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Operations Information - Back

The Operations and Communications Branch includes the major functions that serve as the heartbeat of the agency, i.e., those functions that actually provide the underlying support that allows the remainder of the agency to work. The Operations Watchpoint Section receives the notice of emergencies and takes the responsibility to notify the appropriate response elements.

Operations Watchpoint Section - The Operations Center is the central point to receive all emergency warning, communications and response requests in Tennessee 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is normally staffed with at least 2 operations officers who coordinate support of missions reported by county agencies or other sources. Tornadoes, severe weather, flash floods, earthquakes, hazardous materials accidents and civil emergencies are just a few of the natural and technological hazards coordinated as incidents and missions through the Operations office. TEMA responds to local emergencies when the crisis requires assistance that is not available to the county or municipality. Operations officers coordinate incidents and missions with numerous state, local, private sector and research organizations to obtain requested help. The Operations Center utilizes a redundant statewide communications system which includes high band and 800 MHz repeater systems to supplement telephone lines. State and federal NAWAS or National Warning System communications, direct line or ring-down phones, satellite phones and an amateur radio station are all used to ensure TEMA can communicate with 24 hour warning points in the counties under almost any circumstances. "Operations" is commonly known throughout Tennessee, from state and local government agencies to private sector industry, as the 9-1-1 of state government.

Communications Section - This section is responsible for installing and maintaining a statewide wireless radio system that provides direct, instant communications from the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to response personnel in the field. The Communications Section also supports agency telephone lines (hardwire) to support one of the principle means of communication. The communications systems ensure communications to local government emergency operations centers (EOC) for warning and command and control during emergency situations. Additionally, the radio systems provide for mobile and portable communications for various state agencies Emergency Services Coordinators (ESC) who do not have their own inherent agency communications capabilities. The telecommunications element is responsible for overseeing the billing of telephone services to the agency by BellSouth, Qwest, Verizon, and others. TEMA operates some 800+ telephone lines and high-speed data circuits, including many dedicated circuits to TVA and DOE risk counties. Additionally, this office coordinates activities related to the cellular phones and pagers used by agency staff.


 Preparing for an Emergency Mission

When the Operations Watchpoint receives a request for assistance from a county or municipality, the operations officers will refer the incident to the state on call officer. An on call officer is a senior emergency manager in TEMA who is on a duty roster to quickly make decisions regarding how to direct the request. The agency director appoints a select group of highly qualified senior emergency managers in the agency to fill this duty. The duty on call officer must be available 24 hours a day to take charge of coordinating the state's response to the emergency. The SEOC becomes the staff of a direction and control officer (who usually transitions from duty on call officer) coordinating the assets of the state to save lives, property and the environment. The DACO is appointed by the TEMA Director.


State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC

          The SEOC in Tennessee was built with state and federal funds as a state of the art communications and information technology coordination center. The facility establishes a central focus for the state’s efforts in supporting the response and recovery effort to major emergencies and catastrophic disaster. The SEOC effectively collects and disseminates disaster information and guides the most efficient response or recovery effort in support of the local emergency management agency. The SEOC is a technically a geographic location in Nashville, but the term also describes the team activated for crises.

          The SEOC serves as the emergency staff to the Governor to control the state’s response and recovery and to ensure implementation of the Governor’s orders in protecting lives and property. Often, the Governor will move to the SEOC to obtain instantaneous information and communication.  Press releases and guidance to the public will originate from the SEOC, usually with representatives from the Governor’s staff operating as an integral part of the SEOC team.The SEOC may be activated at any level from Level 3 to Level 1, the highest activation level. Although not an initial activation level, Level 4 describes enhanced monitoring with added staff in anticipation of a growing emergency, but it may also be used for the latter activities of the recovery phase or diminishing staff period of an emergency. The SEOC is alerted with the activation of the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan, a pre-approved executive order, which automatically declares a state of emergency. The TEMA director activates the SEOC at Level 3, calling in those key persons needed to manage the crisis. Higher levels are alerted the same way: Level 2 is a full activation of all pre-designated members of the SEOC for a major emergency; and Level 1 is a full activation for a catastrophic disaster having immediate military presence (TCA 58-2-101). Level 5 returns the SEOC to non-emergency status or normal conditions.             

          When notified of an incident or notified of the request of a mayor, the State On-Call Officer, an experienced emergency manager on duty at TEMA, performs a rapid review of available information and seeks to find resources to aid the county. When the situation is determined to be a major emergency or likely to become one, the On-Call recommends activation of the SEOC. The TEMA director after conferring with the Governor may activate the SEOC. A state emergency is automatically declared when the SEOC is activated. Alternatively, the Governor may declare an emergency by proclamation or alter or extend it through proclamation or executive order. A declaration of emergency remains in effect for 60 days unless terminated earlier or extended by the Governor. When the SEOC activates at Level 3 or higher, the On-Call Officer may be appointed as the Direction and Control Officer (DACO) and placed in charge of the SEOC.

