Local Disaster Recovery Framework and Toolkit

The North Central Texas Recovery Framework combines research, international best practices, and subject-matter input to help local jurisdictions put the pieces in place to establish a “new, better normal” following a natural or human-caused disaster. The Framework provides strategies to leverage the capabilities, expertise, and resources of public, private, and nongovernmental organizations to support a comprehensive, community-wide recovery.

The Disaster Recovery Toolkit includes a recovery plan template, post-disaster planning checklists, a recovery tabletop exercise, and information resources to provide local emergency managers with guidance and resources to carry out the pre-disaster recovery planning process and build community resilience.

North Central Texas Council of Governments Recovery Framework 

The Framework presents a stepwise approach to coordination, organization, and collaboration that can be implemented by all jurisdictions to better prepare for disaster recovery.

Recovery Tabletop (TTX) Materials

  • Facilitator presentation – PPT or PDF
  • Situation Manual – Word or PDF
  • Exercise Evaluation Guide – Word or PDF

Local Plan Template

  • Customizable Recovery Plan Template – Word or PDF
  • Plan Development Guide – Word or PDF

Post-Disaster Recovery Checklists

  • Economic Recovery – Word or PDF
  • Health and Social Services – Word or PDF
  • Housing – Word or PDF
  • Infrastructure – Word or PDF
  • Land Use Planning and Development – Word or PDF
  • Natural and Cultural Resources – Word or PDF

Annex Templates


The following are select recovery resources developed by various organizations that address key recovery challenges and planning gaps identified by NCTCOG stakeholders.


Top 10 Procurement Mistakes. This FEMA factsheet highlights the most common mistakes by local jurisdictions that lead to audits and potential loss of FEMA funding.

Audit Tips for Managing Disaster-Related Project Costs. This U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General document provides guidance for local jurisdictions and other FEMA disaster assistant grant recipients document and account for disaster-related costs, minimize loss of FEMA funds, maximize financial recovery, and prevent fraud and waste.

Public Outreach

The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery. This document provides lessons learned and best practices from creators and managers of social media campaigns for floods in Missouri and tornados in Branson and Joplin, Missouri.

Social Media and Disaster. This fact sheet highlights key considerations for developing and implementing a social media strategy.

Economic Recovery

North Central Texas Economic Recovery Toolkit. NCTCOG developed a suite of guidance, tools, and resources to help emergency management departments and private sector businesses build resiliency and recover from disasters.

Case Studies on Economic Recovery and Resilience. The National Association of Development Organizations highlights economic recovery in various locations, including the small town of Madelia, Minnesota, with fewer than 2,300 residents.

COVID-19 Economic Recovery

Small Business and Local Government Collaboration.  The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) has collected various tools and resources being implemented around the country to address economic recovery issues related to the COVID-19 crisis. How Local Governments Are Working to Keep Small Business Alive includes examples of local government collaboration with small businesses such as the One Buncombe Fund in North Carolina, which is a collaboration between several cities, non-profits and local business associations to provide bridge loans to small businesses to cover things like payroll, invoices, inventory purchases.

COVID-19: Local Action Tracker. The National League of Cities collaborated with the Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop a large database of economic recovery innovations, solutions, and ideas that have been implemented by local jurisdictions across the country. The database is searchable by policy areas, action types, and locations. 

Information Collection. Sullivan County, New York is focusing on collecting data on current resource needs of the business community as well as future needs to both better streamline existing local financial assistance resources and to create a more unified statewide case for the need for federal assistance to state and local entities. Salt Lake City, UT has utilized this small business survey that can serve as an example for other jurisdictions.

Areas for Economic Recovery After COVID-19. The ARUP group, London, developed the Ten Ideas for Local Authorities to Help Re-build Economies After COVID-19, incorporating lessons learned from previous large scale events with economic impacts such as riots, large earthquakes and hurricanes from across the world to assist local governments deal with economic recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources for the Development of New Workforce Skills. The United Kingdom created an online repository for free trainings and courses for unemployed individuals to use to develop or enhance a new skill. Through collaboration with local community colleges, trade schools and universities, The Skills Toolkit, provides access to free trainings so that the newly unemployed may expand their skill sets and broaden their employment potential. 

