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Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)

Last updated: March 6, 2019

What Does Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) Mean?

Standardized emergency management system (SEMS) is a structure for coordination between the government and local emergency response organizations. It provides and facilitates the flow of emergency information and resources within and between the organizational levels of field response, local government, operational areas, regions and state management.

Safeopedia Explains Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)

The Oakland Hills fire in 1991 drew attention to the necessity for a better coordination among emergency services. All agencies must work together effectively to protect lives, property and the environment during disasters.

Standardized emergency management system (SMES) facilitates priority setting, integrated coordination, effective flow of resources and information between all stakeholders. SEMS incorporates the use of the Incidental Command System (ICS), Master Mutual Aid Agreement (MMAA), Operational Area (OA) concept and multi-agency and interagency coordination. State agencies and local government units are to use SEMS in order to become eligible for reimbursement costs led by the state’s disaster assistance program.

SEMS has five levels:

  1. Field response - This is the incident level where the emergency response begins
  2. Local government level - This includes cities, counties, and special districts
  3. Operational area - Links between the local government level and the regional level
  4. Regional - States are divided into mutual aid regions
  5. State - The state level serves as the coordination and communication link between the state and the federal disaster response system

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