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What is Emergency Management?
Emergency Management is an important partner with the public safety agencies in Chelan County. A good method to explain the role we carry out is to relate an incident to a play.
The Producer - Chelan County Emergency Management is responsible for the coordination of the public safety agencies, such as fire, police, ambulances, public works, volunteers, and more, during an emergency.
The Stage Director - During the emergency, Chelan County Emergency Management assists with the control of resources. A common misconception is that we run the incident, this is incorrect. The police and fire chiefs, public works directors, and similar positions, are all people that control and direct resources. Our role is to assist these people in the application of their resources to effect a coordinated response to the emergency.
Where did Emergency Management originate?
Emergency Management's roots date back to the 1800's in large cities. Over crowding of wooden building and the resulting devastating fires brought the onset of organizations to address this hazard. In 1803 the US Government passed what is regarded as the first national disaster legislation to provide support for a devastating fire in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. These programs grew into the civil defense programs of World War II.
In 1979 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created by consolidation of five other agencies which had each focused on a single hazard. With this came the concept of "comprehensive emergency management." this concept moved away from a single hazard approach, to the all-hazards approach we see today. After the creation of FEMA, many local agencies changed their names to include "emergency management."
Emergency Management Today
Today, using the concept of comprehensive emergency management, Chelan County Emergency Management aims to, "protect the civilian population and property from the destructive forces of natural and man-made disasters through a comprehensive program of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery."
Emergency Management activities are divided into four phases; mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Activities in the Mitigation Phase work to, "eliminate or reduce the chance of occurrence or the effects of a disaster." The Planning Phase addresses how we will respond to an disaster in our community. The Response Phase is the time spent immediately after an incident occurs that we are providing direct assistance to the community. The Recovery Phase runs from the end of the Response Phase until activities are back to normal.
Excerpts and content taken from: FEMA's IS-1 Emergency Manager, an Orientation to the Position, Course Manual