The Kern County Emergency Operations Plan establishes an emergency management organization and assigns functions and tasks consistent with California’s Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
The preservation of life and property is an inherent responsibility of all levels of government. Since disasters in many devastating forms may strike at any time, the County of Kern endeavors to save lives and minimize property damage through prior planning, preparedness measures, and training. Sound emergency plans carried out by knowledgeable and well-trained personnel can and will minimize losses from any disasters that may occur.
As defined by SEMS, an Operational Area is defined as an intermediate level of the state emergency services organization, consisting of a county and all political subdivisions within the county boundary. The County of Kern is the lead agency for the Kern Operational Area and is tasked to coordinate emergency activities between the county, cities and special districts and to serve as a communications link focusing on the collection, processing and dissemination of vital disaster information.
The Plan provides for the integration and coordination of planning efforts of the County/Operational Area with those of its cities, special districts and the state. The content is based on guidance provided by the California Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security. The intent of the Plan is to facilitate emergency response and short-term recovery by providing a framework for response to all significant emergencies, regardless of the nature of the event.
The Plan is comprised of four major parts as follows:
- Basic Plan – Overview of County/Operational Area's emergency management program, Emergency Management Organization, and concept of emergency operations
- General Procedures – Emergency procedures to be implemented by employees at the time of a major emergency or disaster
- Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Procedures & Annexes – EOC procedures, annex and checklists for each major EOC function, and resource and contact lists. (This section will be updated in 2009 to better support the newly opened Kern County EOC)
- Contingency Plans – Event-specific information and emergency instructions (e.g., Terrorism). The Contingency Plans are separate documents that may be implemented independent of the Plan and are incorporated into the Plan by reference.