In time of emergency

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The roots of today’s Emergency Management Agency traces back to the Civil Defense program of the late 1940’s and 1950’s. In the 1970’s with a softening of the threat of nuclear warfare between the superpowers, the Civil Defense program added planning and preparedness for natural hazards to its responsibilities (with nuclear preparedness remaining primary).
This evolution process continued with Civil Defense, “CD” eventually becoming today’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. EMA was charged with emergency planning and preparedness for all hazards. The four aspects of emergency management are:

(1) Preparation, (2) Response,

(3) Recovery, (4) Mitigation.

E.M.A. Today

Our society is based upon a network of systems which both complementing our government and essential services, banking institutions, utilities, industry, commerce, and education. We see these systems operate fairly smoothly every day. We drive to work on roadways and over bridges, go to local markets for our food supplies, and rely on the enjoyment of a home cooked meal.

These systems on which we rely (and which we tend to take for granted) are dependent upon reliable, planned supply support structures. All work well as long as nothing outside of the plan upsets the system. Think of how irritating it is to have a mere traffic slow-down due to construction. Now consider how life might be impacted if there were major electric power disruption which lasted for several weeks. No traffic lights, television, microwaves, or refrigerators.


It is the task of the Emergency Management Agency to plan for the unplanned. When we hear news reports about disasters outside of our community, it is difficult to realize the true scope of disruption that can impact a community. Major natural disasters can strike any where, any time. The San Francisco earthquake, North Carolina’s hurricane of 1990, 1992 Homestead, Florida hurricane, 2005 New Orleans and gulf coast region hurricane devastation, 2007 Oklahoma storms are notable, and the2008 tornado in Atlanta, Georgia, and the most recent gulf oil spill.

Additionally, there is the possibility of man-made disasters. Chernobyl, in the former Soviet Union, which impacted tens of thousands of people. The Trade Towers of New York City, Flight 93, and the Pentagon form a terrorist incident in 2001.

How to manage the emergency is what this agency is all about. Every disaster scenario is unique in its cause and impact. The common thread which bonds together all disaster response priorities is the need to protect human life. This starts with the basics – cording shelter, sustenance, and medical care. At the same time, the EMA is involved with coordinating activities and acts as a supply and support to those activities. Finally, the EMA helps with recovery and rebuilding the community’s essential services and infrastructure.


In order to respond to an emergency it is essential to know what resources you have to offer. The Emergency Management Agency is involved with compiling information about many needed materials. This ranges from sleeping cots and blankets to heavy equipment and man power. Local shelter capacities and operating needs also must be evaluated and cataloged. Plans for delivering these items are put into place.


State and Federal laws require communities to have disaster service plans in place, and to test them periodically. Testing in a full scale mock disaster allows evaluation and illustrates any needed plan adjustments. Tests often include the “unplanned” – such as downed bridges, blocked roadways, or other complications. This sharpens needed skills for improvising under pressure.

Morrow County Emergency Management Agency often acts as liaison with a variety of government agencies, including: State and Federal Emergency Management Agencies – for training, supporting, and for assistance during large scale disasters.

In Time of Emergency
Who’s In Charge ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 4
Emergency Operations Center -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6
Who Can Order An Evacuation? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 4
Evacuation Enforcement --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8
Emergency Alert System -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 9
Handling the Press under Stress ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 10
Public Officials in Time of Emergency -------------------------------------------------------------- 12

Considerations for Heavy Damage in Populated Areas -------------------------------------------- 13

Damage Assessment Criteria --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 16
Snow Emergency ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 18
County Declaration of Emergency --------------------------------------------------------------------- 19
County Emergency Proclamation ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 20
Requesting State Assistance ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 21
Haz-Mat Incident(s) Who Pays for Clean-up? ------------------------------------------------------- 22
Haz-Mat Incident Classification Levels -------------------------------------------------------------- 23
Haz-Mat Incident Check List --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 24
Haz-Mat Incident Site Survey -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 27
Chemical Emergency Checklist (Shelter in Place) -------------------------------------------------- 28
Chemical Emergency Checklist (Order to Evacuate) ----------------------------------------------- 30
Tornado Safety Checklist ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 31
Radiological Emergency Checklist -------------------------------------------------------------------- 33
Mass Casualty Checklist for Dispatchers ------------------------------------------------------------- 38

Who’s In Charge?

No single person is in charge of all the specific duties performed in response to an emergency situation. For each disaster, there will be many individual agencies performing their functions under the direction of their specific policies and under the guidance of their pre-determined operational head.
Elected officials, however, such as the County Commissioners, Mayor(s) of each individual city or village, and township trustees, are ultimately responsible for protecting lives and property in an emergency or disaster situation within their jurisdiction. These officials are responsible because:
A. They can authorize emergency expenditures to help eliminate or reduce the degree

of long-term risk to human life and property from any type of hazard.

B. They have the authority to make an emergency declaration.

(To request state assistance).

C. They are responsible for all phases of disaster relief, the policy-making, the restoration activities, and the continuing efforts to help the community return to normalcy.
Remember: The job of the Morrow County Commissioners, the mayor(s) of each individual city or village, and the township trustee(s) is policy making, not operational. So, for example, they do not tell the fire chief(s) how to put out a fire, but rather assist by authorizing procurement of additional needed resources.

On-Scene Command at a Fire or Rescue

The highest-ranking officer of the fire department to arrive on-scene shall be in charge of the fire and rescue field operations unless and until relieved of duty by a higher fire official.

When more than one public safety agency [I.E. law enforcement and fire] responds to the fire or rescue scene, the fire chief shall be the on-scene officer-in-charge or Incident Commander for the direction of the response effort.

On-Scene Command at a Hostile Incident

[Involving weapons, for example]
The first law enforcement agency to arrive on-scene shall be in charge of the field operations unless and until relieved of duty by a superior officer. The personnel of other responding agencies should consult with this commander before proceeding into the hostile area. This is to safeguard the lives of the responders.

Command and Control

When there is a major emergency or disaster affecting one jurisdiction in Morrow County, a community Emergency Operations Center will be established in a local government building in the jurisdiction where the incident(s) occurred.

The Morrow County E.M.A. Director will be responsible for activating the Community E.O.C.

For a major emergency or disaster affecting two or more jurisdictions in Morrow County, the county Emergency Operations Center (E.O.C.) will be activated in the Morrow County 911 Emergency Center by the Director of the Morrow County E.M.A...

The county E.O.C. will be manned by county officials. Secondary community E.O.C.’s can also be established in affected jurisdictions by the local government officials such as mayors or township trustees. Such a secondary community E.O.C. will be activated by the Morrow County E.M.A. representative or an elected official of the affected jurisdiction.
This secondary community E.O.C. will coordinate their activities with the primary county E.O.C. and request resources through the county E.O.C. This is to allow local elected officials to stay within their jurisdictions during times of major emergency or disaster.
All Communication to the State E.O.C. will come from the county E.O.C. only.

Who Can Order An


For Cities and Villages

1. Fire department and / or law enforcement for that jurisdiction
2. Morrow County Sheriff
3. Morrow County Emergency Management Agency Director
4. Mayor or the city / village manager of the affected city or village
5. Governor of the State of Ohio
Unincorporated areas of Morrow County
1. Fire Chief of that township or fire district
2. Law enforcement for that township
3. Morrow County Sheriff
4. Morrow County Emergency Management Agency Director
5. Morrow County Commission


6. Township Trustees


7. Governor of the State of Ohio
Reference: Ohio Attorney General Opinion

# 64-1532

# 87-099

Evacuation Enforcement

When may you force someone to evacuate, against their wishes?
Immediate Danger - Example: A Tornado has struck a subdivision and there are gas leaks present, charged power lines downed, and / or unsafe structures.
1. In an immediate danger situation, Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS personnel may force unwilling persons to evacuate. (Reference: Ohio Attorney General Opinion #87-099)
Escalating Danger - Example: A truck carrying hazardous materials overturns on a highway near a subdivision. Although there has been no release, the potential exists for release of a toxic cloud.
1. In an Escalating Danger situation, Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS personnel may force unwilling persons to evacuate. (Reference: Ohio Attorney General Opinion # 87-099)
2. In either the Immediate Danger or Escalating Danger situation, notify all persons in the evacuation area before taking the time to go back and forcibly remove those who are unwilling to evacuate voluntarily.
3. If Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS personnel do not choose to forcibly evacuate an unwilling adult (believed to be of sound mind), they should document the refusal to evacuate by listing the name, address, date and time of refusal, telephone number for next-of-kin notification.


Requesting EAS Activation
The designated officials authorized to request

activation of the Emergency Alert System is:

Morrow County

Emergency Management Agency Director

And / or
Morrow County Sheriff
The authorized official will activate the EAS by contacting WVNO-FM Control room at

(419) 529-5900 or (419) 529-6397

If WVNO cannot be contacted, WNCO shall be contacted at:

(419) 289-2605 or (419) 526-5825

There are three general types of messages
Advisory Message

No Action Necessary

Shelter in Place Message
Evacuation Message


When it is time to communicate with the news media, it is wise to recognize the usual way the press behaves. The broadcast and print media will attempt to fit the news into a framework and even demand news conferences, where official statements from attributable sources are provided at regular intervals. Such press conferences are often a good idea. Outside the framework of organized press conferences, the news media will try to obtain information by whatever ingenious or technical means are available, and use their background files to fill in the gaps. So for precision, it is important to recognize that it is okay to say at any time:

This is what we know
This is what we do not know
This is what is unclear
In addition, the presence of members of the press may cause conflict if there is competition with emergency responders for communication equipment, transportation access, space and resources. So it is up to the public relations teams to establish limits, and strike a balance between the media’s right to cover the story and the need to respond to the emergency.

Generally, the success of your emergency public relations response can be enhanced by following a few simple do’s and don’ts.

During An Emergency Do:
- Release only verified information
- Promptly alert the press of relief and recovery operations
- Have a designated spokesperson
- Keep accurate records and logs of all inquires and news coverage
- Try to find out and meet press deadlines
- Provide equal opportunities for electronic and print news media
- Have a clear idea of what can and cannot be released

During An Emergency Do Not:
- Idly speculate on causes of the emergency
- Speculate on the resumption of normal operations
- Speculate on the dollar loss
- Interfere with the legitimate duties of news reporters
- (Never) cover up, or purposely mislead the press
- Place the blame

Public Officials

In Time Of

Emergency or Disaster

A disaster is a stern test for the public officials of Morrow County (County Commissioners, Mayor(s) of each individual city or village, and township trustees). As a public official you will bear direct and ultimate responsibility for how Morrow County survives the next time disaster threatens.

But no matter how fundamental the responsibility, it is nonetheless difficult for any public official to turn from the urgent pressure of each day’s business to face the prospect of some future emergency or disaster.
The likelihood of an emergency or disaster occurring within your jurisdiction is growing. We live with a wide range of potential hazards - bombings, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, fire, hazardous materials release, civil disruption, etc.
Second, the same public that places little priority on emergency management before a disaster expects and demands effective leadership during a disaster.
Third, effective disaster management places extraordinary demands on you during a disaster. This is particularly true in the first hours of an emergency. Decisions made early in a disaster by public officials usually have far reaching consequences. Yet it is during this time that you have the fewest resources available to assist your decision making.
Together these factors place you at risk: politically, professionally, legally, and financially. During any major emergency or disaster you have ultimate responsibility for the well-being of the community and ultimate responsibility for the action of subordinates.
Obviously, such extensive responsibility, and the potential liability issues involved are of paramount importance to you.
To assist you in an emergency or disaster, the following pages provide information on how to assess the problem and what steps should be taken.

