Emergency Management

What is Emergency Management?

Emergency management agencies across the nation are responsible for coordinating the emergency and disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery efforts within their jurisdictions.

Mitigation is defined as "sustained action that reduces or eliminates long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects." It describes the ongoing effort at the federal, state, local and individual levels to lesson the impact of disasters upon our families, homes, communities and economy.

Preparedness means to have plans or preparations already made for reacting promptly and effectively to save lives and help response-and-rescue operations, before an emergency. Preparedness includes having evacuation plans, designating a family meeting place after an emergency and having a disaster supply kit.

Response begins as soon as a disaster is detected or threatens. It involves mobilizing and positioning emergency equipment and personnel, and getting people out of danger. It also means providing needed food, water, shelter, medical services and bringing damaged services and systems back on line. Local responders, government agencies and private organizations take action.

Recovery is the effort to restore infrastructure and social and economic life of a community to normal, or even safer situation, following an emergency or disaster. Recovery can be short-term or long-term.

Emergency management agencies create and test plans and procedures for both natural and technological disasters on a regular basis. Skagit County Emergency Management plans for the potential of both natural and technological emergencies.

Natural hazards are those caused by natural events, often weather related, that pose threats to lives and property. Some natural hazards include: droughts, floods, wildfires, landslides, sleet and ice storms, high winds, tornados, blizzards and earthquakes.

Technological hazards or human-caused emergencies are those caused by tools, machines and substances that we use in our every day life. Here are some examples of these types of hazards: power outages, explosions, airplane crashes, electrical fires, chemical spills and nuclear emergencies.