Yvette Urrea Moe
County of San Diego
SAN DIEGO – The County Office of Emergency Services has earned national re-accreditation after a comprehensive and rigorous review of its emergency management program and capabilities.
San Diego is one of just 28 counties in the country, and the only local government in California, to achieve these standards of excellence.
In 2007, the Office of Emergency Services was one of the first county governments to achieve accreditation with the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, an independent nonprofit organization that fosters excellence and accountability in emergency management. The accreditation must be renewed every five years.
“The Emergency Management Accreditation Program sets a high bar. They devise the standards which define a high performing emergency management program and we are proud to be among those who’ve achieved it,” said Holly Crawford, Office of Emergency Services director. “This re-accreditation is a reflection of the years of public safety investments made by leaders in our region, the hard work of county and city emergency managers and first responders, and the culture of collaboration around disaster response and recovery that’s been maintained and nurtured for years in our region.”
The review demonstrated San Diego County meets all 64 standards in 16 categories of emergency management. They include hazard mitigation, mutual aid, resource management and logistics, prevention, communications and warning, training and crisis communications and public education for natural or man-made emergencies. This year, the review committee also included new areas in critical infrastructure and key resource restoration, debris management and private sector coordination.
County Emergency Services also highlighted some of their best practice programs such as Accessible AlertSanDiego, which delivers emergency alerts to people who are sight or hearing impaired, and First Responder Training Videos to help police and firefighters communicate with physically, cognitive or emotionally disabled people during an evacuation. They also demonstrated some of the technology advancements made since the last review, including public safety mapping on the SD Emergency website and the SD Emergency App, which allows people to use their mobile phone to create a disaster plan and receive emergency information.
“Through their commitment and leadership, they have proven to their communities and stakeholders that their programs are sustainable and that they continue to focus on their communities’ best interests,” wrote Robie Robinson, EMAP Commission Chair.
The EMAP review process is voluntary, which means that the initial evaluation and the documentation is done by the Office of Emergency Services and is then presented to emergency management peers who visit and evaluate the office. An EMAP committee then makes a final recommendation based on the materials provided by the County and the independent evaluators.
State, territorial and local government programs that coordinate preparedness and response for disasters can apply for the accreditation.
EMAP is the only accreditation process for state and local emergency management programs.