Community Planning

About Community Planning

The Community Planning Unit (CPU), formed in 2019, supports local emergency planning with an emphasis on the whole community. The unit partners with Cal OES Administrative Regions, Mutual Aid Regional Advisory Councils (MARACs), Operational Areas (OAs), and local communities. Additionally, CPU enrolls experts in alert and warning, emergency support functions planning, and access and functional needs. Working together, we enhance emergency planning for the whole community.

The current CPU focus is on emergency planning at the county (or operational area) level. The unit coordinates reviews of emergency operations plans to ensure that the plans incorporate best practices, protect and accommodate vulnerable populations, and establish procedures for alerting, evacuating, and sheltering individuals during an emergency. Extra attention is given to the plan’s enrollment and inclusion of culturally diverse populations and individuals with access and functional needs.

In the future, the unit hopes to partner more closely with individual community preparedness programs and provide more guidance on both emergency planning and whole community concepts.


2023 EOP Reviews

In accordance with Government Code 8593.2, subdivision (c) and Government Code 8610, subdivision (c), Cal OES reviews a minimum of 10 County Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) each year.

The 10 counties selected for review in 2023 have been notified and reviews began in February 2023. When prompted, selected counties will submit a digital version of their documents to their Cal OES Regional Branch. The submission should include the plan; pertinent annexes and appendices; intersecting, stand-alone plans; and the completed EOP Crosswalk.

As required by Government Code 8593.3.2, subdivision (a), any county that updates its EOP must also submit its EOP to Cal OES. To allow time for review, possible access and functional needs consultation, and incorporation of feedback, counties should submit their updated EOP to Cal OES 90 days prior to planned approval and adoption. Counties with EOP updates should complete the submission form and send the plan; pertinent annexes and appendices; intersecting, stand-alone plans; and the completed EOP Crosswalk to their Cal OES Regional Branch.

For more information, please reference the County Emergency Operations Plan Review Process Fact Sheet. 

Emergency Operations Plan Reviews

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) reviews County Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) and offers recommendations for improvement. Cal OES will select 10 existing plans each year for review. Counties will be notified in advance. Additionally, Cal OES will review plan updates. Plan updates should be submitted to Cal OES 90 days prior to approval/adoption to allow time for the review and incorporation of recommendations.

    • Emergency Operations Plan Review Submission Form. To begin the review of your county Emergency Operations Plan, complete this form and follow the additional submission instructions at the end.
    • Emergency Operations Plan Review Crosswalk. Cal OES has developed this crosswalk of emergency plan elements to ensure that county EOPs comply with the following: (1) the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), (2) the National Incident Management System (NIMS), and (3) applicable California legislation. Jurisdictions other than counties may use this crosswalk to self-review their EOPs.
    • Fact Sheet: Emergency Operations Plan Review Process. This fact sheet outlines the Why, What, Who, When, and How of the review process for California counties. A summary of what has changed and what has not changed is highlighted.
    • Fact Sheet: Updates to County Emergency Plan Legislation. Between 2016 and 2022, there have been seven bills amending or adding to Government Code regulating county emergency plans. These bills introduce new requirements regarding county emergency plans (1) submission, (2) content and planning process, and (3) review. This fact sheet lists the bills and summarizes the new requirements.
Best Practices Cover Page

Draft Best Practices for County Emergency Plans

Draft State of California Planning Best Practices for County Emergency Plans – On September 29, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2968 – County Emergency Plans: Best Practices (Rodriguez) into law. This addition to the Government Code requires the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to “develop best practices for counties developing and updating a county emergency plan” by January 1, 2022. Accordingly, Cal OES offers this draft Planning Best Practices for County Emergency Plans.

This draft document is a compilation of methods and techniques successfully employed by a diverse group of public and private emergency management practitioners. The best practices in this draft document were selected from reviews of After Action Reports, Listos California community discussions, federal planning guidance such as Comprehensive Planning Guidance 101 (CPG 101), and Whole Community Planning Specialist Committee meetings. Planning Best Practices for County Emergency Plans is considered a living document and will continue to be updated to impart beneficial practices in emergency management in order to meet the needs of California’s county emergency planners and the diverse communities they serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs)

Q: How often are we required to update our EOPs?
A: There is no California requirement regarding the update schedule of EOPs. CPG 101 Version 3 states that emergency “plans need periodic review and updates to address changes over time in risk and capabilities.”

Q: Are EOPs mandatory?
A: Government Code 8610 grants counties and cities the authorization to create a disaster council.  If a disaster council is created, it must develop an emergency plan (EOP).

Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) Reviews

Q: When will my county EOP be reviewed?
A: Cal OES will review at least 10 EOPs each year. The review schedule for 2023 will be announced in late 2022. Plan updates should be submitted for review even if not selected in the schedule. (i.e., Cal OES will review at least 10 plans per year and will add and prioritize any plan updates.)

Q: How long do EOP reviews take?
A: We are anticipating 30-45 business days per review. Plan updates should be submitted to OES 90 days prior to planned approval/adoption so that there is time for both the review process and incorporation of recommendations.

Q: What if my plan is an OA plan, not a county plan?
A: The guiding legislation uses the term “county”, not “OA”. For purposes of the OES review, we will use the OA plan if it serves as the county plan.

Q: Does the county have to incorporate OES recommendations?
A: AB 580 states: “The county shall develop and revise its emergency plan to address the issues that the office identified in its review.” Counties are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel on the interpretation and application of this law (Government Code 8593.3.2.)

Q: Will Cal OES approve the county EOP?
A: No, Cal OES will not be approving the EOP. The review completion letter that accompanies the recommendations will not contain language to “approve” or “accept” the plan.

Q: What is an Access and Functional Needs (AFN) Consultation?
A: When an AFN Consultation is requested, the Cal OES Office of Access and Functional Needs (OAFN) will meet with the jurisdiction to provide additional technical assistance, support, and expertise before finalizing the EOP review and issuing recommendations. To request an AFN Consultation, email, with a copy to

Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) Review Crosswalk

Q: How has the EOP Review Crosswalk changed from the 2020 version?
A: The revised crosswalk has been updated to include 17 new elements (elements 56-72) to incorporate recent changes to legislation. Please refer to the Updates to County Emergency Plan Legislation Fact Sheet for a summary of the new legislation (seven bills).

Q: Who uses the EOP Review Crosswalk?
A: The EOP Review Crosswalk is intended for use by counties or Operational Areas. Other jurisdictions, such as cities, school districts, or utility districts, may also use the crosswalk, but those plans are not reviewed by Cal OES.

Best Practices

Q: When will the Best Practices document be finalized?
A: Due to staffing, EOP reviews are currently prioritized. CPU hopes to have additional staff onboard in fall 2022 to return focus to the Best Practices document.
Submit Best Practices and/or Lessons Learned to:

Submit Best Practices and/or Lessons Learned to: