When natural or man-made
disasters occur the local government has the responsibility to respond and
recover from such incidents. In Illinois the Chief
Elected Official in each county has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring
that the county’s response is adequate and that necessary resources from
outside the county are requested and coordinated. In Douglas
County this has been
delegated to the Douglas County Emergency Management Agency by the Chairman of
the Douglas County Board. Our mission is
“To strengthen Douglas
County’s ability to
readily, effectively and efficiently prepare for, respond to, recover from, and
mitigate against all types of natural and man-made emergencies and disasters
through coordinating resources of the County, State and Federal agencies.” We take a lead role in each of the four
phases in Emergency Management Preparedness, Response, Recovery and Mitigation.
In preparedness we
participate with other community groups in educating individuals and business
on how they can become prepared for disasters or emergencies. Furthermore, we coordinate the development
and agencies and organizations in times of disasters and establish priorities
for local governments to follow. We work
with individuals and businesses to develop methods for mitigating disasters, or
lessening the effects of a disaster.
These could range from floodplain buyouts to building disaster resistant
structures and infrastructure. Mother Nature
may not be able to be controlled, but we can control the environment in which
we live, work, and play.
Should a disaster occur the
response phase moves to the forefront.
The Douglas County EMA is responsible to coordinate resources and information
flow for the incident(s). This is
accomplished through the staffing of an Emergency Operation
Center. This center is the central coordination point
for disasters. A full activation would require over 20 city and county agencies
to sit at the same table to coordinate resources to ensure the most efficient
use and to avoid duplication of effort.
The transition from response to the recovery phase may seem transparent,
however, recovery is the clean-up and rebuilding efforts to return to
normalcy. As in the response phase the
Douglas County EMA remains the coordination entity and works with local
organizations state agencies and FEMA to provide assistance to local
governments, businesses, and individuals.
The Douglas County EMA has created within its organization three
volunteer divisions to assist with the response and recovery phases. The communication support function is amateur
radio operators who assist with providing back-up or supplementary
communications. Temporary facilities
such as shelters, command posts, staging areas or reception centers may require
Amateur radio operators also assist with severe storm spotting allowing for
real-time information from the field enabling prompt decisions for early
warning of the public. The second
division is the Volunteer Management Support Team. They will operate a volunteer reception
center to coordinate the spontaneous volunteers that come from the community in
times of disaster. Their goal is to match
the volunteer’s skills with a need in the community with the process taking
5-10 minutes. The last volunteer
division is a Management Assistance Team.
This division encompasses a variety of tasks and general support of the
Douglas County EMA’s mission. They
provide manpower for search and rescue and incident command management
assistance. The Douglas County EMA is a
multi-faceted agency with volunteer opportunities within the community.
We believe that engaging
individuals within the community will help prepare us for catastrophic
events. However, in order to effectively
respond every individual must be prepared to some level. We hope that this guide helps you prepare you
and your family for emergencies and disasters.
Included in this guide is a listing of hazards that we face her in Douglas County.
It will also present agencies and organizations that work together to
respond in disasters; but remember that even though there is a good response
network assistance may not be able to reach you for many hours or even
days. Therefore, we have included
information on what to consider in becoming prepared in your home and at
work. We appreciate your time in doing
your part in preparedness. If you have
any questions or concerns about disasters or anything contained in this guide
please contact the Douglas County Emergency Management Agency. Douglas
County EMA (217) 253-9538