Is the Office of Emergency Services (OES) a first responder agency like fire or police?

The short answer is no.  It’s the job of OES to support first responders while they do their job during an emergency.

What does the Office of Emergency Services (OES) do?

This is actually a two-part question: 1) What does OES do before an emergency; and 2) What does OES do during and emergency?

First, the biggest part of what EOS does happens before an emergency.  We work with not only first responder organizations, like law enforcement & fire agencies, we also work with area hospitals, schools, and other local, state and federal agencies to meet our mission of providing community-wide planning for disasters.  We assist in organizing training and exercise events throughout the County to prepare the first responder community for a major disaster or emergency.  Additionally we work with community groups, churches, homeowner associations, businesses and just about anyone else to help promote disaster preparedness.  Finally, we coordinate with disaster relief agencies like the American Red Cross and Salvation Army to help ensure a coordinated response to large-scale emergencies.

During a large-scale emergency, OES takes a support and coordination role in the overall response to the emergency.  Our job during an emergency is to manage the County’s emergency operations center (EOC) in order to support the first responders and coordinate outside help from State, Federal, and private disaster agencies.  OES can coordinate emergency shelters, public warning and information, disaster declarations, acquiring non-traditional resources, and many other services as required by the incident.  As the emergency enters the recovery phase, OES will coordinate disaster aid that may become available to residents, businesses and local government agencies.

I hear a lot about disaster preparedness. What does that mean to me?

Clearly, an important aspect of OES is emergency planning and preparedness; however, it is not only the responsibility of OES and the first response community to prepare for disasters.  Every county resident has a responsibility to make plans for how they will care for their family, pets, livestock, and property, during the first 72 hours of a disaster.  By definition, a disaster will exceed the normal resources and capabilities of local first response system.  It can take sometimes 72 hours for sufficient outside emergency resources to be put into place.  According to www.Ready.gov, all persons should 1) be informed, 2) make a plan, 3) build a kit, and 4) get involved.  Go to www.Ready.gov for great preparedness information.

I’d like to have someone talk to our community group about disaster preparedness. How do I arrange this?

Simply contact the Office of Emergency Services at 520-432-9220.  We’d be happy to discuss your needs and schedule an appropriate presentation.

How do I find out about emergencies that may affect me and my home?

There are several things you can do to stay informed about local threats.

  1. Listen to local radio and television news

  2. Consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio.These radios can be set to alert you day or night of immediate life-threatening weather events in your area.

  3. Sign up for Cochise County Emergency alerts.Emergency alerts affecting your home address can be sent to your house phone, cell phone (including text messages), and/or email.Sign up on the County’s webpage or click on the link: http://entry.inspironlogistics.com/cochise_az/wens.cfm

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