Health and Social Services

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Disaster Recovery Homeless Toolkit. Provides guidance on how to take into account the housing and economic needs of those who were experiencing homelessness during long-term recovery. The toolkit features Strategies for Immediate Action and a Funding Guide for Persons Experiencing Homelessness.

Donations Management Best Practices Toolkit. This toolkit from USAID Center for International Disaster Information provides public outreach materials, including printable handouts, donations calculator, and public messaging and videos that can be shared on social media for promoting cash donations over material goods.

Victim Assistance Funds Best Practices. Following recent incidents of mass violence, cities and counties have enlisted the help of Kenneth Feinberg (the Feinberg Group) to determine compensation levels to victims. He assisted with the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, Aurora Victim Relief Fund, Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, and One Fund Boston. Feinberg worked with the National Compassion Fund, a program of the National Center for Victims of Crime, to administer the OneOrlando fund. The National Compassion Fund is a nonprofit group is dedicated to assisting victims in the aftermath of mass shootings including leading distributions to victims of mass casualty events in El Paso (TX), Fort Hood (TX), Chattanooga (TN), Orlando (FL), Las Vegas (NV), Charlottesville (VA), Parkland (FL), Santa Fe (TX), Jacksonville (FL), and Cincinnati (OH). Examples of how funds have been allocated to victims are included in the final protocols for the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, OneOrlando Fund, and One Fund Boston.


Example: Local Housing Solution: Sonoma County, CA and the Kincade Fire. In November 2019, the County passed an urgent ordinance to provide housing solutions in Sonoma County after the Kincade Fire. The new code focuses on immediate and interim housing solutions, including permitted use of recreational vehicles and travel trailers, select waivers of design review requirements, allowance of habitable residential accessory structures, temporary housing use and rental of existing dwellings and RVs on agricultural lots, and waiving permitting fees for new accessory dwelling units. The rebuilding process is summarized on the Rebuilding Process summary page.

HOME Disaster Relief (HOME DR) is the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ (TDHCA) long-term housing program for local, nonprofit, and public housing authorities to serve eligible affected households with home rehabilitation, construction, or replacement after declared disasters. TDHCA also provides lists of disaster relief resources for individuals and families, rental property owners, and communities and nonprofits.

CDBG-DR Housing Recovery: Challenges, Best Practices, Lessons Learned, and Recommendations. This guide from the Urban Institute presents recommendations for challenges identified by CDBG-DR grantees in planning and implementing long-term disaster housing recovery programs, including staff capacity, grant administration, recipient outreach, case management, and data management. Recommendations are based on the experiences of jurisdictions that administered CDBG-DR programs.

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) provides resources for residents to prepare for and manage insurance claims. Before the Storm includes tips for ensuring homeowners take appropriate measures before a storm, including completing a printable home inventory checklist. Help After the Storm provides information on how to file a claim, tips to avoid scams and fraud, and how to get help. 

Preventing Fraud After a Storm: A Toolkit for City and County Officials. TDI has assembled some guidance for local governments to help the community avoid frauds and scams. This includes sample text for social media posts and posters in Spanish and English and outreach materials for residents on how to hire a contractor to avoid scams.

FEMA’s Planning Considerations: Disaster Housing, released in May 2020, provides guidance on national housing priorities, types of housing, key considerations, and housing-specific planning recommendations that jurisdictions can apply when developing or improving disaster housing plans.


Guidance for Public Water Systems in Crisis. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) provides requirements for what public water systems must do when immediate action is needed, during loss of supply and loss of pressure, and contamination, regardless of the cause. Templates for required public notices are provided in English and Spanish. TCEQ also provides tips for water utilities to prepare for disasters.

