Emergency Planning at the Local Government Level
This page is one of a series of MRSC pages on Emergency Management and Disater 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 Chapter 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 Chapter 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, OSHA 3088 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 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 Operations - Continuity Connection Video Series, U.S. Fire Administration - Topics: Continuity and You, Essential Functions, Alternate Operating Facilities, Vital Files, Databases, and Records, Leadership and Staff, COOP Plan Development, Communications and technology, Gaining Executive Support, Continuity: The Pandemic Scenario, Delegation of Authority and Orders of Succession, Test, Training, and Exercise Program, Devolution, Reconstitution
- Continuity of Operations (COOP), Federal Emergency Management Agency Region , Introduction to State and Local EOP Planning Guidance - State and local governments should consider developing or updating contingency plans for the continuity of operations (COOP) of vital government functions. Jurisdictions must be prepared to continue their minimum essential functions throughout the spectrum of possible threats from natural disasters through acts of terrorism. COOP planning facilitates the performance of State and local government and services during an emergency that may disrupt normal operations. See also Local Government Pandemic Preparedness Planning
Continuity of Government (COG)
Personnel - Reporting to Work in Declared Emergency
- Anacortes Personnel Policy 701 Attendance and Punctuality (), Comment 5 - Inclement Weather
- Mason County Personnel Policy 4.5 (), Unusual Weather Conditions/Extreme Circumstances
- Olympia Administrative Guideline, Duty to Report to Work in Disaster/Emergency, Revision Date: 03/01/2001
- Renton Policies and Procedures Policy 350-04 (), 2005 - Inclement Weather Natural Disasters
- Seattle Personnel Rule 3.9, Compensation Conditions for Inclement Weather and Disaster Response: 3.9.3 Compensation Conditions for Inclement Weather, Compensation Conditions for Disaster Response, and 3.9.4 Compensation Conditions for Disaster Response
- Woodland Personnel Policies, See also Compensation Plan Section 7(z) Exceptional Compensation: Declared Disaster Periods () and Other Leave, Section 12(g) Unusual/Inclement Weather Conditions (), 2010
Assessment of Planning
Proclaiming a Disaster or Emergency
Policies and Ordinance Provisions
Sample 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
Obtaining Services, Supplies and Materials
- Emergencies () in The County Bidding Book for Washington, Municipal Research and Services Center Report No. 56, Revised, 2009
- 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