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Emergency Management

Everyone has been following the devastation caused by the hurricanes in the Gulf Coast area. We are not likely to have a hurricane but that does not mean that we are immune from experiencing disasters. Earthquakes, floods, volcanic and ice storms, plus accidents or criminal acts or acts of terrorism could all be visited upon us here in Kittitas County.

The Sheriff's Department of Emergency Management as well as other County and municipal departments work with Washington State agencies to plan, equip, train for, and practice our response to emergency situations. Kittitas County updates and maintains the County Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.

Kittitas County has taken the lead in a number of areas. We have worked WASPC to map schools and other crucial structures. We have worked with EMS, the health Department and Hospitals on biological issues and mass casualty exercises. We have acquired new communication equipment and Mobile data Computers for all local law enforcement to better communicate during disasters. We have assigned a full time emergency management specialist to work with other agencies and departments on training and preparing for emergencies. We meet regularly with other agencies to share intelligence information and training opportunities.

As part of our emergency plan for the Sheriff's Office, we will assigned a liaison to support the families of employees, so that our people can devote their full attention to the emergency needs of the community. Finally, the Sheriff's through Kittitas County Search and Rescue has trained and oversees the CERT or Citizens Emergency Response Teams. Theses volunteers are trained in how they can best help emergency workers and citizens during a disaster. In these and other ways, Kittitas County and your Sheriff's Office are ahead of other jurisdictions in preparing for disasters of all kinds.

Of course, we want to encourage each of you to be prepared in your own homes and in your own neighborhoods. Every household should have at least 72 hours of food and water stored for each member of the family. Flashlights, warm clothing and other essentials should be available as well. If disaster strikes, up to the minute information can be obtained by tuning to local radio stations and the National Weather channels.

In the Sheriff's Office, we work hard on disaster preparedness. With well-trained and dedicated personnel and organized, well-prepared citizens, we can work together to minimize the danger and damage of any emergency we face.

Please contact our office for a free Disaster Preparation Handbook. For more information contact Operations Commander Darren Higashiyama at 509-933-8206 or contact Washington State Emergency Management (800) 562-6108 or visit their Web site at http://www.emd.wa.gov/.

Kittitas County Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan

* Were intentionally omitted to stay consistent with FEMA's plan development guidelines. FEMA plans to add these ESF's in the future, however they have not been assigned under current plan guidance.