County Comment: Basic Emergency Operations Plan

County Comment
Basic Emergency Operations Plan
by Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer
Washington County, Maryland

In its regular meeting on March 3rd, the Washington County Board of County Commissioners approved accepting a final draft of the County's "Basic Emergency Operations Plan" (BEOP).
As presented by Division of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Director Kevin Lewis, the plan's ultimate goal is to protect the public and respond efficiently and effectively to significant incidents that threaten life, property, public safety, and the environment in Washington County, The Basic Emergency Operations Plan (BEOP) provides a framework for government and private entities to respond to public emergencies. The BEOP provides a unified structure for public/private agency emergency response operations to ensure a coordinated and effective operation, and describes how various agencies will work collaboratively within the jurisdiction and with our regional and federal partners.
The Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) provides the framework for county government and non-government entities to respond to a public emergency. The EOP outlines the approach and designates responsibilities intended to minimize the consequences of any disaster or emergency situation where assistance is needed.
The Basic Plan explains the purpose of the EOP, the situation and assumptions, and the concept of operations that defines the central tasks that the County will seek to accomplish during most response operations. The EOP unifies the efforts of County organizations, non-government and volunteer agencies for a comprehensive and effective approach for responding to and reducing the impacts of a public emergency. The EOP establishes a process and structure for the efficient, coordinated, and effective delivery of agency assistance to the whole County in the time of an emergency. The EOP outlines how the County agencies and departments will work in a collaborative manner both internally, among themselves, and externally with regional, state and federal partners. The ultimate goal is to respond to public emergencies within the County that threatens life, property, public safety and the environment in a methodical and efficient manner.
Fifteen emergency support functions have been identified, patterned after the federal response plan. Each of the 15 ESF Annexes to the Basic Plan outline the purpose and scope of each function, the operating policies, planning assumptions, concept of operations, and responsibilities of the lead and support agencies involved. The ESFs include Transportation emergencies, Communications, Public Works and Engineering, Fire Fighting, Emergency Management, Mass Care & Emergency Assistance, Housing & Human Resources, Resources Support, Public Health and Medical Services, Search and Rescue, Oil & Hazardous Materials, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Energy, Public Safety & Security, Long Term Community Recovery, External Affairs and Animal Protection.
Supporting Annexes will be developed on a continual basis to cover various specific types of events and situations. Some of the supporting annexes under development or in the planning stage include the Recovery Function, Special Events, Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Emergency Surface Transportation Evacuation, Long Term Community Recovery, and Tactical Manuals for Fire Fighting
The BEOP will be posted to the County web page in the near future.