we looked at making a list of potential hazards. Now, let's look at your emergency management plan.
Every city/county should have an Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This is a central location that enables governments to coordinate policy decisions, manage resources, and respond to disasters and emergencies beyond the scope of an on-scene incident commander (Emergency Management plans should also include an alternative EOC should the primary facility be unavailable).
The emergency management plan should also consider the following tasks and delegations:
- Notification and Warning of the Event
- Direction and Control (who is in charge)
- Emergency Public Information
- Search and Rescue
- Evacuation, Traffic Control and Security
- Damage Assessment
- Debris Clearance
- Utilities Restoration
*Each topic will take time to develop. Prepare to provide definition of support functions, systems that will be used, process and procedures, delegate responsibility and include all resources that will be needed.
I think lastly the local officials have a responsibility to the community. Communication strategies should be in place to stay on top of, or even in front of, the disaster. If you fail to have adequate preparation and organization surrounding your communication back to the public, rumors may be taken as truth and facts may be mispresented, resulting in a distorted public perception of the emergency and what steps are being taken to deal with it. Most local officials use the following three points and format to make it easy for them and easy to understand for the public.
- What happened? Facts about the situation should be released as soon as possible and when information is confirmed. Updates should be frequent and numerous.
- What does it mean to me? Place yourself in the public's shoes. Provide them with information to enhance their safety and address potential concerns. Fear of the unknown is greater than fear of the facts.
- What are you doing about it? The public wants to get "back to normal" as soon as possible. Tell them what you are doing to control the situation and return it to order. Explain how the process will work, how long it could take, and what they can expect.
There is so much more detail and thought that will go into your overall plan. Make sure you involve everyone in the planning process. Test your plan regularly and take care of yourself. There are several free templates and checklists available to every organization. FEMA and Homeland Security also have a better list of available resources, up to date policies and requirements.
CMG Assist is also available to help with free consultations or advice depending on where you are at in your process. We are a disaster recovery organization focused on helping our clients find the best and lowest cost solutions available. We are the creators of CMG Access
, an online planning tool that is offered as a free public service to all companies in the United States and Canada. We recently launched AAA Disaster Recovery Club
This service helps our members with the physical resources they will need at the time of the disaster such as office space, generators, technology, internet and phone lines that are independent of the local infrastructure. We encourage anyone building a plan, to make sure that plan is backed up with the physical resources to make that plan actionable. Otherwise it's like have a manual to tell you how to change your flat tire but with no jack or spare.
We hope this information was helpful and it is provided as a reference only, and does not in any way supersede or replace existing county or local emergency policies, plans or procedures.