          Led by the DACO, the SEOC staff is tailored for the unique requirements of each emergency. Each activation results in a “battle-staff assigned” cadre of TEMA specialists and key representatives from the state’s executive departments, state agencies and liaisons from federal or private agencies or organizations with a role in the emergency. A typical SEOC will start with 15-30 persons, but may increase to over 80 based upon size of the emergency and the need for expertise or resource coordination. Members of the SEOC who are emergency service coordinators have legal authority to act on behalf of their commissioner or director to assign personnel and resources.

             Cross-coordination is essential so that all positions are equally informed on decisions and plan       intentions. Not only at state level, but at local level the EOC serves as the best location to effectively collect and disseminate disaster information. Local EOCs report essential information to and exchange data with the SEOC to achieve the most efficient response and recovery.

National Incident Management System (NIMS) / Tennessee Incident Management System (TIMS)


Response is the process of providing emergency services during a disaster. These activities help reduce casualties and damage and speed recovery. Response activities include the activation of warning systems, implementing plans, firefighting activities, rescue operations, etc. An incident commander will be assigned formally or informally for every incident in accordance with NIMS standards. NIMS requires that the most "senior" or knowledgeable person on the scene will be the incident commander.  In Tennessee, when a fire chief arrives on most incident scenes, state law dictates that this official is in charge of the scene. This usually tracks well with NIMS since the fire chief is often the most trained person on the scene.  NIMS has been adopted into the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP) as the Tennessee Incident Management System. Local agencies, departments, or other organizations who respond to an emergency should follow the strategy and philosophy of TIMS which explains how local and regional levels are integrated into NIMS. 

Strategy and Philosophy

When a county, municipality or other organization accepts federal preparedness funds (typically through a grant), a presidential order (HSPD-5) establishes a contractual requirement for that organization to meet all requirements of NIMS.

The Governor of Tennessee has adopted the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as the emergency management standard for the State of Tennessee and has encouraged every county and other political sub-entities to adopt the NIMS standard as their own.  NIMS was adopted on June 28, 2005 in Executive Order 23.  This operations guide will define the philosophy established by the Governor and the Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) in effecting the response to each emergency.  The Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP), required by law and signed by the Governor, directs how this philosophy will be implemented in the State of Tennessee.

TEMA serves as the lead agency in implementing the Incident Command System (ICS) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  Tennessee also uses the standards of the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) and includes much of that language appears in the TEMP.

Command and Management

The Incident Command System (ICS) establishes a hierarchy for taking charge of an incident.  Most incidents are minor and after notification by an official or by the public, they can be handled by emergency responders.  For example, a traffic accident may require a police officer and an ambulance and no other assets. Other incidents may prove more complicated.  Significant preparation is required for those emergencies that are more complex. When a local jurisdiction requires more assets than those available at the local jurisdiction, they may request mutual aid or assistance from adjacent jurisdictions. To implement the provisions of the mutual aid law the county mayor must declare a local emergency. Every local emergency management agency and department must be prepared to quickly and effectively expand response activities to incorporate the reception of assistance and assets from mutual aid or higher level state or federal agencies.

Incidents are managed by the local incident commander and support activities will be directed to assist or assigned to the incident commander at the site of the emergency.  When the emergency is broader than one incident, the lowest local level covering the geographical area of the disaster will still be in charge of the scene. Tactical interoperable communications must be set up between responders, other responders and their local headquarters.

When an emergency involves more than one incident commander or covers more area than one jurisdiction, a local unified command may be formed to ensure efficient response to that emergency. Command interoperable communications must be set up between local emergency operations centers and higher level emergency operations centers.

Each incident will be managed locally by an incident commander who shall have the authority and flexibility to modify local procedures and structure to align with the operating characteristics of the jurisdiction. The ICS organization must be built to accomplish the mission to respond to the scenario of the hazard. The incident commander will ensure that ICS processes are modular and scalable from the top down, that the organization is organized within one jurisdiction or agency, that operations are adaptable to include multiple jurisdictions with multi-agency involvement, and that the organization can flex to continue response operations in larger scale emergencies while it adapts to interface with assisting agencies.  Expansion must include plans to add management positions which ensure the span of control standard is not exceeded.

Limiting the span of control ensures effective and efficient management.  The span of control of any individual with supervisory responsibility should not exceed seven subordinates.  Exceeding this number reduces management effectiveness, reduces production efficiency, and increases safety concerns by orders of magnitude.  In rare exceptions, a ratio of 1:8 or 1:10 may be used for law enforcement operations or other special cases, but these shall be adjusted to 1:7 or less when time allows.

Each local jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes, procedures and plans to ensure its elements are interactive, that it establishes measurable objectives to fulfill larger goals, that the objective-setting process starts at the top and is communicated throughout the entire organization, and that any conversion process to implement NIMS is implemented in a stately manner that does not disrupt existing systems or processes.  Management by objective should be utilized to ensure that over-arching measurable objectives are supported by time-lines, assignments by name or position, and other directive plans, procedures or protocols.  Processes will be institutionalized that ensure the command, command staff and general staff interact and share vital information and that estimates of the situation and future situation are developed with recommended courses of action.