Considerations for Heavy Damage

In Densely Populated Areas

When densely populated areas sustain heavy property damage, (for example in a large subdivision or village where a tornado has touched down), it may be necessary to secure the area in order to mitigate the situation.

Response Phase:
1. Due to the amount of damage sustained, there may be gas leaks, charged power lines downed, debris blocking roadways, and unsafe structures. For these reasons, this area must be evacuated and secured.
2. Controlling access to the area will be done by Law Enforcement personnel by using I.D. system.
A. Large staging area away from the incident location and near major highways (such as the Morrow County Fairgrounds) will be designated for responders coming from outside Morrow County. Responders will be assigned tasks and directed to the appropriate location. A staging Coordinator will be assigned by the Morrow County Emergency Management Agency or the Incident Commander.
B. Organizations or individuals wishing to volunteer assistance in the emergency will also be sent to the large staging area away from the incident location. The American Red Cross (in cooperation with the Morrow County Emergency Management Agency) will have the responsibility of assigning those who volunteer to assist to the appropriate assigned tasks.
C. Residents will be allowed restricted access (with I.D.) into this area only after utilities have been stabilized, fire suppression and search and rescue have been completed, roadways have been cleared of debris, and the building inspector has finished posting notices of condemned structures.

D. News media personnel will be allowed escorted access (with an assigned public information officer and proper I.D.).
3. A photographic record (video tape and/or still photographs) of each damaged property should be taken as soon as possible. This will provide a record of debris location and damage assessment for use in the recovery phase.

Recovery Phase:
1. Debris Removal
A. Government agencies should only remove debris from public right-of-way and public property (such as street and drainage channels). If debris in private area threatens the public interest (for example a private drainage ditch is blocked with debris and water is backing onto the roadway), then government agencies may remove the debris.
B. Debris on private property should be removed by a private contractor paid by the property owner/property owner’s insurance company.
C. The government officials for the jurisdiction affected, in conjunction with Morrow County E.M.A., can authorize an appropriate location to receive debris. Historically, in Ohio debris has been handled a couple of different ways, because local landfills cannot handle such a Hugh quantity of debris.
They are:

* Burn at a public or authorized private property.
* Use as fill in a low lying piece of public or authorized private property.
2. All donated goods will be handled by the Red Cross (in cooperation with the Morrow County Emergency Management Agency).and will be received at a designated location for sorting and distribution.
3. Curfews may be necessary. The elected officials for the affected jurisdiction will be responsible for determining the need and imposing these curfews.

4. Price controls may need to be imposed to assure that price gouging does not occur on necessary items. For example: individuals selling bottled water to disaster victims at a cost higher than current market value. Elected officials for the affected jurisdiction will be responsible for setting price controls.
5. Contractors involved in rehabilitation of private structures should have proof of necessary licensure from the Morrow County Building Regulations Department. Contractors need to supply proof of these licenses to the local government. The Building Regulation Department will distribute a list of licensed contractors to affected homemakers.

6. Street signs and street addresses need to be erected/replaced as soon as possible. This is important so that new materials can be delivered to appropriate street addresses.

7. Damage Assessment - there are two main considerations when conducting the damage assessment:
a. Each damaged property needs to be assessed as to the specific severity of the damage.
b. Determination of weather the property is insured or uninsured.
The criteria needed to be considered for a disaster declaration is as follows:

A combination of at least 25 homes and/or businesses in any county or political subdivision having sustained uninsured losses. This does not necessarily mean that 25 separate homes and commercial buildings must have suffered structural damage. This means that 25 separate disaster victims (individuals or families) have suffered qualifying uninsured losses:

A. HOMES - If 25 tenants of one apartment building, which may be owned by one person, each suffers uninsured losses of their personal property (furniture, household appliances), the qualifying declaration loss criteria have been met.
B. BUSINESS: - If 25 separate businesses are tenants of one building, and each business suffers uninsured losses of personal property (furniture, fixtures, machinery, and equipment, inventory), the qualifying declaration loss criteria have been met.