Debris Management Contracting. The State of Texas Local Catastrophic Debris Management Guide includes information on contract considerations and highlights compliance issues that may result in loss of FEMA funding. Attachment D is a Model Contract Framework that includes guidance and sample language for an emergency debris removal services contract that can be used by local Texas jurisdictions.

Land Use Planning and Development

Learning from Damage Assessment Post-Hurricane Maria. This training course developed by the City of New York through the Department of Buildings is based on lessons learned from assisting with post-disaster damage assessments of infrastructure and residential structures in Puerto Rico. It highlights the role of local government in conducting damage assessments, application of ATC-45 protocol for damage assessment, digital data collection, and GIS mapping.

Adopting a Pre-Event Recovery Ordinance Fact Sheet and Model Pre-Event Recovery Ordinance. The American Planning Association provides an explanation of benefits for adopting an ordinance that outlines a foundation for local action for processes after a disaster. Local planning departments can review the suggested provisions for items such as damage assessment and placarding, emergency moratoria, temporary use permits, temporary waiver of repair permit requirements, deferral of permit fees, non-conforming uses, one-stop permitting centers, and demolition of historic buildings.

Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation. The American Planning Association offers guidance for local land use planners confronting various disasters, including case studies from big cities and smaller towns.

Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery Resources. This is a compendium of American Planning Association resources, including links to policy guides, webinars, briefing papers, publications, reports, on-demand courses, and current applied research projects. Subjects include hazard mitigation and resiliency, recovery and redevelopment, zoning, and stormwater management.

Example Permitting Policy and Outreach Material: City of Santa Rosa Planning & Economic Development Department Resilient City Zoning Guide. This document guides residents through the rebuilding process, including a listing of the characteristics of fast-track, expedited, and prioritized plans to accelerate plan-review processes (and associated fee waivers). The Resilient City Development Measures adopted following the Tubbs and Nuns Fires of 2017 established zones for permits receiving priorities and outlines policies related to accessory dwelling units, nonconforming structures, and temporary housing.

Building Codes. Section 214.212 of the State code adopts the International Residential Code (2001) as a municipal residential building code in Texas, and Section 214.216 adopts the International Building Code (2003) for commercial buildings. Under these law, a municipality may review and adopt amendments to the International Building Code. The City of Houston and Harris County adopted code amendments to require more stringent elevation requirements for new construction within the floodplain.

Natural and Cultural Resources

Disaster Planning for Preservation Checklist. This document from the National Park Service provides a checklist for preparing to protect and repair vulnerable historic resources when a disaster strikes.

Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Fund grants from the National Park Service can award states supplemental funds that do not require matching monies. In Texas, these funds are managed by the Texas Historical Commission (THC), which provides funding to local jurisdictions for recovery and repair of historic properties (i.e., stabilization, restoration, or preservation). 

The American Institute for Conservation’s National Heritage Responders respond to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters. It can provide advice and referrals by phone or onsite assistance. It has also developed tip sheets to help collecting institutions respond to and recovery from events.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) offers response and recovery tools and information related to spills and releases of hazardous materials, hurricanes, tornados, drought, wildfires, and floods. TCEQ also offers technical assistance emergency response teams following a disaster, including providing staff and specialists, data analysis, damage assessment, siting of debris disposal facilities, and equipment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides social media messages to use during or after a disaster to share safety information related to generator safety, hazardous spills or contamination, and mold. EPA also provides public service announcements in MP3 format related to asbestos, lead, carbon monoxide, gas leaks, hazardous materials, mold, septic systems, mold, and others.

FEMA Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation

FEMA Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) review is required by federal laws, regulations, and executive orders to be completed before FEMA can fund recovery projects and prior to project initiation. Noncompliance can result in project delays, denial or de-obligation of funding, negative publicity, civil penalties, and lawsuits. More information on the program and best practices and tips are included in FEMA Region VI EHP staff conference presentation and training presentation.

TXShare Disaster Recovery Planning