Resort’s New Emergency Management Plan OK’d

OCEAN CITY – Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald presented and received approval this week from the Mayor and City Council for the new Town of Ocean City Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEOP).
“It has been a long road to get here,” Theobald said.
Theobald submitted the Town of Ocean City (TOC) is subject to a wide range of natural and manmade hazards that have the ability to injure citizens, damage businesses, destroy infrastructure and disrupt government operations. Ocean City’s vulnerability warrants an all-hazards approach in developing plans, training personnel, and utilizing resources to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a major emergency, according to Theobald.
The original Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) for Ocean City was adopted in 1994 with revisions completed in April 2009. The new CEOP follows the phases of emergency management in accordance with state and federal mandates and acknowledges that most responsibilities and functions performed during an emergency are not hazard specific and are designed to follow an all-hazard approach during this process. Thus, actions performed are to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from all emergencies.
Many of the roles and responsibilities of the document are facilitated through the day-to-day operations of involved entities. The plan addresses major hazards utilizing an Emergency Support Function (ESF) structure. ESFs are mechanisms that represent a specific field of emergency operations and are collectively used to execute an all-inclusive response and recovery effort.
Through the Incident Command System (ICS), the ESFs can be utilized according to their capabilities and requirements to establish a unified and interoperable response to ensure the TOC workforce and its allied agencies are prepared and ready to respond and lead this community to recovery from disaster.
“Successful community recovery will only occur if everyone understands the process, their responsibilities and how they fit in to coordinate their work efforts with the TOC leadership,” Theobald stated.
The CEOP’s Recovery Section and its associated “Recovery Support Functions (RSFs)” are intended to guide the TOC through post disaster operations both in short and long term recovery efforts.
The TOC adopted the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as the basis for all Incident Management in the Town with Resolution 2005-8 on June 6, 2005.
The CEOP’s guidelines are consistent with the standards and principles of NIMS and the National Response Framework (NRF), both endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security. This system is the nationally mandated emergency management system for addressing all hazards for incidents and for integrating multiple organizations/agencies, jurisdictions and disciplines into a coordinated operational plan.
NIMS was developed and is mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directives (HSPD-5 and HSPD-8). This plan has been reviewed by all town departments, Worcester County, State of Maryland, State of Delaware, federal government and a number of allied agencies.
The new CEOP plan has been tested in several exercises as well as at the town’s Integrated Emergency Management Course held at the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Md. during February 2013, with all suggested changes and corrections incorporated into this final plan.
The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to approve the new CEOP. The completed sections of the new CEOP document will be provided on the town’s government website, With the council’s approval, the next step is to complete Section 4 of the plan, which addresses recovery.
“All of the department heads have played a very important roles in this … and I wanted to thank them in their commitment because we need to have confidence in our plan because we want our residents and our visitors to have confidence in us and the roles we play in handling emergency situations. This plan outlines that very specifically … and puts in place the team work necessary to carry out this plan when necessary,” Mayor Rick Meehan said.