Emergency management processes must be institutionalized or placed in Standing Operations orders or procedures. They should be user-friendly and written to meet the principles and disciplines reflected in ICS, NIMS and the TEMP. Terminology utilized should be common to all agencies in regard to organizational functions, resource descriptions, incident facilities, and communications nets. 

Each jurisdiction should pre-identify actual or potential incident command posts, bases, camps, staging areas, mass casualty triage areas, and other facilities as necessary.  The early identification of repeater sites, intermediate re-broadcast points or redundant communications facilities is also essential.  Alternate emergency operations centers or mobile communications capabilities should be acquired and identified prior to events.

Teams, personnel or equipment resources will deploy or respond to an emergency only when specifically requested or dispatched by an appropriate authority.  This does not prevent the offer of such services, only the deployment without authority.  If an accreditation process is announced for the emergency, teams, personnel or equipment resources will not be deployed without the appropriate accreditation. Persons or teams that deploy without authority cannot be reimbursed using federal funding.

Each jurisdiction should ensure that institutionalized processes are in place to ensure accountability. All responders, including those from assisting external sources, will report in to the incident commander to receive an assignment. Response operations will be directed and coordinated as outlined in the incident action plan (IAP). Each individual will report to only one supervisor.  Supervisors must adequately supervise and control their subordinates, including maintaining awareness of where they are at all times, specifically during duty hours and generally during non-duty hours of the emergency. Supervisors will communicate and manage all resources under their supervision, including care and feeding of all personnel and maintenance and security of assigned equipment and supplies. Supervisors will record and report resource status changes on a regular basis as they occur or as scheduled, whichever is first.

Procedures will be established to ensure that the incident commander is always present and available for decisions in an emergency.  The agency with primary jurisdictional authority over the incident will designate that individual at the scene responsible for the command.  If the incident commander must leave the scene for any reason, a new incident commander will be named and the point of command transfer will be announced clearly to all elements involved in the response.  Transferring command will include a briefing to ensure that all essential information has been passed to the new incident commander for safe and effective operations.  At the state level, this is the Direction and Control Officer (DACO) in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).

The same principles of the command function will apply to unified command structures. When there is a requirement for a local level unified command due to geography or responsibility, the structure will be developed to ensure there is no interference with individual agency authority, responsibility or accountability. When TEMA is a member of the unified command over state political entities, TEMA will be the lead agency.  TCA 58-2-104 states that  the Director of TEMA "... shall coordinate the activities of all emergency management agencies and organizations of other states and of the federal government."   When federal agencies are involved, TEMA will be the lead agency unless another agreement has been made through memorandum of understanding, contract or adopted plan. TCA 58-2-104 further states that TEMA’s responsibilities and powers include "... maintaining a comprehensive statewide program of emergency management.  The agency is responsible for coordination with efforts of the federal government with other departments and agencies of state government, county governments, municipal governments and school boards, and private agencies that have a role in emergency management.  The director of the agency shall be the state coordinating officer (SCO) and the governor’s authorized representative (GAR)."  The jurisdiction will ensure that all agencies with authority or functional responsibility for any aspect of the incident are included and participate in the incident command structure.  The jurisdiction and incident commander will ensure that all agency participants contribute to the process of determining overall strategies, selecting objectives, jointly planning tactical activities in support of the incident objectives, integrate into tactical operations, and approve, commit or make optimum use of resources.  When a cross-jurisdiction unified command is required, the State Coordinating Officer (SCO) appointed by the Governor shall assume charge of the state-level support effort and will coordinate the federal support arriving in the state as required by TCA 58-2-106. The DACO will direct SEOC operations at state level and supporting agencies will coordinate with this official. For incidents that require a declaration, the state and local jurisdiction will develop an IAP (produced by the Planning Chief).  The local jurisdiction must ensure that the Incident Commander or his designee directs tactical operations.  When they are approved, representatives from external support agencies should collocate at the SEOC and may also send liaison representatives, if required and approved, to the incident command post. The state will rotate the DACO for each operational period, and local jurisdictions will rotate the incident commander for each operational period. All jurisdictions will keep each other informed of requirements, will develop an IAP that is evaluated and updated periodically and will establish procedures for decision-making and documentation of decisions.

Each jurisdiction should develop its own procedures to handle multiple incidents concurrently, each of which should be organized under a separate ICS organization.  Normally, area commands are unified commands and should be handled as such when they extend over multiple jurisdictions.  These unified area commands should answer to the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) as required by law.  The local jurisdiction still sets incident related priorities, allocates critical resources to the responders, and manages the response to the emergency.  The incident commander will ensure that incident management objectives are met and do not conflict with each other or other agency policy.  Critical resource needs must be identified by the local jurisdiction and requests must be made for needs not immediately available.  The short-term emergency will be transitioned into full recovery operations with an appropriate transition of command. 

