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What is Emergency Management?

KCDEM works with local government, cities, state and federal agencies and volunteer organizations to provide resources and expertise in four major areas; preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. The activities involved in addressing these four areas include:

As we learn from recent disasters, planning, training and being prepared are key to effectively dealing with different types of disasters. KCDEM develops and maintains the Kitsap County Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan as a blueprint for responding to a variety of scenarios and assists cities located within Kitsap County in the development and maintenance of their Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans.

We offer or coordinate training courses in emergency management, hazardous materials, and search and rescue responses to prepare local emergency responders to effectively deal with disasters and their aftermath. Exercises and drills conducted across the County offer opportunities to put these skills into practice in a controlled setting.

Through our K-PREP (Kitsap Practices Responsible Emergency Preparedness) program, we offer preparedness information and training to our schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and government agencies. We teach individuals how to be prepared for all hazards and then how to respond when disasters do occur.

When citizens face an emergency situation, they call 911. When local police, emergency medical services, and other local governments need assistance in responding to a crisis, they call KCDEM. The County expands staffing at the Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the response efforts and provides status reports to elected officials and the public on existing conditions. If warranted, the KCDEM Director, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners, the Mayors, or other elected officials for local governments may proclaim a "State of a Emergency." In a major disaster, the County may request assistance from the State. Additionally, the State may request assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The President may issue a disaster declaration that clears the way for federal  assistance.

After disaster strikes, citizens are anxious to return to their normal lives as quickly as possible. Under a federal declaration, victims should call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 toll-free to register for disaster assistance. The TTY number for the speech or hearing impaired is 1-800-462-7585. A number of basic State and Federal financial aid programs may be available to displaced residents in these areas. KCDEM staff works with the State Emergency Management Division to coordinate and administer these programs. The State, in turn, coordinates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for any Federal assistance that may be available. In most instances, the Federal government pays 75 percent of the cost, and the State and local governments cover the remaining 25 percent.

Emergency management goes beyond helping communities recover from a disaster. Preventive measures implemented now can help mitigate or lessen future losses. Many repairs can incorporate steps that will reduce or eliminate potential damage. Elevation of structures in flood-prone areas and restricting beachfront development are just a few examples of loss prevention. For homeowners and businesses, flood insurance is an important protection against financial loss. KCDEM works with local jurisdictions to assist them in designing effective, long-range mitigation plans to address hazards specific to Kitsap County.