For all structures you will need the following specific identification:

1. Address of the structure
2. Owner of the structure
3. Tenant(s) of the structure, if applicable
4. Determination of weather the property is insured or uninsured
5. Category of Damage - There are four categories to be used in making damage assessment.
A. Destroyed: Totally uninhabitable, beyond repair. If a local ordinance prohibits the issuance of a permit for repairs to a structure damaged beyond a certain degree, that structure should be included in this section.
B. Major Damage: Item/Building is damaged to the extent that it is no longer useable and may be returned to service only with extensive repairs. NOTE: Water above the floor of a mobile home for a significant length of time generally causes major damage, even though occupants may choose to move back in.
C. Minor Damage: Item/building is damaged and may be used under limited conditions, and may be restored to service with minor repairs.
D. Affected Habitable (residences only): Some damage to structure and suspected damage to contents. Structure is useable without repairs.
When assessing the damage to agriculture property, consider service buildings, machinery and equipment, crops and livestock which were destroyed, or received major or minor damage.

Preliminary Damage Assessment Form

Address of the structure damaged


Owner of structure


Alternate phone Contact:

Tenant of the damaged structure

if same as owner check here [ ]
Alternate phone contact:

Insurance Status

[ ] Insured

[ ] Uninsured

[ ] Insured

[ ] Uninsured

Category of Damage

[ ] Destroyed

[ ] Major Damage

[ ] Minor Damage

[ ] Affected Habitable




Morrow County Snow Emergency

The Morrow County Sheriff may declare a snow emergency and temporarily close county and township roads within Morrow County. OAGO #86-023


















of the





News Media


* These officials will consult to determine if a snow emergency is warranted.

** The Morrow County Sheriff will notify the News Media that a snow emergency has been declared.

*** The County E.M.A. Director will notify these officials that a Snow Emergency will be declared.
Snow Emergency Classification Levels

Level One

Roadways are hazardous with blowing, drifting snow. Roads are also icy. Drive very carefully. Snow plows are able to clear the roads and drifts do not fully recur for over an hour.

Level Two

Roadways are hazardous with blowing; drifting snow and white out conditions exist. Contact your employer to determine if your workplace will be open. Snow plows are not able to keep roads clear as drifts recur in less than an hour. Some rural roads are drifted totally shut.

Level Three

Many county and township roadways are impassable. Drivers should avoid using county and township roads, if possible. Contact your employer to determine if your workplace will be open. A large number of roadways are drifted shut and it may require the use of special equipment, such as front-end loaders, to remove and reopen roads.

County Declaration of Emergency

Once the situation goes beyond the local resource capabilities, the Morrow County Commissioners will make a County Declaration of Emergency. This will allow additional resources from the state to be obtained.

County Declaration Of

Emergency or Disaster

Who May Declare

At least two county commissioners must declare.

Within the physical limits (jurisdiction) of a city or village limits, the Mayor will make a city or village declaration.
Purpose of a County Declaration

A County Declaration must be made before a State Declaration can be requested, such a request to the State can only be made when all county resources and capabilities are fully committed and in the process of being exhausted, with little relief in sight.

County declaration of Emergency

Any incident, whether natural or man-made, of such magnitude that local responders and equipment are not sufficient to handle the incident.

Problems are usually response oriented

1. Personnel for Evacuations

2. Riot Control

3. Equipment

You could theoretically have an Emergency, yet not have a Disaster.
County declaration of Disaster

Any situation, whether natural or man-made, where widespread damage has occurred and health and safety exists which are beyond the capabilities of County Government to effect recovery without State Assistance.

Problems are not only response related. Damages to public and/or private structures and facilities are extensive.
The recovery phase appears to be long term.

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