An ICS organization should have five major sections or functional compartments:

  • Command.
  • Operations.
  • Planning and Information.
  • Logistics.
  • Finance and Administration.

The incident commander and command staff have the job of managing the incident.  NIMS requires that each emergency will have only one incident commander in the jurisdiction who answers to only one agency.  Only one incident commander is placed in charge of each incident. The incident commander may be pre-designated in preparedness plans to ensure appropriate training and exercises are accomplished for qualification.  The incident commander will develop incident objectives, will approve the IAP, and will make decisions regard the ordering and dispatch or release of resources.

The jurisdiction will create and appoint persons to positions responsible for key activities who will report directly to the incident commander. Special staff includes the following—

The Public Information Officer should be a separate person from the incident commander who has the responsibility to develop accurate and complete information on the incident for internal and external consumption.  Only one PIO will be designated as the lead and will submit releases to the incident commander for approval prior to issue.

The Safety Officer will monitor incident operations and advise the incident commander regarding safety of the responders and the public.  The SO will establish necessary systems and procedures to assess hazardous environments, multi-agency safety efforts, and measures to promote safe operations and procedures.  The SO will have the authority to stop or prevent unsafe acts during operations and will immediately report this action to the incident commander.  Only one SO will be designated as the lead and will coordinate across jurisdictions, agencies and organizations to ensure operational safety and documentation required by law is maintained.

A liaison officer should be named for each key government agency, key non-governmental organization or principal private entity with a significant role in the response and whose agency is not collocated within the emergency operations center.  The liaison officer must have the authority to speak for their parent agency on all matters after consultation with their agency leadership.

The General Staff includes the following—

The Operations Chief will directly manage all incident-related operational activities, will establish tactical objectives to support goals established by the incident commander and will be directly involved in preparing the IAP. A different Operations Chief will be appointed for each operational period. The Operations Chief may establish branches, divisions or groups as needed to adjust the span of control. Divisions will be identified as needed to control geographical areas while groups will be formed to handle functional areas.  Resource teams may be organized into single resources, task forces (combined elements) or strike teams (pure functions).

The Planning and Information Chief will collect evaluate and disseminate incident or disaster intelligence, prepare status reports, situation information, and maintain a status of resources.  This officer will develop and document the IAP based on guidance from the incident commander, the unified commander and the operations chief.  The Planning and Information Chief will gather and disseminate information and intelligence unless a separate section is created to handle this function.

The Logistics Chief is responsible for all support requirements needed to facilitate effective and efficient incident management, including ordering resources from off-incident locations.  The Logistics Chief will provide facilities, transportation, supplies, equipment maintenance and fuel, food services, communications and information technology support, and medical services, including inoculations, as required.  The Logistics Chief will coordinate with the ESF-7 Emergency Services Coordinator, the Logistics Coordination Officer (military), the Reception Area commander, and base or staging area commanders, as needed.

The Finance and Administration Chief will ensure that funding, budgeting and grants issues are addressed and that financial management of the emergency is handled efficiently.  The Finance and Administration Chief will view purchases, acquisitions, and agreements to ensure that transactions are managed in a legal manner and that appropriate steps are taken to obtain grants and other available funds to support the emergency and recovery.

Each jurisdiction will establish a geographical location or emergency operations center with institutionalized procedures to ensure coordination, communications, resource dispatching and tracking, and information collection, analysis and dissemination.  At the state level, this is the SEOC.

The local jurisdiction must ensure each agency involved in the incident provides appropriate situational awareness and resource status information, that priorities are established between incidents or geographical areas, that priorities are established for acquiring and allocating resources, that future resource requirements are anticipated and identified, that policy issues arising from the emergency are coordinated and resolved, that strategic coordination is provided as needed, and that improvements in plans, procedures, communications, staffing, or shortfalls in response organization, equipment, or other elements are identified for action after the incident.

Should a catastrophe require evacuation of a geographical area, the Governor has the power to order the populace to displace to ensure their safety.  The Governor, the chief local elected official or other official may recommend evacuation of their jurisdiction, but only the Governor may order a mandatory evacuation. The effect of a mandatory evacuation is that each citizen is placed on legal notice that remaining against such an order may harm or kill those who do not evacuate, that government services may not be provided in such a geographical area, and that anyone left in the defined area must provide their own protection and provision until a re-entry plan can be formulated and executed. Citizens who are responsible for themselves may elect to disregard a mandatory evacuation order, but in doing so they abrogate any protections the presence of government may have provided. Law enforcement officers may forcibly remove children, persons not capable of making independent decisions for themselves, those incapable of taking independent action for their personal safety and persons placed in protective custody or incarceration. When citizens are evacuated from an area due to an emergency, shelters will be identified to provide a location of safety and other basic needs such as food and water where possible. 


Preparedness organizations in the local jurisdiction must validate, integrate and prioritize the operational needs of the NIMS users within their purview. New technologies will be tested and fielded systemically to ensure that as many users as possible receive the improvement, concurrent with training and drills.

