Skip to the Content

State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) Activation Level

Level 4 - Elevated

Declaration of State Emergency Activation Levels

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. The State Emergency Operations Center is activated in the minimum size required to provide adequate support of the emergency. This serves to meet economy of force and minimizes unnecessary costs. As the emergency grows or diminishes, the size of the SEOC will be adjusted to meet changing conditions. The Governor under TCA 58-2-107 may declare a state of emergency by proclamation or executive order. An alternate method of declaration allowed by law is established through the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP), signed by the Governor, that authorizes a state of emergency to be declared automatically when the Director of TEMA directs the SEOC to be formed at Activation Level 3 or higher. A state of emergency is retired at Activation Level 5 when normal operation is resumed.

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 (or State of Emergency Continues)
This level may be declared when there is a potential or likelihood of an emergency developing or worsening. The decision to augment the Operations watch-point staff establishes this level of activation. TEMA Operations and Communications Branch performs more frequent monitoring. This level also may represent a period of decreased staffing at the end of an emergency. This status also describes an administratively-continued emergency period remaining from the Governor's declaration of emergency or proclamation (no longer than 60 days without extension) when waivers of law are still required for response or recovery.

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.