Level 5 - Normal Operation
The Governor may declare a state of emergency by proclamation or executive order, or as stated in TCA 58-2-107, by an alternate method of declaration allowed by law called activation of the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP). The TEMP is a detailed plan for emergency response and recovery that is required by law and signed by the Governor. The plan states that the Director of TEMA forms the SEOC at Activation Level 3 or higher. A state of emergency is retired at Activation Level 5 when normal operation is resumed. Activation levels are established to assist the emergency management leadership and the public to understand the initial and current size of the emergency and probable manpower levels.
Level 5 - Normal Operation
No state declaration of emergency exists at this level. TEMA Operations and Communications Branch is in a normal duty status.
Level 4 - Elevated Preparedness
When there is a potential or likelihood of an emergency developing or worsening, the Director may decide to elevate the number of operations officers monitoring the threat. This elevates the preparedness activities, allows regional coordination centers to be notified and updated, and prepares the organization for more responsive warning and response.
Level 3 - Declaration of State Emergency
This level describes an event or period when a serious emergency has occurred or the situation is deteriorating rapidly, and public warnings are being issued. The Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP) and the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) are activated at this level in accordance with TCA 58-2-107(b)(2), and this action by law declares a state of emergency. Only key or specifically needed emergency service coordinators are called to duty.
Level 2 - Major Disaster
A major disaster as defined by TCA 58-2-101 as an event that will likely exceed local capabilities and require a broad range of state and federal assistance. The TEMP and the SEOC are activated in accordance with TCA 58-2-107(b)(2), and a decision by the Governor or his representative (Director of TEMA) declares a state of emergency. The full staff or most of the staff of the SEOC is activated, typically in a 24-hour continuous operation. This disaster may meet eligibility requirements for a federal disaster declaration under the provisions of the Stafford Act.
Level 1 - Catastrophic Disaster
The Governor or his representative (Director of TEMA) may declare a state of emergency when a catastrophe occurs or may potentially occur. TCA 58-2-101 defines this level as including immediate military involvement in addition to the other requirements found in Level 2. The disaster would be one of great magnitude, and deaths will probably have occurred or the potential is very high. Under the TEMP the full staff of the SEOC would be activated.