The Emergency Management Division plans for and responds to a wide range of both natural and man-made disasters or events. These range from severe weather events to incidents involving hazardous materials. The division prepares and implements a county-wide Emergency Operations Plan, and routinely conducts extensive exercises to test local & regional emergency response capabilities.
The division is the county's liaison with state and federal emergency management agencies on emergencies of all kinds. Division staff members provide technical assistance to other local government entities and municipalities as they prepare emergency plans and procedures.
The division is responsible for and maintains a primary Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the County. The EOC serves as the command and control center for coordinating and directing emergency activities during large-scale or multi-jurisdictional disaster situations or activities. The division also coordinates closely with the County Telecommunications Department as the designated County Warning Point, which provides primary 9-1-1 service to Rowan County's citizens 24 hours each day.
The delivery of this comprehensive program also fulfills the four phases of overall emergency management as outlined below:
Mitigation is the cornerstone of emergency management. It's the continuing effort to lessen the impact disasters have on people and property in our county. Mitigation is defined as "sustained action that reduces or eliminates long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects."
Through effective mitigation practices we can ensure that fewer people and communities become victims of natural disasters. Mitigation can take many forms. It can involve such actions as:
- Promoting sound land use planning based on known hazards
- Buying flood insurance to protect your belongings
- Relocating or elevating structures out of the floodplain
- Securing shelves and hot water heaters to walls
- Developing, adopting and enforcing building codes and standards
- Engineering roads and bridges to withstand earthquakes
- Using fire-retardent materials in new construction
- Developing and implementing a plan in your business or community to reduce your susceptibility to hazards
Mitigation links include:
Preparedness takes the form of plans or procedures designed to save lives and to minimize damage when an emergency occurs. Planning, training, and disaster drills are the essential elements of preparedness. These activities ensure that when a disaster strikes, our local communities and county will be able to provide the best response possible. Disasters are caused by high winds, flash floods, releases of hazardous chemicals, fire, ice, earthquakes and other natural and man-made hazards. When disaster strikes, the best protection is knowing what to do. Rowan County encourages all of it's citizens to BE READY.
Response is the actions taken to save lives and prevent further damage in a disaster or emergency situation. Response is putting preparedness plans into action. Response activities may include damage assessment, search and rescue, fire fighting, and sheltering victims.
All response agencies and many allied entities in Rowan County utilize the National Incident Management System (NIMS) for overall incident management and incident command system (ICS) functions. This set of protocols ensure that response, as well as command & control operations are handled in a common manner. This also allows regional, state and/or federal agencies that may assist our county during a disaster will function in the same common and collective manner.
Recovery is actions taken to return the community to normal following a disaster, large scale, or multi-jurisdictional event. Repairing, replacing, or rebuilding property are examples of recovery.
Local and State governments share the responsibility for protecting their citizens from disasters, and for helping them to recover when a disaster strikes. In some cases, a disaster is beyond the capabilities of the State and local government to respond.
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Public Law 93-288, as amended (the Stafford Act) was enacted to support local and State governments and their citizens when disasters overwhelm them. The Disaster Process and Disaster Aid Programs explains the disaster declaration process and provides an overview of available assistance.
There are individual assistance programs (an overview of individual assistance programs) that assist people and businesses following a disaster and help you get back on your feet. Public Assistance Programs provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance to help state and local governments and certain private non-profit organizations rebuild.