Purpose: Analytics thrives in navigating emergency situations. Emergency operations management needs to develop analytics empowerment capability (ANEC) to prepare for uncertainty, support continuity and tackle any disruptions. However, there is limited knowledge on ANEC and its effects on strategic emergency service agility (SESA) and emergency service adaptation (ESAD) in such contexts. Drawing on the dynamic capability (DC) theory, we address this research gap by developing an ANEC model. We also model the effects of ANEC on SESA and ESAD using SESA as a mediator. We also assess the moderating and quadratic effects of ANEC on two higher-order DCs (i.e. SESA and ESAD). Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on the literature on big data, empowerment and DC, we develop and validate an ANEC model using data from 245 service systems managers in Australia. The study uses the partial least squares-based structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) to prove the research model. The predictive power of the research model is validated through PLSpredict (k = 10) using a training sample (n = 220) and a holdout sample (n = 25). Findings: The findings show that analytics climate, technological enablement, information access, knowledge and skills, training and development and decision-making ability are the significant components of ANEC. The findings confirm strategic emergency service agility as a significant partial mediator between ANEC and emergency service adaptation. The findings also discuss the moderating and quadratic effects of ANEC on outcome constructs. We discuss the implications of our findings for emergency situations with limitations and future research directions. Originality/value: The findings show that building ANEC plays a fundamental role in developing strategic agility and service adaptation in emergency situations to prepare for disruptions, mitigate risks and continue operations.