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The mission of the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is dealing with the strategic organizational management processes used to protect critical assets of an organization from hazard risks that can cause disasters or catastrophes, and to ensure their continuance within their planned lifetime. Assets are categorized as either living things, non-living things, cultural or economic. Hazards are categorized by their cause, either natural or human-made. The entire strategic management process is divided into four fields to aid in identification of the processes. The four fields normally deal with risk reduction, preparing resources to respond to the hazard, responding to the actual damage caused by the hazard and limiting further damage (e.g., emergency evacuation, quarantine, mass decontamination, etc.), and returning as close as possible to the county before the hazard incident. The field occurs in both the public and private sector, sharing the same processes, but with different focuses. Emergency Management is a strategic process, and not a tactical process, thus it usually resides at the Executive level in an organization. The office serves as an advisory or coordinating function to ensure that all parts of an organization are focused on the common goal. Effective Emergency Management relies on a thorough integration of emergency plans at all levels of the organization, and an understanding that the lowest levels of the organization are responsible for managing the emergency and getting additional resources and assistance from the upper levels.
The four phases of Emergency Management are:
Mitigation efforts are attempts to prevent hazards from developing into disasters altogether or to reduce the effects of disasters. The mitigation phase differs from the other phases in that it focuses on long-term measures for reducing or eliminating risk. Futher information about Mitigation can be found on the OEM Hazard Mitigation Planning page by clicking here.
Preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluation and improvement activities to ensure effective coordination and the enhancement of capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.
The response phase includes the mobilization of the necessary emergency services and first responders in the disaster area. This is likely to include a first wave of core emergency services, such as firefighters, police and ambulance crews.
The aim of the recovery phase is to restore the affected area to its previous state. It differs from the response phase in its focus; recovery efforts are concerned with issues and decisions that must be made after immediate needs are addressed. Recovery efforts are primarily concerned with actions that involve rebuilding destroyed property, re-employment, and the repair of other essential infrastructure. Efforts should be made to "build back better", aiming to reduce the pre-disaster risks inherent in the community and infrastructure.
One of the basic functions of government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens. Normally, this function is performed in an efficient and effective manner by many different agencies on a daily basis. In most communities police, fire, emergency medical, health, welfare, public works and other governmental and volunteer organizations have specific duties and responsibilities.
In an emergency or catastrophic event, these organizations must pool their resources and work together as a team to mitigate the effects on a community. A coordinated, cooperative response to an emergency does not just happen, it requires planning, mitigation, response and recovery. This is what emergency management is all about.
The roles and responsibilities of the State Office of Emergency Management have changed over the years since the passage of the Civil Defense and Disaster Control Act of 1950. During the 1950's and 1960's, the state “Civil Defense” office was primarily responsible for coordination with its designated federal counterpart to disseminate information on civil defense, to maintain civil defense communications, and to provide for civil defense training programs.
The increase of technological disasters in the 1970's and 1980's precipitated the transition to an all-hazard approach to emergency management and the emergence of state offices with a much broader scope of responsibility. The State Office of Emergency Management office has evolved as being a small agency with limited planning, training, and response capabilities to its present status as an integral part of state government.
Similarly, emergency management is not just concerned with natural and technological hazards, but with national security hazards as well. Legitimate civil defense and legitimate emergency management should both be all-hazards. The primary difference is the priority civil defense gives to national security emergency preparedness. For all intents and purposes, good civil defense and good emergency management should be indistinguishable at the local level. Thus, from a good program designed exclusively to help State and local governments protect the population from nuclear attack, the civil defense program now provides the fundamental framework for an all-hazard “dual use” program of integrated emergency management at the Federal, State, and local levels.