How the City Prepares for an Emergency Situation
The City of Stillwater is always preparing to respond to and recover from all hazards:
- Emergency Management coordinates planning with Police, Fire, Environmental Programs, Operations and other city agencies.
- The City integrates its planning with local businesses, the federal government, state government, the Oklahoma National Guard, the American Red Cross, Oklahoma State University and Stillwater Public Schools, just to name just a few.
- The City conducts mock-disaster exercises to test the City's integrated response to an emergency.
- The City plans for continuity of government.
What the City Will Do in an Emergency
In short, Emergency Management (including those called for the Emergency Operations Center) and the incident commander will lead and manage the crisis. As needed, the bomb squad, special weapons and tactics team (SWAT), and other police teams will respond to the crisis, direct traffic, block streets, and go door-to-door. As needed, emergency management technician (EMT) and rescue officers will combat fire, rescue people and control hazardous materials. Shelters will be established and evacuation routes announced.
Specifically, the following steps will be taken, as needed, under city leadership:
- Activate the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
- Assess the situation and involve all appropriate agencies: law enforcement, fire, rescue, hazardous materials, public health, communications, energy, etc.
- Support the incident commander.
- Provide information via the City's website, social media platforms and mass media (newspaper, radio, TV).
- If needed, establish shelters and evacuation routes (and what routes not to use) and transportation for every citizen possible.
- If needed, inform public school officials and provide specific instructions regarding Oklahoma State University (OSU)/Northern Oklahoma College (NOC) students and Stillwater Public School children.
- Ensure continuity of government.
- Ensure that all levels of government (federal, state, county and municipal) work together in a coordinated manner on operations, logistics, planning and finance.
- Launch strategic disaster recovery efforts.
Emergency Operations Center
In the event of an emergency or disaster, the EOC's primary purpose is to support the incident commander at the incident location.
At the EOC, various divisions plan for future activities related to the emergency and develop strategies to recover from the incident.
Stillwater's EOC is organized on the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as outlined in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). This ensures maximum operational effectiveness between all levels of government.
Under the Homeland Security guidelines, four sections (Operations, Logistics, Planning and Finance) have a chief and several divisions.
So, if the type and severity of the incident calls for it, operations will include police and other law enforcement, fire, rescue, hazardous materials, public health, energy and communications. Other divisions may be involved as well.
If a disaster occurs, the EOC Situation Analysis Team (SAT) will evaluate and decide which divisions need to be activated to best support the incident
Emergency Training Exercises
City staff continuously prepares for a disaster in Stillwater by conducting a range of training sessions and exercises. Training sessions may be sponsored by local, state and federal agencies.