  The local jurisdiction should implement a unified approach to preparedness, ensuring mission integration and interoperability across jurisdictional, functional, public and private lines. The jurisdiction should implement the preparedness cycle in advance of the incident and include jurisdictional, functional, public and private organizations that are likely to be involved in response or recovery. 

  The local jurisdiction should define and institutionalize a preparedness organization responsible for implementation and coordination of NIMS standards. This organization should check to ensure that sub-entities have implemented and institutionalized processes, systems, procedures, plans and exercises within a jurisdiction, across jurisdictions and with private organizations that may respond to an emergency. The jurisdiction will ensure that mechanisms are in place to set priorities and that they integrate multiple entities and functions. The planning organization should set up regular meetings and ensure effective coordination of issues. The following preparedness activities should be planned and implemented:

  • Emergency plans and protocols
  • Public communications and awareness plans
  • Integration and coordination of EM activities within the jurisdiction

  • Publication of standards, guidelines and protocols for communications interoperability between jurisdictions and agencies (EOC to EOC)
  • Adoption of standards, guidelines and protocols for resources, to include support of incident responders and incident support organizations.  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize programs that describe how governmental and non-governmental resources will be used to support incident management requirements
  • Installation, operation and maintenance of EOCs, mutual aid agreements, incident information systems, non-governmental organization and private-sector outreach, public awareness and media information systems, and mechanisms to ensure operations security and information security
  • Preparedness programs that periodically cycle through planning, training, equipping, evaluating, correcting and mitigating

  The Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) for the State of Tennessee is the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP).  Each jurisdiction should ensure the EOP defines the scope of needed preparedness and incident management systems, that the EOP describes organizational structures, roles, responsibilities, policies and protocols for providing emergency support, and that response and short-term recovery activities are facilitated. The jurisdiction will ensure that the EOP is flexible enough to use in all emergencies. The EOP should describe the EOP purpose, provide situation and assumptions, describe the concept of operations, describe the organization and the assignment of responsibilities, describe administration and logistics, describe EOP development and maintenance, provide authorities and references, and contain functional annexes.  Hazard-specific annexes will be included for the more complex and problematic threats. The EOP will pre-designate jurisdictional or functional area representatives when these are imperative, will include pre-incident and post-incident public awareness, education and communications plans and protocols, and will contain a glossary. 

  TEMA develops area specific SOPs and Operations Guides to provide more detailed guidance for the agency. These guides may also prove useful for county or city EMAs to enhance their own protocols. Each jurisdiction will develop procedures that are documented or implemented through checklists, resource listings, maps and charts, processes for using equipment, supplies and vehicles, methods of obtaining mutual aid, mechanisms for reporting information to work centers and EOCs and communications operating instructions (particularly in regard to private and non-governmental charitable organizations). Procedures established will be risk-based and hazard-specific as required and meet applicable legal requirements.

  When an emergency develops into a more complicated or lengthy operation requiring external mutual aid or assistance, an IAP should be produced to provide a coherent means of communicating incident objectives, situation status, and support plans and activities.  The IAP should be written in every catastrophe of Level 3, 4 or 5.  The IAP will include overall incident goals, objectives and strategies, will address the mission and policy needs of each jurisdictional agency, and define the responsibility, roles and agreed upon tasks of jurisdictions, functional agencies and private organizations.  Tactical objectives and support activities should be identified for each operational period.  Provision for a meeting to identify deficiencies or shortcomings, an after action report, and a report on required corrective actions should be included. 

Preparedness plans will describe the process and schedule for identifying and meeting training needs, the process for developing, conducting and evaluating exercises and the process for correcting identified deficiencies.  The plan must include arrangements for acquiring resources, including mutual aid or mutual assistance.  The plan should also include provisions for facilities and equipment that can withstand the effects of the hazards most likely to be faced in the jurisdiction. 

  Each jurisdiction will implement a training program that includes completion of standard courses on Incident Command and management and incident management structure, standard courses on operational coordination processes and systems, courses focused on discipline-specific subject matter expertise, and courses focused on agency-specific subject matter expertise.  Entry level personnel, involved in any way with emergency management, will complete IS-700 and IS-800.  First line supervisors for first-responders will be required to complete IS-100 and IS-200.  Middle management (general staff) will complete IS-300.  Executive level personnel will complete IS-400. Individuals must complete any prerequisites to reach the level of training specified within the first year of assignment.

  Special teams, including task forces and strike teams, will be accredited by TEMA as training programs are announced.  Team certification for Hazardous Materials teams is provided by TEMA. Other training programs that are in development include firefighting teams, law enforcement teams, search and rescue teams, and others. Individuals assigned to these teams must also maintain their personal education credentials to support team certification.

  Each jurisdiction will implement a training and exercise program that involves incident management organizations and personnel participating in realistic events and private-sector and non-governmental organization interaction. 

