Find Washington emergency services departments and agencies. Emergency services departments provide information on emergency management, preparedness, medical response, public safety, fire prevention, and medical treatment.
Emergency Services refers to a government agency at the federal, state, county, or local level that is the lead agency for emergency situations, including preparation, response, and recovery. The types of emergencies that fall within the jurisdiction of an Emergency Services agency include natural disasters, severe weather incidents, civil unrest, and other events that pose a major threat to public safety or a significant disruption to civil society.
Emergency Services agencies coordinate emergency response activities with other government agencies and interface with the public and business community. Emergency Services agencies may be referred to as the Department or Office of Emergency Services, or the Department of Civil Preparedness. At the federal level, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is charged with providing Emergency Services. Organizationally, Emergency Services agencies may be independent departments, or they may be considered a division of a larger public safety department. FEMA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Emergency Services agencies prepare plans for emergency events, which detail procedures and the roles and responsibilities of various agencies. When an event is known in advance, such as a developing hurricane, Emergency Services coordinates the preparation and planning of public safety agencies, public works agencies, utilities, hospitals, and other essential entities to minimize an emergency's impact and ensure an effective and rapid response. Emergency Services is usually the liaison to counterparts at other levels of government.
During an emergency event, an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) may be activated. An EOC is equipped with communications networks, an uninterruptible power supply, and other resources that enable it to serve as the central location for managing and responding to the event. The EOC will usually remain activated during the recovery period following an emergency event. It can also be used during non-emergency times for disaster planning and preparedness training.
Emergency Services agencies engage extensively with the public. During non-emergency times, Emergency Services conducts public outreach to educate the public on how to maintain a state of preparedness. Emergency Services also serves as an essential source of public information leading up to and during emergencies.