Emergency Planning at the Local Government Level
This page is one of a series of MRSC pages on Emergency Management and Disaster Planning topics. This page provides reference links to many of the policies and procedures that are mandated or recommended by federal and state emergency management agencies. It provides examples of local policy provisions and other documents related to the mandatory or recommended practices. Links are also provided to agencies and organizations associated with emergency management planning.
About Local Government Emergency Planning
Emergency management in Washington State is authorized by the laws contained in Ch. 38.52 RCW. The Washington State Military Department Division of Emergency Management administers the state emergency management program. State criteria for emergency management funds, workers, organizations, services and plans, and disaster recovery is outlined in Title 118 WAC.
Each political subdivision is authorized and directed to establish a local organization or to be a member of a joint local organization for emergency management in accordance with the state comprehensive emergency management plan and program (see RCW 38.52.070). More specifically, WAC 118-30-040 sets out the responsibilities of political subdivisions:
- Each political subdivision must establish an emergency management organization by ordinance or resolution passed by the legislative body of the political subdivision. Two or more political subdivisions may join in the establishment of an emergency management organization.
- Each political subdivision shall develop, promulgate and submit a comprehensive emergency management plan.
- Each political subdivision shall submit an emergency management program paper annually to the director not less than sixty days prior to the beginning of the calendar year.
- Political subdivisions that have joined together to form a joint emergency management organization may submit a single plan and program paper. Criteria for evaluating local emergency management/services organizations, plans and programs to ensure consistency with the state comprehensive emergency management plan and program is outlined in Ch. 118-30 WAC.
State Planning Documents
General Emergency Planning References
- Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), updated 2004 - A comprehensive source on individual, family and community preparedness
- Critical Infrastructure Protection, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans: Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101 (), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Version 2.0, 11/2010
- Elected Officials' Guide to Emergency Management (), Washington State Emergency Management Association, 02/2003
- Fact Sheet on Obtaining and Using Employee Medical Information as Part of Emergency Evacuation Procedures, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - Consult ADA updates for changes in law.
- How to Plan for Workplace Emergencies and Evacuations, U.S. Department of Labor, 2001 (Revised)
- Regional Disaster Resilience: A Guide for Developing an Action Plan (), The Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP), 2011 edition - The RDR Guide is designed for use by any practitioner or expert who wishes to improve the capabilities of their organization or community to withstand major incidents or disasters. Typical users include local officials, emergency management and homeland security directors; energy, transportation management, and environmental protection officials; utility and business owners and operators interested in improving security outside their businesses, and faith-based organizations and non-profits serving people in need or having other community health and safety missions.
- Rebuilding for a More Sustainable Future: An Operational Framework, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Pub. No. 365, 2000
- Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messaging, American Red Cross, produced by the National Disaster Education Coalition, Washington, D.C., 2004
- Emergency Management Institute (EMI), Training opportunities for officials in emergency management at all levels of government to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the potential effects of all types of disasters and emergencies on the American people.
Emergency Planning Topics
National Incident Management System (NIMS)
- The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide a system that would help emergency managers and responders from different jurisdictions and disciplines work together more effectively to handle emergencies and disasters. All Washington cities and counties needed to formally adopt the National Incident Management System (NIMS) by September 30, 2005 through an ordinance, resolution, or proclamation.
Continuity of Operations (COOP)
Continuity of Government (COG)
Personnel - Reporting to Work in Declared Emergency
Assessment of Planning
Proclaiming a Disaster or Emergency
Policies and Ordinance Provisions
- Poulsbo Municipal Code Ch. 2.60 - Emergency Proclamations
- San Juan County Code Sec. 2.48.100 - Disaster Declarations
- Seattle Disaster Readiness & Response Plan
- Spokane Municipal Code Ch. 2.04 - Civil Emergencies
- Vancouver Municipal Code Ch. 2.12 - Emergency Management
Local Government Proclamations
Many of these examples are from the last decade, but they serve as illustrations of the various disasters declared by local governments
- Chehalis Resolution No. 18-90 - Declares an emergency - Flood, passed 11/26/1990
- Des Moines Executive Order Proclaiming an Emergency - Earthquake, passed 02/28/2001
- Grandview Water Emergency Proclamation No. 2001-03 (), passed 04/2001
- King County Local Proclamation of an Emergency - Earthquake, passed 02/28/2001
- Lake Forest Park Resolution No. 1099 () - Rescinds emergency declaration of 12/03/2007
- Mountlake Terrace Resolution No. 491 () - Declares an emergency - Snow conditions, passed 12/29/1996
- Tacoma Resolution No. 33303 and Proclamation of Emergency () - Flooding and mudslides, passed 02/1996
- Wilbur Resolution No. 355 () - Declares an emergency - Extreme snow with possibility of flooding, passed 01/07/2009
- Woodland Resolution No. 569 () - Declares an emergency - Flooding, passed 01/20/2009. File also contains: Declaration of Emergency State of Civil Emergency dated 01/06/2009, Delegation of Authority to Incident Commander and Incident Command Team, dated 01/07/2009
- Seattle Resolution No. 30099 - A Resolution ratifying and confirming a Mayoral Proclamation of Civil Emergency and civil emergency orders issued pursuant to that Proclamation, passed 12/06/1999
Obtaining Services, Supplies and Materials
- Emergencies () in The County Bidding Book for Washington, Municipal Research and Services Center Report No. 56, Revised, 2014
- Emergencies () in The Bidding Book for Washington Cities and Towns, Municipal Research and Services Center Report No. 52, Revised, 2013
- Mutual Aid and Interlocal Agreement Handbook (), Washington State Emergency Management Division, 2009
- Emergency Relief Program, Washington State Department of Transportation, Highways and Local Programs
Debris Removal After a Disaster
Agencies and Organizations
Washington State Agencies and Organizations