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Emergency Preparedness
What Every Municipal Official Should Know About Emergency Preparedness

The first thing every municipal official should understand about emergency preparedness is that every emergency incident is local. Regardless of your town's size, when disaster strikes municipal officials will find themselves on the front line. For a better understanding of the municipal role in an emergency, see the Hometown Emergency Preparedness Ad hoc Committee (HEPAC)’s "Preparing for Disasters: A Guide for Municipalities" as well as the Maryland Emergency Management Association (MEMA)'s "Local Officials' Guide."  For an introduction to MEMA services and their role in emergency response check out this this video.

Simply knowing where to start may be the greatest challenge for municipal leaders interested in developing an emergency operations plan. For this reason, HEPAC has created an Emergency Planning Checklist and guidance document to get you started.

Like most other professional fields these days, emergency management uses a variety of acronyms in order to communicate critical tools, processes, and entities. Accordingly, HEPAC has created a Glossary to help city and town officials navigate this terrain.

Among the documents your city or town will want to have in place when an emergency strikes is an emergency operations plan, which should include a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a general template guiding you on recommended COOP content (the FEMA COOP Plan Template) as well as general guidance on a COOP Adoption Plan.

NEW! For guidance on the key components and functions of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC), this newly released MEMA video will provide you with important insights and information.

Sample Emergency Plans & Ordinances
In addition, you may want to explore some of these other sample documents provided by the City of Laurel:

NIMS Training

FEMA strongly recommends that all elected officials who may be involved in responding to an emergency incident have a basic understanding of NIMS. City of Laurel Emergency Services Director Marty Flemion has created a PowerPoint presentation providing a helpful summary of the NIMS and Incident Command System (ICS) and why these protocols are essential to emergency response and recovery. For full course descriptions, including how to take classes online, visit FEMA's NIMS training page. In addition, you may want to check out MEMA's Learning Management System and Training Calendar. To access, click on "Events Calendar."

Citizen Involvement

Volunteerism and community awareness are key components in the emergency preparedness and response effort. Two great resources for understanding and facilitating involvement on the part of your citizens are Citizen Corps and

Information on Mutual Aid Agreements

Mutual aid agreements and memorandums of understanding are vital tools in the response and recovery efforts of every local government, and HEPAC has provided a brief note on why Mutual Aid Agreements are so important.