What Is a Local Emergency?

Local Emergencies

When circumstances within the county indicate that the occurrence or threat of occurrence of widespread or severe damage, injury or loss of life or property from natural or human-made cause exists the Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners may declare a local state of emergency. Such a declaration shall be promptly filed with the Department of State Police, Emergency Management / Homeland Security Division. This declaration shall not be continued or renewed for a period in excess of 7 days except with the consent of the board.

Chairperson Responsibilities

If the Chairperson invokes such power and authority, he/she shall, as soon as reasonably expedient, convene the board for 1 or more emergency meetings in accordance with the Open Meetings Act to perform its normal legislative and administrative duties as the situation demands, and will report to that body relative to emergency activities. Nothing in this resolution shall be construed as abridging or curtailing the powers of the board unless
specifically provided herein.

The Chairperson may do one or more of the following under a local state of emergency:
  • Direct the Emergency Management Coordinator to implement the Emergency Operations Plan.
  • Issue directives as to travel restrictions on county or local roads.
  • Relieve county employees of normal duties and temporarily reassign them to other duties.
  • Activate mutual aid agreements.
  • Direct the overall disaster relief effort, including disaster relief force, in accordance with the Emergency Action Guidelines.
  • Notify the public and recommend to shelter in-place, evacuate, or other protective measures necessary for public safety.
  • Request a state of disaster or emergency declaration from the Governor as described in Article 6.
  • When obtaining normal approvals would result in further injury or damage, the Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners may, until the board convenes, waive procedures and formalities otherwise required pertaining to the following:
    • For a period of up to 7 days, send the disaster relief force of the county to the aid of other communities as provided by mutual aid agreements.
    • For a period of up to 7 days, appropriate and consider expending contingency funds from county resources as outlined in Article 9 of this document.
    • For a period of up to 7 days, make contracts, obtain and distribute equipment, materials, and supplies for disaster purposes.
    • Employ temporary workers.
    • Purchase and distribute supplies, materials, and equipment.
    • Make, amend, or rescind ordinances or rules necessary for emergency management purposes which supplement a rule, order, or directive issued by the Governor or a state agency. Such an ordinance or rule shall be temporary and, upon the Governor's declaration that a state of disaster or state of emergency is terminated, shall no longer be in effect.
If a state of disaster or emergency is declared by the Governor, assign and make available for duty the employees, property, or equipment of the county within or without the physical limits of the county as ordered by the Governor or the Director of the Department of State Police in accordance with the act.

The Role of the Local Emergency Program Manager

The local Emergency Program Manager has the day-to-day responsibility of supervising emergency management programs and activities. Most emergencies are handled at the local level, however there may be an occasion where State or Federal assistance is needed. The Emergency Program Manager serves as the local conduit to that assistance. This role entails coordinating all aspects of a jurisdiction’s mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities.


  • Coordinates resources from all sectors before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Manages activities relating to mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
  • Ensures that all players of the process:
    • Are aware of potential threats to the community.
    • Participate in mitigation and prevention activities.
    • Plan for emergencies using an all-hazards approach.
    • Operate effectively in emergency situations.
    • Conduct effective recovery operations after a disaster.
  • The Emergency Program Manager coordinates all components of the emergency management system for the community, including:
    • Fire and police services.
    • Emergency medical programs.
    • Volunteers and voluntary organizations.
  • Coordinating the planning process and working cooperatively with organizations and government agencies.
  • Advising and informing the Chief Elected Official about emergency management activities.
  • Identifying and analyzing the potential effects of hazards that threaten the jurisdiction.
  • Taking inventory of personnel and material resources from private sector sources that would be available in an emergency
  • Identifying resource deficiencies and working with appropriate officials on measures to resolve them.
  • Developing and carrying out public awareness and education programs.
  • Establishing a system to alert officials and the public in an emergency.
  • Establishing and maintaining networks of expert advisers and damage assessors for all hazards.
  • Coordinating a review of all local emergency-related authorities and recommending amendments, when necessary.