The Clackamas County Emergency Management (CCEM) Department develops, coordinates and implements a comprehensive all-hazards countywide program to minimize the impact of incidents or disasters which potentially threaten the safety and welfare of citizens. This mission operates under the premise that every individual who lives or works in Clackamas County shares responsibility for minimizing the impact of disaster on the community. CCEM serves as the central coordination point for all homeland security and emergency management activities throughout the County and as a primary point of collaboration with regional, state and federal agencies. The Department promotes community-based partnerships with special districts, schools, business and industry, community planning organizations and numerous other public and private sector organizations in order to integrate all members of the community in hazard awareness, emergency planning, incident prevention, hazard mitigation, emergency response, community preparedness and disaster recovery activities.
The Emergency Management Department also oversees the Medical Examiner’s Office which investigates deaths in the County as required by state law. Each investigation is conducted thoroughly and efficiently and provides quality services to the decedent and their families, law enforcement and other stakeholders though death investigation reports, sensitive notification of the next-of-kin and handling of personal effects.
Following is a general overview of the Emergency Management Department’s major program areas.
The emergency operations center, or EOC, provides a central location from which local government can provide interagency coordination and executive decision making for managing disaster response and recovery. The EOC represents the “voice of government” during an emergency or disaster.
An EOC is responsible for the strategic overview, or "big picture", of the disaster, and does not normally control emergency operations in the field. The EOC role is to:
- Maintain an overall “situation awareness” for critical decision making to protect life, property and the environment
- Prioritize efficient and effective use of limited critical resources
- Coordinate between multiple disciplines, jurisdictions and agencies
- Provide accurate and timely public alerts, warnings and information
- Maintain coordinated communications systems
- Determines recovery priorities
During and immediately following an incident that results in significant impacts to the community, a damage assessment process must take place. The object of the damage assessment process is to compile reports of disaster damages to public buildings and infrastructure, businesses, and residences to assess the financial losses and community impacts for response and recovery activities.
The Emergency Management Department leads a disaster exercise program that includes a series of all hazards disaster simulations, termed “exercises”. Exercises are the primary tool for assessing preparedness, response and recovery capabilities. They are used to validate training and identify areas for improvement, while demonstrating community resolve to prepare to respond efficiently and effectively to local disasters.
The Department also conducts annual drills for Clackamas County employees and encourages all county citizens to participate.
The training program focuses on planning and coordinating an annual training calendar with the goal of ensuring that specific training topics are available to County Emergency Operations Center staff, as well as to local first responders.
The public education and outreach program works to educate employees and citizens on personal preparedness, while always emphasizing that preparedness is a shared responsibility at the personal, family and community levels.
City Liaison Program
The City Liaison Program establishes a series of CCEM / city partnerships focused on improving pre-disaster mitigation; emergency operations planning; response coordination and recovery activities. The primary goal of the program is to protect the residents of the cities and ensure a line of clear communication between the County and cities before, during and after emergency events.
The program is designed to work through a designated primary point of contact in each of the incorporated cities in Clackamas County. The primary point of contact is to represent the city in emergency management policy, planning, and response discussions. In return, CCEM establishes a direct liaison with the city representatives. The CCEM representative is responsible for contacting the city representative with vital information that may enhance or affect emergency management planning and response at the city level.
Hazard mitigation is a sustained action to prevent or reduce impacts from future disasters. Examples could be the elevation of a flood-prone home, seismic retrofit of a school, fire-wise construction and landscaping, or even pruning dangerous tree limbs prior to winter storms. In 2002 Clackamas County was the first county in the US to have a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan. The County completed the third iteration with FEMA-approval on April 8, 2013 with FEMA-approved addenda from the cities of Canby, Damascus, Estacada, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Johnson City, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Sandy, West Linn, and Wilsonville.
Portland Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI)
Clackamas County Emergency Management is an active participant in the Portland Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). The UASI grant is a federal grant that is provided to address the unique equipment, training, planning, exercise and operational needs of large urban areas and to assist them in building an enhanced and sustainable capacity related to threats or acts of terrorism. As a result of this grant, agencies, cities and special districts within Clackamas County have benefited by receiving assistance with regional planning efforts, communications and information technology and response capabilities. All of these efforts allow Clackamas County to better prepare, mitigate, respond and recover from natural and man-made disasters.
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