Standards for Military Family Readiness programs

2020 Edition

Emergency Family Assistance (MIL-EFA) 1: Preparation and Planning

The MFR program partners with the local civilian and military community to prepare for an all-hazards incident.

2020 Edition




Emergency Family Assistance promotes short and long-term recovery services and aids in the return to a stable environment and mission ready status for DoD personnel following an all-hazards incident.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the programs’ practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions; exceptions do not impact service quality and/or overall performance.
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance 
A rating of (2) indicates that a programs’ infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement. The majority of the standard's requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented.  Minor inconsistencies and practices that are not fully developed are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality and/or overall performance.
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that significant aspects of the programs’ observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement. The program has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework. Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  Service quality or program functioning may be compromised. Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation and Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all. Observed infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.

Please see Rating Guidance for additional rating examples. 
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Demographic profile of the military community(MIL-EFA 1.01)
  • Evidence of participation in emergency management drills, when applicable (MIL-EFA 1.02)
  • Evidence of participation in emergency management communication plan (MIL-EFA 1.02)
  • EFA training curricula (MIL-EFA 1.02)
  • Local level documentation tracking staff completion ofEFA training (MIL-EFA 1.02)
  • Informational materials provided to customers (MIL-EFA 1.02, MIL-EFA 1.03)
  • Interview:
    1. MFR program director
    2. Relevant staff
  • Observe location of electronic copy of the EFA plan (MIL-EFA 1.01)

Fundamental Practice

MIL-EFA 1.01

The MFR program has a written EFA plan for activating, sustaining, and concluding the EFA response that:

  1. outlines the EFA mission;
  2. functions as part of the emergency management plan;
  3. is adaptable to a wide array of circumstances and flexible enough to meet the evolving needs of customers;
  4. identifies how information will be received, gathered, or disseminated during a disaster;
  5. identifies the lines of communication and working relationship between the EFA response and relevant providers;
  6. includes how notification of the disaster and implementation of the plan will be communicated to relevant parties;
  7. is written in terms of positions and can be carried out without specific individuals;
  8. takes into account the cultural and demographic composition of the local military community including language or communication needs of the population, religious preferences, and any potential conflicts that may arise during an all-hazards incident;
  9. is stored electronically and accessible from outside the impacted area;
  10. incorporates current, incoming, and walk-in volunteers into the response effort, when applicable;
  11. identifies alternate EFAC locations that meet the program's needs including an intake area, private space for discussing confidential information, work spaces for staff, child care, large meeting areas, quiet break rooms, etc.; and
  12. establishes proper EFAC security measures in coordination with local law enforcement to ensure safety, comfort, and appropriate access. 
Related Standards:


In regards to element (e), examples of relevant providers include emergency responders; relevant installation- and community-based service providers; other Service component commands; and local, state, and federal emergency management institutions. In regards to element (f), examples of relevant parties include persons affected by the incident; EFA staff, volunteers, and other organizations supporting the emergency response effort; the emergency operations center; and Military Service headquarters. In regards to element (j), examples of how the EFA plan can incorporate walk-in volunteers include maintaining pre-determined position descriptions and protocols that are easily trainable, low-risk, and require only a brief orientation.


The required security measures will vary given the location of the EFAC. For example, EFACs located off installation will require a different level of security than those that are located on the installation. Security measures should protect staff and persons served from harm as well as unwanted media exposure. 

Note: The term Emergency Family Assistance Center (EFAC) refers to any centralized, in-person service delivery location and is intended to be inclusive of the EFACall Service-specific language used and service delivery locations.

MIL-EFA 1.02

The MFR program ensures preparedness in the event of an all-hazards incident by:

  1. participating in scheduled drills of the emergency management plan that involve the family readiness system and making necessary adjustments to the EFA plan;
  2. regularly training its staff, including statutory volunteers, on the EFA plan; and
  3. participating in the communication plan established by emergency management leadership.


 To demonstrate implementation of element  (a), the MFR program only needs to participate in drills of the emergency management plan when they occur. Element (a) is NA if no drills that involve the family readiness system are being conducted. 

EFA plans and trainings should take into account patterns of human behavior to address what people are likely to do during an all-hazards incident.

Volunteers that are familiar with disaster response procedures prior to the event are more effective during response and recovery.

MIL-EFA 1.03

The program works with customers to ensure they are prepared in the event of an all-hazards incident including educating them on:

  1. the EFA plan; and
  2. how to create an emergency kit and develop an evacuation plan.