Emergency Services Sector

AmbulanceThe Emergency Services Sector (ESS) is a community of millions of highly-skilled, trained personnel, along with the physical and cyber resources, that provide a wide range of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery services during both day-to-day operations and incident response. The ESS includes geographically distributed facilities and equipment in both paid and volunteer capacities organized primarily at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels of government, such as city police departments and fire stations, county sheriff’s offices, Department of Defense police and fire departments, and town public works departments. The ESS also includes private sector resources, such as industrial fire departments, private security organizations, and private emergency medical services providers.

Sector Overview

The mission of the Emergency Services Sector is to save lives, protect property and the environment, assist communities impacted by disasters, and aid recovery during emergencies.

Emergency Services Sector graphicFive distinct disciplines compose the ESS, encompassing a wide range of emergency response functions and roles:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Fire and Rescue Services
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Emergency Management
  • Public Works

The ESS also provides specialized emergency services through individual personnel and teams. These specialized capabilities may be found in one or more various disciplines, depending on the jurisdiction:

  • Tactical Teams (i.e., SWAT)
  • Hazardous Devices Team/Public Safety Bomb Disposal
  • Public Safety Dive Teams/Maritime Units
  • Canine Units
  • Aviation Units (i.e., police and medevac helicopters)
  • Hazardous Materials (i.e., HAZMAT)
  • Search and Rescue Teams
  • Public Safety Answering Points (i.e., 9-1-1 call centers)
  • Fusion Centers
  • Private Security Guard Forces
  • National Guard Civil Support

Sector-Specific Plan

The 2015 Emergency Services Sector-Specific Plan details how the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) 2013 risk management framework is implemented within the context of the unique characteristics and risk landscape of the sector. Each Sector Risk Management Agency develops a sector-specific plan through a coordinated effort involving its public and private sector partners. The Department of Homeland Security is designated as the Sector Risk Management Agency for the Emergency Services Sector. View the Emergency Services Sector-Specific Plan Fact Sheet.

The ESS has dependencies and interdependencies with multiple critical infrastructure sectors and the National Response Framework's Emergency Support Functions, which provide assistance for both the operation and protection of ESS assets.

Crisis Event Response and Recovery Access (CERRA)

The capability for State, local, tribal, and territorial authorities to safely, securely, and effectively control and coordinate the access of key response and recovery resources into an affected area during an emergency has been identified as a critical success factor in enabling overall community recovery. The Crisis Event Response and Recovery Access (CERRA) Framework focuses on supporting State, local, and regional efforts to enable the successful transit and access of critical response and recovery resources before, during, and after emergencies. View the Crisis Event Response and Recovery Access (CERRA) Fact Sheet.

The Crisis Event Response and Recovery Access (CERRA) Introductory Video

The CERRA Introductory Video discusses the Access and Re-entry issue, and introduces the interoperable access management approach outlined in the DHS CERRA Framework.


Emergency Services Sector Profile

The Emergency Services Sector Profile is a compilation of data to present a picture of the ESS as a whole and open an avenue to greater federal and sector partner coordination regarding emergency services discipline definitions; national census and data collection methods; and community awareness of capabilities, dependencies, and interdependencies.

The information presented in this fact sheet has been drawn from publicly available sources and in coordination with responsible federal departments and agencies and other sector partners including the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; United States Fire Administration; U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of Emergency Medical Services; and various professional and national associations.

Emergency Services Sector Landscape

The Emergency Services Sector Landscape provides a sector-specific characterization of relevant factors and decision-making drivers influencing the current operating environment and security and resilience posture of the ESS. Government and sector partners may use this document to help identify and address factors that could have adverse effects on the security or resilience of facilities, personnel, and operations.

Emergency Services Sector Resources

The Department of Homeland Security offers a wide array of free resources, including the Cybersecurity Initiative and the Information Sharing Initiative, to government and private sector partners to enable the Emergency Services Sector mission.

Emergency Services Sector Training

The Department of Homeland Security, along with other government agencies, offer a wide array of free training programs to government and private sector partners to facilitate the Emergency Services Sector mission.


For more information, contact the Emergency Services Sector Management Team at EmergencyServicesSector@cisa.dhs.gov.

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