Photo of two Planning Branch staff reviewing the state plans.

Planning Branch

The Planning Branch is responsible for developing and maintaining emergency plans and procedures, as well as coordinating the development of plans across different agencies and organizations. The Planning Branch also conducts risk assessments and identifies potential hazards and vulnerabilities, as well as providing recommendations for mitigation measures.

During an emergency, the Planning Branch is responsible for maintaining situational awareness and providing strategic guidance to ensure the effective and efficient use of resources. This includes tracking the progress of response operations, identifying emerging issues and concerns, and providing support to the Incident Commander and other operational personnel.

Overall, the Planning Branch plays a critical role in emergency management by providing the necessary guidance and resources to ensure an effective response to emergencies and disasters.

The Arizona State Emergency Response and Recovery Plan (SERRP) is an all-hazards plan that identifies state agency roles and responsibilities during an emergency or disaster. The SERRP establishes the concept of operations for response and recovery as it applies to state agencies and partnering entities. This plan is implemented when any emergency or disaster reaches a level that overwhelms local, county, or tribal resources, or is determined by the Governor to constitute a state of emergency.

The SERRP integrates, supports, and consistent with federal guidance, including the National Response Framework and the National Disaster Recovery Framework. The plan also utilizes the National Incident Management System, the Incident Command System, and Core Capabilities as a basis for the structure.

The Planning Branch assists local, county, and tribal partners with emergency operations plans and other related planning documents.

The intent of hazard mitigation planning is to identify risks and vulnerabilities associated with disasters as well as long-term strategies to reduce or eliminate impacts from future hazard events.

Mitigation plans can help communities become more sustainable and disaster-resistant by focusing efforts on the hazards, disaster-prone areas, and identifying appropriate mitigation measures. Effective mitigation planning and efforts can break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.

The DEMA Hazard Mitigation Planning Program assists local, county, and tribal governments in their efforts to ensure they have a plan to protect their citizens, existing and future development as well as economic, cultural, and environmental assets. Mitigation plans may also assist in minimizing post-disaster downtime, accelerating recovery time, and reducing disaster response and recovery costs. 

The DEMA/EM Planning Branch is excited to announce the public comment period for the 2023 State Hazard Mitigation Plan (SHMP) draft. Please visit the DEMA/EM Hazard Mitigation Planning Website to submit comments. Public comment closes on Friday, September  29th, 2023.


The mission of the Continuity Planning Program is to improve the State of Arizona agencies' preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities from all-hazard emergencies. This is achieved through continuity planning - an inwardly focused form of contingency planning that supports the agency's strategic plan and its continued delivery of essential services/functions. A proactive continuity program is considered a best business practice in supporting the state’s priorities of protecting our communities and fiscal responsibility by continuing to perform essential services/functions during any disruptive event.

Under Governor's Executive Order 2013-06, DEMA is responsible for developing a continuity program to help guide and assist state agencies in their continuity planning efforts, and each state agency is required to have a continuity of operations (COOP) plan. The program document outlines continuity planning guidance. The Planning Branch also provides continuity of government planning assistance to local, county, and tribal governments.