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37. EPP

Emergency preparedness planning is a scenario-based tool to prepare for potential emergencies. The objective of EPP is to create systems and structures that support COs to achieve quality preparedness and response. This process should increase the capacity of COs to alleviate potential disaster impacts and improve the level of readiness to respond to emergencies.

CARE’s approach to disaster and climate risk reduction encompasses the full range of prevention, mitigation, preparedness and response measures to ensure both immediate needs in an emergency are met and underlying causes are addressed. Disaster and climate risk reduction must focus on taking pre-emptive measures to help communities avoid emergencies and become better equipped to reduce the impact of disasters.

CARE uses EPP as a critical component of its commitment to disaster risk management (DRM). For more information, refer to Chapter 34 – Disaster Risk Reduction

A CO that is well prepared for an emergency response should:


  • Identify high-risk situations and design programmatic interventions based on likely scenarios.
  • Have an Emergency Response Team (ERT) in place and members familiar with the CARE Emergency Toolkit and Emergency Protocols.
  • Identify at least three high-risk level disaster scenarios and develop mitigation, preparedness and response strategies.
  • Have identified capacity gaps and established a Capacity Building Action Plan that includes staff and systems development needs.
  • Identify the funding requirements to implement the Capacity Building Action Plan.
  • Be able to realistically recognise its capacity and limitations.
  • Be able to strengthen community capacities to reduce the effects of identified risk situations and be better prepared to respond.
  • Confident enough to ‘raise the alarm’ in the event of an emergency and to provide best estimates of the situation.
  • Be able to carry out rapid emergency needs assessment during the onset of emergency and provide timely information to CARE International for decision-making.

CARE has developed a set of comprehensive guidelines for emergency preparedness planning, which provides step-by-step instructions and information. These guidelines and workbook are available at Annex 37.1 CARE Emergency Preparedness Planning Guidelines, and 37.2 CARE Emergency Preparedness Planning Workbook. The Guidelines are used by all CARE International COs.

The EPP process involves the following steps:


  • Form the ERT and sub-office structures to support emergency operations.
  • Collect information on historical disasters in the country and current trends related to migration patterns, emerging conflicts, food insecurity data, etc.
  • Provide orientation of ERT to basic concepts and emergency protocols.
  • Develop the emergency preparedness plan according to CARE’s guidelines:
    • Develop a detailed inventory of CO capacities.
    • Analyse risks based on the previously collected data, the development of disaster and climate risk scenarios, and the set of measures to mitigate, prepare for and respond to these scenarios.
    • Consider possible responses to emergency scenarios and establish the basic elements of response strategies.
    • Review existing CO capacity to identify capacity gaps.
    • Consider how a CO will work through partners, what triggers will be monitored to initiate response activities, what provisions need to be implemented in programme support functions to expedite emergency operations needs, etc.
    • Develop a plan of action that should be part of long-range strategic plans (LRSPs), annual operating plans (AOPs), and the design of new and existing programmes.
  • Document and share the written plan.
  • Implement preparedness actions.
  • Mainstream preparedness and mitigation actions in development projects.
  • Monitor, review and updating the plan.

See the annexes for sample EPP plans: Annex 37.3 EPP sample-CARE GhanaAnnex 37.4 EPP sample-Sudan, and Annex 37.5 EPP sample-CARE Indonesia.

The EPP should be incorporated in the CO’s management framework, including Long Range Strategic Plans, AOPs, and Individual Operating Plans (IOPs). The CO’s long-term strategies should be based on the disaster scenarios and emergency response strategies developed during the EPP process. The EPP should also inform development of the ERT members’ annual plans.

The CO AOP should include the capacity building action items identified through the EPP process, including:


  • Staff development needs, such as formal training sessions, temporary duty assignments (TDY), or experiential learning opportunities (ELO).
  • Organisational capacity building needs, such as development/updating of manuals and procedures to enable quicker transition into emergency response mode.
  • Infrastructure/equipment-related needs, such as purchase of equipment or setting up communication infrastructure.

For detailed information on security management frameworks, refer to Chapter 14- Safety and security.

Emergency preparedness plans and safety/security plans follow the same framework: both planning tools are based on identifying potential risks, and developing risk reduction strategies, standard operating procedures and contingency plans. 

While the EPP considers disaster risks (floods, earthquakes, droughts, conflicts, etc.) that typically affect CARE beneficiaries, the SMF mainly considers risks to CARE staff and assets. Consequently, risk reduction strategies, standard operating procedures (protocols), and contingency plans for EPP and SMF vary. While SMF is a planning tool of the safety and security function, EPP is a broader and more comprehensive planning tool that includes strong capacity building components. Both should consider options to reduce disaster risk in non-emergency programmes.

EPP training courses-CARE Academy. Course 1-Introduction to CARE Emergency Preparedness Planning

Course 2-Creating CARE Emergency Preparedness Plans