Interstate mutual aid or assistance will be handled in accordance with the procedures identified by the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) and by the Mutual Aid Operations Guide. TCA 58-8-101 to TCA 58-8-115 establishes the authority for intrastate mutual aid or assistance without the creation of memorandums of understanding or agreement. EMAC is established in state law as TCA 58-2-403.  The jurisdiction will also consider additional interstate compacts or agreements where applicable with any jurisdiction or organization from whom they may receive assistance or support. Mutual-aid agreements will include definitions of key terms, roles and responsibilities of the parties, procedures for requesting and providing assistance, procedures, authorities and rules for payment, reimbursement, and allocation of costs, notification procedures, and protocols for interoperable communications. Such agreements will address relationships with other inter-jurisdictional agreements, workers compensation, liability and immunity, recognition of qualifications and certifications, and sharing of agreements, as applicable. 

Resource Management

Each jurisdiction should identify the resources required to support operations in the event of the most likely hazards for that jurisdiction’s geographic area.  This presupposes the need for a vulnerability or a risk analysis and the identification and prioritization of hazards.  The resources required for each hazard should be categorized, ordered (if necessary), dispatched, tracked and recovered. 

Each jurisdiction must implement and institutionalize processes, systems, procedures and plans to address resource management, including a uniform method of identifying, acquiring, allocating and tracking resources, utilizing an effective mutual aid and donor assistance program, implementing standardized classification of the kinds and types of resources required to support the incident management organization, credentialing personnel and teams by establishing training and certification standards, performing resource coordination with various agencies and disciplines, and with private and non-governmental charitable organizations. Adequate rest and recuperation time and facilities will be made available to mutual aid teams arriving from external sources. Occupational health and mental health issues will be addressed, including monitoring how such events may affect emergency responders over time.  If responders were exposed to hazardous materials, supporting documentation will be begun within the state and provided to the team or supporting headquarters to support the medical surveillance requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1030, paragraph (h).

  The jurisdiction should determine whether it is useful, practical or feasible to warehouse items or materiel before an emergency, to include building sufficient funding into the budget to provide periodic replenishment and capital improvements.

  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes, systems, procedures and plans to ensure that resource managers identify, refine and validate resource requirements throughout the incident life cycle by accurately identifying what is needed and who will receive or use the resource and that resource managers are able to provide technical assistance to define and translate requirements into a specification when a requestor is unable to describe the needed resource by type or classification.

  As required by TCA 58-2-114, the jurisdiction will attempt to obtain assets from within the state prior to ordering or purchasing resources.  The SEOC will reassign assets at state level.

  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes, procedures and plans to ensure that requests for items that the incident commander or DACO cannot obtain locally are submitted through the local EOC or multi-agency coordinating entity using standardized resource ordering procedures and that if a resource order cannot be filled locally, that the request is forwarded to the next level up.

  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to mobilize incident response personnel and institute processes, procedures, and plans to ensure initial notification includes date, time and place of departure, mode of transportation to the incident, estimated date and time of arrival, reporting location (address, contact name, and phone number), anticipated mission assignment, resource order number (established by the TEMA Logistics Director or the DACO in the SEOC), mission number (established by DACO at the SEOC), and the applicable costs and funding codes (established in coordination with the Finance Section Leader or TEMA Finance Officer) at the SEOC. The jurisdiction will establish procedures to ensure that the source organization is notified when deploying personnel formally check in on-scene and that emergency operations centers and incident management teams comply with standard interagency mobilization guidelines (at state level, this is addressed in the Mutual Aid Operations Guide). Demobilization planning should begin as soon as possible since mobilization assets may cycle through their assignment and be replaced by another asset long before the actual emergency is terminated.  Equipment may be mobilized using TCA 58-2-108 while personnel may be mobilized under TCA 58-2-113.

  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to ensure that all non-expendable resources are fully accounted for at the incident site and again upon return to the issuing unit or headquarters.  Accountability and control will be instituted by the EMAC A-Team upon state arrival and by the reception area commander, by the staging area commander and by the base commander, in turn. Returned resources will be restored to fully functional capability, including the replacement of broken or lost items, and readied for another mobilization before being released to the issuing unit or headquarters. Categories of resources are organized as follows: 

  Categories of Equipment and Supplies.

1.  Major and Critical End Items.  High cost equipment that may be included in the definition for non-expendable, sensitive, vehicles, or other categories, but which are so expensive or important they are listed separately.  Examples are large generators, command post vehicles, command post trailers, fire trucks, bulldozers, and aircraft.

2.  State-Identified Sensitive Items.  Sensitive items are identified by General Services regulations or by agency guidelines for special tracking due to cost, high theft threat, or other sensitivity.  Examples are computers, GPS sets, radios, sirens, badges, and weapons.

3.  Vehicles.  Self-propelled wheeled or tracked equipment.  Examples are operational vehicles, emergency vehicles, administrative sedans, stake-bed trucks and riding lawnmowers.

4.  Non-Expendable Equipment.  Equipment that used over extended periods of time without being exhausted.  Examples are chain saws, tents, furniture, defibrillators, heaters, air conditioners, lock sets, tools and safes.

