Monee EMA – On The Move

Predicatively serving the people can be an ever-morphing endeavor that must take on variations as circumstances change.  Emergency management on the federal and local level is no different.

In the United States, the Office of Civil Defense was established in May 1941 to coordinate civilian defense efforts. It coordinated with the Department of the Army and established similar groups to the British ARP. One of these groups that still exists today is the Civil Air Patrol, which was originally created as a civilian auxiliary to the Army. The CAP was created on December 1, 1941, with the main civil defense mission of search and rescue.  In 1946, the Civil Air Patrol was barred from combat by Public Law 79-476. The CAP then received its current mission: search and rescue for downed aircraft. When the Air Force was created, in 1947, the Civil Air Patrol became the auxiliary of the Air Force. [3]

The various civil defense agencies were replaced with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1979.  Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to better coordinate among the different federal agencies that deal with law enforcement, disaster preparedness and recovery, border protection and civil defense.  The focus was shifted from nuclear war to an “all-hazards” approach of Comprehensive Emergency Management. Natural disasters and the emergence of new threats such as terrorism have caused attention to be focused away from traditional civil defense and into new forms of civil protection such as emergency management and homeland security.

The new FEMA brings a coordinated approach to national security from emergencies and disasters – both natural and man-made.  Divisions of administration include: Protection & Preparedness, Fire, Insurance & Mitigation, Response & Recovery, Regional Operations. *
In accordance with the Illinois Emergency Management Act of January, 1992 some municipalities implemented Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA) programs to prevent, minimize, repair, and alleviate injury or damage resulting from disaster caused by enemy attack, sabotage, or other hostile action, or from natural or man-made disasters.

Locally, Monee had somewhat of a “plan” on paper only but Mayor Farquhar and the Village Board saw the relevance of implementing a functioning EMA program.  Under the leadership of Ruben Bautista (previously a Lieutenant with State Police) it was officially activated on Sept 11, 2015.  This required extensive preparation but we now participate in a mutual aid relationship with Will County EMA as well as partnering  with various neighboring communities.

EMA has various local points of integration as defined at the federal, state and regional level.  EMA personnel are trained in a variety of support services (assistance at major traffic accidents, protect evidence at crime scenes, and protect the public and property in the event of weather-related damage, search and rescue, weather-spotting, etc).  Additionally, in the event of a significant situation EMA is responsible for command management oversight of police, fire, public works and other personnel.  Our commitment and efficiency at building a program from scratch has been superior but we have also set goals for our leadership incorporating specialized skills, tools and teams that would be invaluable both locally and throughout our region.

One of the programs that enlists the greatest number of support volunteers is CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).  CERT members are volunteer emergency workers who have received specific standardized training in basic disaster response skills, and who agree to supplement existing emergency responders in the event of a major disaster.   The concept of civilian auxiliaries is similar to civil defense, which has a longer history. The CERT concept differs because it includes nonmilitary emergencies, and is coordinated with all levels of emergency authorities, local to national, via an overarching incident command system (ICS).

ICS was initially developed to address problems of inter-agency responses to wildfires in California and Arizona but is now a component of the National Incident Management System (NIMS)[2] in the US, where it has evolved into use in All-Hazards situations, ranging from active shootings to HazMat scenes.[3] In addition, ICS has acted as a pattern for similar approaches internationally.[4]

FEMA has made provisions to help fund state and local governments before, during, and after natural or man made disasters.  One of the requirements for funding eligibility is to ensure all Village Elected Officials, Employees, and Administrative Staff complete the National Incident Management System (NIMS) on-line training course.  The required block of training is ICS-100b: Introduction to the Incident Command System.  This course summarizes the emergency response in a uniformed structure by all participating emergency first responders and support entities.  It will orientate the student to proper procedures and protocol necessary to effectively manage an emergency.

* Civil_Defense   wiki: Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Village has been instructed by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to complete the course with certificate by December 18, 2015.  ICS-100 Printable Summary  ICS-100 All Materials and  ICS-100 Online Course

Currently, the minimum required training has also been completed by a majority of our elected officials and senior management and significant staff.

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