Emergency Management and Homeland Security – Pima County

Pima County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Operations Plan.

The need for domestic emergency preparedness is a reality in the context of time in which we live in. The lessons learned as a result of the past emergency incidences indicate an integrated levels of communication, coordination, command and control to be among the key effective aspects in response, prevention, preparedness and recovery operations (McMahan& Rural/Metro. Fire Department, 2014).

The Pima County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is the key local federally authorized program within the framework of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure an effective undertaking of the primary emergency management initiatives. The Pima County OEM is by extension a branch of the Arizona State Division of Emergency Management and also the Arizona State Department of Homeland Security(Lindell, Perry & Prater, 2007). The OEM operates in a manner to ensure a prevention of loss of lives in case of emergencies and also reduce the damage on property as a result of technological, man-made and natural disasters.

The Pima County Emergency Operations Plan (PCEOP) creates an establishment of an elaborative country-wide, all-hazards structure to cater for the provision of a well-organized coordination and the success of Pima County regional emergency management initiatives(McMahan & Rural/Metro. Fire Department, 2014, Arora & Arora, 2012). The emergency management spectrum covered by the PCEOP encompasses a full range of constantly changing and complex requirements with regard to the formulating a response to, or anticipation of, major disasters, threats or an form of terrorism among other emergencies which may expend the impacted county, local or tribunal jurisdictions.

Pima County Community Wildfire Protection Plan

Moreover, the Pima County office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has established the development of the Pima County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) with regards to the requirements outlined in the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003.

The CWPP analyzes all the communities at risk from the wildland fire in Pima County and then establishes an array of recommendations towards reducing the wildland vegetative fuel and structural ignitibility. The plan’s scope further encompasses the enhancement of public education and outreach on the effects of wildland fire within the urban interface(McMahan & Rural/Metro. Fire Department, 2014). The recommendations deduced from the findings of CWPP are designed to be implemented with an aim of reducing the risk of unwanted wildlife to the communities.

There is a Core Team of agency resource experts in wildland fire established by the Pima County to undertake the analysis process. A Wildland Urban Interface boundary has been established by the Core Team with an aim of determining the wildland vegetation fuel hazard, and infrastructure/structure analyses. The Core Team invites residents to give the perspective into the plan and further encourage public review to facilitate their entire engagement of coming up with a comprehensive emergency management and homeland security plan.

County’s Core Stakeholders

Households

The household is the basic organizational unit for the emergency management. Household espouse hazard adjustments, for instance, preparedness and mitigation measures, and households’ evacuation. All the households have an interest in emergency management policies which are developed and implemented by the county. The actions of households affect their vulnerability to environmental hazards as they make choice to live in less or more hazard-prone places.

NGO’s, Non-Profit Organizations (NPO’s), CBO’s and religious organizations.

All of these groups vary in terms of their sizes, amount of its resources, and the level of organizational complexity. Moreover, they vary also in the functions each perform to the community and, thus, they exhibit varied levels of interest in the county’s emergency management activities (Bullock, Haddow & Coppola, 2012). Nevertheless, they are critical partners in the formulation of emergency management policies and practices. They have traditionally played crucial parts in the various phases of emergency management. For instance, churches have often been used to provide shelters at times of evacuation and have frequently assisted in providing recovery funding.

Environmental Organizations

The environmental organizations have ensure a cohesive relationship between the hazard mitigation and environmental protection. Alliances between these organizations and the EM/ HS teams would provide an avenue for greater coordination and execution of emergency policies, plans and programs (Abbott, Hetzel, & American Bar Association, 2010).

County’s Unique Stakeholders

Businesses

Businesses form a fundamental economic group of the county emergency management stakeholders (Burchfield, 2009). They are important players in emergency management as they constitute the societal institutions which organizes the flow of goods and services to the county. They variedly have a pool of resources to help in supporting the emergency management initiatives. Likewise some of these businesses are vulnerable to disruption as a result of disasters and since they are deeply embedded within the county they are likely to take a favorable response to appeals for assistance.

Local government

Local government play a unique role among the EM/ HS team’s stakeholders as it becomes the major public utility provider. These entail provision of water, solid waste management, electricity, and communications (Nicholson, 2005). Such areas of public utility provisions have been active facets in the emergency management measures since they are responsible for the restoration of basic services to the citizens.

