of 72 hours. After which, support for the teams is supplied by either the Division or through the SEOC.

Division personnel at the SEOC are also responsible for providing current information concerning any disaster or emergency to the management of the Department of Insurance and other organizations with responsibility for providing disaster assistance. This is accomplished through the Department of Insurance statewide network as well as internet e-mail. This computer link assures that the Department receives timely and accurate information concerning the disaster.


(last updated October 2012)