About the Seattle Office of Emergency Management
Seattle is subject to a variety of hazards … severe weather, earthquakes, pandemics, large planned events which pose security concerns, etc. The Office of Emergency Management is responsible for developing plans, partnerships, training and exercises to minimize the danger and damage to our community caused by those hazards. OEM does this in partnership with the community, working with residents, community-based organizations, schools, hospitals, faith-based groups, and many others in preparing themselves. The Seattle Office of Emergency Management partners with other City departments, County, State and Federal governments as well as the business community to recover from the aftermath of disasters. The more people on this city-wide team, the stronger we are together. We invite you to join us in this effort.
Barb Graff, Director of Emergency Management
On April 29, 2016, the City of Seattle's emergency management program was accredited by the national Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) Commission.
We partner with the community to prepare for, respond to, mitigate the impacts of, and recover from disasters.
PRINCIPLES OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
We consider and take into account all hazards, all phases, all stakeholders and all impacts relevant to disasters.
We anticipate future disasters and take preventive and preparatory measures to build disaster-resistant and disaster-resilient communities.
We use sound risk management principles (hazard identification, risk analysis, and impact analysis) in assigning priorities and resources.
We ensure unity of effort among all levels of government and all elements of the community.
We create and sustain broad and sincere relationships among individuals and organizations to encourage trust, advocate a team atmosphere, build consensus, and facilitate communication.
We use creative and innovative approaches in solving disaster challenges.
We value a science and knowledge-based approach based on education, training, experience, ethical practice, public stewardship and continuous improvement.
We strive to be service oriented, collaborative, and continuously improving.
The Seattle Office of Emergency Management is responsible for managing and coordinating the City's resources and responsibilities in dealing with all aspects of emergencies.
Unity of Effort
Seattle's Disaster Management Committee meets monthly with department and agency representatives who advise on disaster readiness and response capabilities within the City. The Strategic Work Group meets weekly to work on emergency management topics that enhance our citywide preparedness. The Mayor chairs the Emergency Executive Board made up of senior staff and key Department Directors who address emergency management policies.
The OEM actively works to mitigate known hazards through planning and the use of federal and state grants. Over the years these funds have been used to seismically retrofit community centers and critical public utilities and transportation infrastructure, as well as supported the design of basic structural guidance for retrofitting residential homes.
Our community's ability to survive and recover from a disaster is a shared mission between government and the community. OEM has several programs aimed at increasing community resilience. We encourage neighborhood preparedness through our Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare (SNAP) program and reach non-English speaking communities with vital training through our Community Safety Ambassador program. Our Auxiliary Communication Services (amateur radio program) with their 140+ volunteers provide essential emergency communication capabilities and vital connections between Community Emergency Hubs - predetermined locations where people come together after a disaster to share information, resources and solve problems.
The OEM is the central coordinating agency for the development, training and maintenance of the all-hazard Seattle Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, the Seattle Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis, the Seattle All Hazard Mitigation Plan, Seattle Disaster Recovery Framework, Departmental Continuity of Operations Plan, an OEM Strategic Plan, and many incident-specific checklists and protocols. OEM works closely with City departments, non-profit agencies, hospitals, schools, the military and many other elements of our overall community when developing emergency management plans.
Training and Exercises
Over 250 department, agency, regional and policy representatives are identified as Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff. The mission of the EOC is to coordinate information, resources and plans of action in times of emergency. To maintain skills, OEM offers annual training to EOC staff and conduct and evaluate exercises to test and improve emergency plans.
During disasters, OEM manages the city's EOC which is the central location for strategic collaboration and information sharing. Since 2005, the EOC has activated 40 times, 6 of those for Presidentially Declared Disasters. The EOC works closely with King County, Washington State and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Activations have been for earthquake, snow, wind, large fires, protests, excessive heat, flu, transportation accidents and large planned events.
With every Presidentially Declared Disaster, OEM staff advocate for and administer federal disaster assistance programs made available to City government, residents, and businesses through the Stafford Act. OEM also coordinates post-disaster recovery planning designed to guide community recovery and rebuilding after major disasters.
Click here to view OEM's brochure.