Toolkit Assists Local Governments in Planning How to Use 311 in Emergency Response and Recovery

During a crisis when residents want information and want it fast, 311 systems can help deliver it and take the burden off of 911 in the process.  This toolkit features articles, interviews, webinars and other tools and resources for communities wanting to make the best use of their 311 system before, during and after an emergency or disaster.

Produced by ICMA and the 311 Synergy Group with technical assistance and support provided by the U.S. Department of Justice--Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).  Financial support provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

For more information, contact Cory Fleming, project director, at or 207-854-1083.



Chapter 1
Introduction to Using 311 in Emergency Response and Recovery

Rescuing 911: 311 Service Proves Invaluable in Emergencies
A reprint from an article that first appeared in American City & County Magazine.


Chapter 2
Roles and Responsibilities of 311 Centers
Descriptions of roles and responsibilities of four jurisdictions’ 311 systems during an emergency.

City of Corpus Christi, TX
City of Hampton, VA
Orange County, FL
City and County of San Francisco, CA

Chapter 3
Pre-Planning for Events: Case Studies

These case studies show how well-prepared 311 centers have helped public safety officials handle large events and emergency situations.

Albuquerque, NM: Responding to the H1N1 Outbreak
Denver, CO: Hosting the Democratic National Convention
Orange County, FL: Hurricane Preparedness

Chapter 4
Preparing for Different Types of Emergencies

Maintaining Situational Awareness
A podcast of an interview with 311 directors from San Antonio, TX, Miami-Dade, FL, and Chattanooga, TN, on how to maintain situational awareness and prepare for emergencies.

Chapter 5
311 Call Agents Who’ve Been There

311 call agents from four communities, including Denver, CO, Minneapolis, MN, Riverside, CA, and Washington, D.C., share their experiences in working through an emergency in this three-part podcast.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Chapter 6
The Three C's: Communication, Coordination, and Collaboration

Communication, Coordination, and Collaboration between Police and 311
An external link to a recorded ICMA webinar featuring the City of Rochester, NY.

Chapter 7
Communications Plans

These documents from three cities describe communications plans and information flow for 311 centers to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

City of Kansas City, MO
Washington, D.C. 

Chapter 8
Tip Sheet

Disaster Recovery: Two Cities Share Their Experiences
In this tip sheet, 311 directors from Hampton, VA and Riverside, CA, share stories of how their 311 call centers played a pivotal role in the aftermath of the disasters that hit their communities.

Chapter 9
Training Opportunities

These documents describe public safety training opportunities for 311 agents and managers.

National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS)
Association of Public Safety Officials (APCO) International