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City is Prepared with Emergencies – Here is How

At tonight’s meeting, Staff of the Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security, Emergency Management Division presented the Council with an overview of County emergency responsibilities and resources. Following the presentation and discussion, the City Manager and Public Services Director will discuss recent City incident response and the use of external resources such as Federal pandemic response funding, County logistical support for storm response, and municipal mutual aid for storm recovery. Future needs and improvements will be discussed.

The City has an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) for staff use as guidance during various emergency incidents. The City Manager and Public Services Director are reviewing the existing EOP for any appropriate revisions. The EOP was generally followed for recent weather emergencies and pandemic operations. The EOP and annual Snow Plan are followed for snow emergencies.

City departments have prepared Continuity of Operations Plans (COOP). These will be reviewed and updated during FY23 to reflect current operations and facilities. The City exercised responsible COOP during the pandemic and temporary relocation of City operations during the construction of the new City Hall.

The City EOP anticipates the establishment of Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) during emergencies. These locations are situational and determined by the City Manager. During the recent weather emergency, the City Manager located an EOC at Davis Hall. Staff and technical support operated from that location for several days. Davis Hall routinely functions as the EOC for snow emergencies.

Depending on specific emergencies or special events, City staff may be assigned as liaisons at UMD EOC or the County Office of Homeland Security/Office of Emergency Management (PGOHS EOC).

During the recent weather emergency, it was determined that City Hall had not been designed to provide EOC support services during a power outage. The City Manager then moved EOC operations to Davis Hall. The City Manager and Public Services Director are touring neighboring EOCs to determine best practices and necessary support systems and facilities to improve City EOC facilities and support. We have toured PGOHS, Laurel, and UMD. We plan to visit additional EOC sites. The FY24 proposed budget will contain funding for recommended EOC facility improvements.

Besides physical EOC facilities, the City will implement virtual EOC capacity via WebEOC software to provide connectivity with County and State emergency managers and agencies.

City staff, in various departments have received FEMA ICS training for managing incident operations with mutual assistance agencies.

City staff monitor potential emergencies through public news media, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Regional Incident Communications and Coordination System (RICCS), and the National Weather Service (NWS).

City staff work with County Office of Homeland Security/Office of Emergency Management (OHS) staff to coordinate OHS support of City emergency operations and resident services. This partnership is essential to receiving any federal or state emergency funding. Any authorized Federal and State emergency funding is distributed to municipalities through County emergency managers.

[City of College Park]

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