5.  Non-Expendable Supplies.  Materials that are exhausted only after a more lengthy period of time, but initially could be re-energized or recharged, cleaned and used, or re-loaded.  Examples are fire extinguishers, fire protection equipment, all-weather coats, lithium or other re-chargeable batteries, radioactive elements in detectors, computer printer cartridges, and service ammunition.

6.  Expendable Supplies.  Materials that are exhausted upon use.  Examples are paper, pencils, training ammunition, food, non-rechargeable batteries, bottled water or other beverages, and some types of clothing. 

Action will be taken by all jurisdictions to ensure that categories of supplies and equipment are managed appropriately so as not to waste assets.

  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to ensure that all expendable resources are fully accounted for, that the re-stocking of expendable resources occurs at the point of resource issue, that the incident management organization bears the cost of expendable resources (as specified in pre-planned financial agreements), that all returned resources that are non-storable are declared excess according to policy, and that the management of resources requiring special handling and disposition (especially biological wastes or contaminated debris) complies with established law, regulation and policy.

  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to ensure that all major end items are collected, restored and returned in fully functional capability, including the replacement of broken or lost items, and readied for another mobilization before being released to the issuing unit or headquarters.  Major end items will be returned in a higher priority than other assets, except for personnel teams.

  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to ensure that all sensitive items are collected, restored and returned in fully functional capability, including the replacement of broken or lost items, and readied for another mobilization before being released to the issuing unit or headquarters.  Sensitive items are identified in the TEMA Property Control SOP.  Sensitive items will be returned in a higher priority than other assets, except for major end items and personnel teams.

  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to ensure that all other non-expendable items are collected, restored and returned in fully functional capability, including the replacement of broken or lost items, and readied for another mobilization before being released to the issuing unit or headquarters.  Other non-expendable items will be returned in a priority lower than sensitive items, major end items, and personnel teams.

To ensure equipment readiness during emergencies, each jurisdiction will utilize the FEMA Resources Tracking System (RTS) for typing and tracking vehicles and equipment.  The jurisdiction should implement an equipment acquisition program that ensures required equipment meets performance and interoperability standards for the jurisdiction and a majority of neighboring communities who may offer mutual aid or assistance.  The jurisdiction should ensure its resources are categorized by size, capacity, capability and skill using the FEMA RTS. Each jurisdiction should include sufficient funding in the budget to provide periodic maintenance for vehicles, generators, detection equipment, communications equipment, personal protective equipment and other issued items, to include weapons, facilities, grounds, and any warehoused materiel.

  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to ensure that resource providers are reimbursed in a timely manner.  Mechanisms for collecting bills, validating costs against the scope of work, ensuring proper authorities have approved the procedure and that the appropriate persons can access reimbursement programs.  Special plans will be included to address the transition of emergency purchasing and contracting procedures to normal state purchasing and contracting procedures once the emergency has ended so that reimbursement is not unnecessarily delayed.

Communications Systems and Management

A common communications plan should be developed integrating the types of equipment available to the jurisdiction with its elements, with mutual assistance assets, and with the capabilities of any supporting agencies.  The jurisdiction will ensure that communications support mechanisms are in place to effectively support the complete spectrum of incident management activities.  This architecture should be determined, written out, and developed into communication nets in advance of any emergency.  Voice and data nets should be planned separately.  The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to ensure that incident communications follow the standards called for under ICS, that incident communications will be managed by the incident commander using a common communications plan and an incident-based communications center, and that all incident management entities use common terminology for communications.

Emphasis from the top down for networking and establishing communications will be first placed on command interoperability, e.g., the ability to communicate from state emergency operations center to other key emergency operations centers.  At the incident command level emphasis from the bottom up for networking and establishing communications will be first placed on command interoperability, e.g., the ability to communicate from the first responder to the incident commander.

Emphasis will be placed on tactical interoperability, e.g., the ability for responders to communicate between themselves, after command interoperability has been achieved.

The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to ensure that indications and warnings, incident notifications and public communications, and critical information that constitute a common operating picture are disseminated through a combination of networks used by EOCs and that notifications are made through mechanisms defined in emergency operations and Incident Action Plans.

The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to ensure that plan for the use of information management technologies to tie together all command, tactical, and support units and to enable information sharing and corrective actions cataloguing after the command net is installed and operating.

The deployment of communications assets will be planned in advance where possible.  State assets will be deployed in accordance with the TEMA Interoperability SOP.

The jurisdiction will implement and institutionalize processes to ensure that ensure incident notifications and situation reports are standardized.  This process will occur through WebEOC at the state level and manually as specified in the TEMA Operations SOP and WEBEOC SOP.

