The Division of Emergency Management
(D.E.M.) is responsible for developing and maintaining a community
infrastructure for emergency/disaster mitigation, planning, response,
We do this through public education, training of the response
community, developing plans, and building teams of responders.
The D.E.M. works with emergency responders, volunteers, and others
to maintain a constant state of readiness.
The Division of Emergency Management is the designated "Community
Coordinator" for the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC),
and works with local business and industry to ensure compliance
with the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
The Division maintains a chemical inventory database and
does planning for identified Extremely Hazardous Substances
zones. The D.E.M. fulfills the County's responsibilities
under EPCRA and RCW 38.52. The D.E.M. staff maintains and
Whatcom County Emergency Operations Center.
Functions of the Division of Emergency Management
Hazard Identification and Vulnerability Analysis
A Hazard Identification and Vulnerability Analysis
(HIVA) is a prelude to any emergency management planning
effort. It involves
a number of methods of identifying the risks that face a
community and the potential impact of those risks. New:
Natural Hazards HIVA Report
A core product of the Division of Emergency Management
(DEM) is the development and maintenance of emergency response
plans. The central plan is the Whatcom County Comprehensive
Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) that details the crisis responsibilities
of each community agency and organization. The CEMP incorporates
the format and function of the internationally recognized Incident
Command System. The CEMP is required by state law and is written
to ensure a coordinated emergency response between all of the
participants of the Interlocal Agreement for Emergency Management
Services. Those participants include: Whatcom County, the Port
of Bellingham and the cities of Bellingham, Blaine, Everson, Ferndale,
Lynden, Nooksack and Sumas.
Municipal plans are formatted and closely coordinated with the
CEMP. The CEMP is written to provide consistency with the state
and federal Emergency Response Plans.
The Whatcom County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
has written and maintains a Hazardous Material Response Plan,
which is an annex to the CEMP. The Hazardous Materials Response
Plan is required under both federal and state law and establishes
the specific roles and responsibilities that are needed for a
well-coordinated response for the unique risks associated with
In close coordination with our Canadian neighbors, the DEM has
also developed a Cross-Border Hazardous Materials Plan for
Whatcom County and Lower Mainland British Columbia. The DEM
was a full participant in the development and implementation of
the CANUS West Plan, which is a trans-boundary plan for response
to Oil and Hazardous Material Spills along the inland border between
British Columbia, Canada and the United States.
Other specific plans developed and or used by the DEM include,
but are not limited to:
- The Mount Baker/Glacier Peak Coordination Plan
- RACES Communications Plan
- Fire Mobilization Plan
- Northwest Area Contingency Plan
The DEM works closely with local businesses, industry, schools
and organizations to assist in their individual disaster planning
efforts. Many of these plans are on file at the DEM.
With the exception of unique vulnerability assessments, terrorist
related plans and materials that would have a substantial likelihood
of posing a threat to public safety if disclosed, the plans on
file at the DEM are available for public inspection
D.E.M. acts as a clearing house for a variety of responder
training opportunities. We also provide training whenever it is
needed due to a change in plans, procedures, personnel or equipment.
Training information is also available directly from:
Washington State Emergency Management Division, Training Section:
Fema Independent Study Courses
The Division of Emergency Management conducts a variety
of disaster and emergency response exercises ranging from notification
drills to full scale multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency exercises.
These exercises may be designed to train or familiarize responders,
assess plans or test specific functions. Exercises are a key element
in building response teams and developing coordinated disaster/emergency
D.E.M. maintains a constant state of readiness to respond
to events which may exceed the capability of any single or multiple
jurisdictions. In most instances, the Division of Emergency Management
serves as a single coordination and resource agency for large
emergencies or disasters. This service may require activation
of the Emergency Operations Center, on-scene response to serve
in the incident command post, or an office response.
Recovery efforts may involve coordinating or initiating
a damage assessment; development of appropriate recovery efforts;
promulgation of needed emergency proclamations; initiating requests
for State and/or Federal assistance or coordination of appropriate
is provided on various risks in Whatcom County and preparedness
for those risks. D.E.M. also maintains a large stock of literature
on many types of hazards, which is available to the public.
Emergency Operations Center (E.O.C.) Maintenance and Operations.
The Division of Emergency Management is responsible for
maintaining the E.O.C. in a constant state of readiness. During
a disaster the E.O.C. becomes the hub of information gathering
and dissemination, strategic decision making, resource allocation,
and incident coordination.
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