Ensuring the quality of life for the community is an important responsibility of City government and emergency management is part of that responsibility. The City of University Place currently has an Emergency Management Plan outlining procedures to be followed in the event of a disaster. Inter-local agreements have been established with, for example, Pierce County Department of Emergency Management and regularly scheduled exercises are held for staff to practice responding in an emergency situation.
The City’s Emergency Operations Center is located in the Public Safety Building where conference rooms are converted to a command center in the event of an emergency. The current organizational structure of the City of University Place Emergency Operations Center consists of the Disaster Council, City Manager/Director of Emergency Management, the Emergency Management Coordinator and PIO and the Disaster Management Team. The Disaster Management Team consists of three sections: Operations, Plans and Support.
Currently, technology at the EOC consists of City phone lines, Pierce County phone lines (for internal communications and communications with the Pierce County EOC), fax capability, a laptop for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and a recovery server. The City’s financial system is backed up to the recovery server nightly. Additionally, hand held radios have been assigned to key EOC staff.
The City plans and holds tabletop exercises; these exercises are an ideal environment within which to disseminate information. This environment, however, limits the experience and does not provide a full picture of issues to be addressed in an emergency, therefore, the City also facilitates occasional field exercises.