Methods to Conduct Coordination Sessions

The attendance of partners to the county’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security sessions is critical to the effectiveness of the policies reached by the stakeholders. Therefore, this paper gives an insight of the methods deployed in conducting coordination sessions for the partners to attend.

Establishment of a communication link

This method ensure that there is information dissemination network in which message is passed to reach the stakeholders.The aim of this technique is to ensure that there is communication with the public through establishment of a direct contact with the citizens in the county (Chertoff, 2009). Such link are often established when people converge for meetings of schools, community organizations and neighborhood. The aspect of neighborhood meetings creates a platform which deals with very timely and specific topics on matters of emergencies and security. This avenue can reach an audience which was otherwise difficult to contact by providing a face-to-face contact and a dialogue opportunity (Burchfield, 2009). This meetings give a hint on the merits for partners to attend the emergency sessions, for instance on how warnings will be disseminated, roads that shall serve as evacuation routes, and the entire process to be deployed in securing evacuated areas.

Live exercises

Another way of conducting coordination sessions for partners to attend entails carrying out of live exercises on orienting residents, stakeholder on the emergency management and homeland security plan. The live exercises are live rehearsals for the implementation of the emergency management plan. The live exercises are specifically significant for testing communications, logistics and physical capabilities.

The exercise would include excellent training events from the perspective of an experiential learning, assisting the partners in developing confidence in their skills and gain of experience of the exact manner in which to apply the procedures of the plan in case of a real event (Lindell, Perry & Prater, 2007). Thus, the aim of the live exercise would essentially be a practice drill or training exercise.

Table top exercise

This method of conducting coordination sessions is purely an avenue on which partners attend purposefully for the simulation of the emergency management plan. This is a boardroom kind of meeting in which the partners simulate the dislink between the emergency’s scope of operation and the community’s perception. The partners are expected to know the plan and then are invited to test the working mechanisms of the plan as the scenario unfolds.

Tactics to elicit robust participation,

An initiative of a “talk up” is the very first means of eliciting a robust participation. This is carried between the emergency management team and their relatives, neighbors and friends to discuss on community hazard vulnerability and the general emergency plans(United States, 2012). This tactic provides a grass-root formulation of the emergency plan policies on a well-coordinated platform.

A second tactic would encompass an establishment of a “hazard hotline” telephone number. Citizens should be informed of the information line for a timely gathering and dissemination of information on a routine basis.

The last tactic would be creation of citizen advisory committees and citizen cadre opportunities.An advisory committee is usually small in size and provide general guidance on emergency planning. The officials of such advisory committee should devise a schedule for the periodic meetings and a mechanism for soliciting information, making an evaluation from it and then applying the concepts appropriately.

Baseline information to elicit optimal contributions from partners.

The sole purpose of every partner within the framework of EM/ HS is create measures, policies and plans in which there is high regards to public safety and security (Nicholson, 2005). Eliciting optimal cooperation from partners is attained when the team seeks feedback from the citizens, particularly about some specific emergency planning policies and planning efforts which could be applicable in the emergency and security operations.

Tactics for EM/HS team to gain cooperation form recalcitrant partners

The EM/ HS would first offer an avenue of negotiations. Negotiations entails a fundamental tension among recalcitrant partners to undertake a cooperative network in order to achieve their goals.The EM/ HS team should engage the partners to hedge out a common understanding towards creating a cooperative society towards any kind of emergency. Finding the variation existing between cooperation and completion among these partners result to a creation of balance of what the partners should give priority collectively as a community and this is a key to a successful negotiation.

The second tactic that the team of EM/ HS can apply is the strategy of choosing the path of indirection. The team of emergency management can break through the opponent’s resistance, giving him a side approach and acting contrary to what he expects. This strategy ensures that the recalcitrant partner is treated with respect – as an individual to be persuaded and not as an object to be pushed. The team should ensure that rather than trying to change his mind by direct pressure, it needs to change the partners’ environment in which he makes decisions. Then the recalcitrant partner should be left to draw his own conclusions and make a choice of their own.

Advice to county EM/HS team.

The county should acknowledge the purposes served by the coordination an emergency management and homeland security plan. This would create an environment in which the emergency authorities better anticipate the reaction of their community in an event of a disaster and to ensure citizens are familiar with the emergency response operations and planning. The county should apply an alternative emergency management program that best meet the emergency preparedness needs and the county’s budgetary constraints (United States, 2012).

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