Public Relations and Information Dissemination

Each jurisdiction should ensure that the PIO represents and advises the incident commander on all public information matters relating to management of the incident. The PIO will handle functions required to coordinate, clear with appropriate authorities, and disseminate accurate and timely information related to the incident. This includes media and public inquiries, emergency public information and warnings, rumor monitoring and response, and media monitoring. The PIO, in the absence of a government liaison officer, may also answer, coordinate, or respond to executive, political, or legislative inquiries and report on findings. The PIO will coordinate public information at or near the incident site and serve as the on-the-scene link to the Joint Information System, which includes the Joint Information Center in a large-scale operation. The jurisdiction must be prepared to coordinate and integrate public information functions across jurisdictions, functional agencies, federal, state, and local partners, and with private sector and non-governmental charitable organizations.

The jurisdiction must implement and institutionalize procedures to ensure the Joint Information System provides an organized, integrated and coordinated means of delivering understandable, timely, accurate, and consistent information to the public through the media.  Plans, protocols and structures must be prepared to ensure the public is kept informed during a crisis to prevent panic and to ensure that unnecessary deaths or injuries do not occur.  The reduction of damage or destruction of property and services should be the next priority.  All public information operations related to the event should be focused through one point, the PIO.  The jurisdiction must ensure the Media Information Center/Joint Information System performs interagency coordination and integration, that coordinated messages are developed and delivered, that support is provided for decision-makers, and that the PIO/Media Information Center/Joint Information System is flexible, modular and adaptable.

Each jurisdiction must implement and institutionalize procedures to ensure that the JIC has representatives from each jurisdiction, agency, key private sector organization or key nongovernmental charitable organization involved in the emergency.  Although this option is unlikely in Tennessee, the jurisdiction should be flexible enough to support multiple JIC locations if they prove necessary and to ensure that each JIC communicates and coordinates with each other and other appropriate ICS elements.

Disaster Information Collection and Distribution

The jurisdiction will establish procedures to ensure information and incident intelligence is appropriately analyzed and shared with responders and other emergency management personnel with a proper clearance and with a "need to know."  The jurisdiction may organize this section within the Planning Section, in the Operations Section, or under the incident commander as a member of the general staff.  Due to the number of smaller emergencies, TEMA has placed the information collection function with the Planning Chief who must use the material to create operational plans.  The jurisdiction will ensure that procedures are established to develop, conduct and manage information security, including the safeguard of sensitive information of all types.  The jurisdiction will ensure that information, intelligence and operational security matters are coordinated with the public awareness activities of the PIO.

  All incident commanders will collect information and data suitable for reporting by various reports, including SITREPs, and will submit this situation intelligence to the operations center or the SEOC through WebEOC, by radio, telephone, fax, e-mail or other means.  The receiver of this information will forward it to ESF-5.

  Information that is essential to response or furthering the mitigation and recovery effort must be channeled to the  correct branch so that action may be taken.  The lack of essential information at a critical moment may cost lives or extend the length of time it takes to return an emergency to normal.  Each person involved in the receipt of information which appears to be essential to fighting the catastrophe should be forwarded to the Planning Section/ ESF-5 ESC or to the County Liaison (if reporting from the local jurisdiction). The ESF-5 ESC will collect incident intelligence, information and data, organize it into an event picture, produce an intelligence summary and other reports as necessary.  The summary will be prepared for distribution by various means, either by WebEOC, e-mail, or PIO services and products (emergency alert system or press releases).



  When performance objectives are set and assignments have been made, a process will be established to ensure that agency performance is evaluated, documented and that corrective actions are made to eliminate deficiencies, short-comings or single-points-of-failure.  The jurisdiction must develop plans to extract lessons-learned from actual incidents and from training and exercises.  Mitigation plans should be developed to eliminate risks to persons or property or to lessen the actual or potential effects or consequences of a threat.  The jurisdiction will plan for long-term recovery and identify strategic priorities for restoration, improvement and growth.

  A meeting with the purpose of discovering the weaknesses or deficiencies of actions taken in response to an emergency or event.  The meeting discusses the events that occurred, including what specifically occurred in what order, who was involved, when the event and subsequent events occurred, where the events occurred, and some situational information requiring why it occurred and what is expected to occur next.  The discussion includes statistics to explain the damage to persons and property and to project the requirement for assets to mitigate or recover from the disaster.

  An after action report must be created that summarizes the events that occurred, including what specifically occurred in what order, who was involved, when the event and subsequent events occurred, where the events occurred, and some situational information requiring why it occurred and what is expected to occur next.  The AAR includes statistics to explain the damage to persons and property and to project the requirement for assets to mitigate or recover from the disaster.

  A corrective action plan must be created after a corrective action meeting or after action report to implement changes to correct identified deficiencies, shortcomings, or weaknesses.   This plan should include the full range of corrections, including short-range corrections requiring policy changes or additional training and long-term corrections requiring funds or additional personnel or equipment, with priority to immediate corrections.

  A liaison officer may be appointed to serve as an enhanced means of communications between two organizations or agencies, but especially between an EOC and a key response support organization.  The liaison officer’s duties will include:

  -  To serve as the representative of the decision-making authority of the department or agency represented, to serve as a source of expertise in technical fields, and to explain policy or reasons for choices that were made.

  -   To improve the flow and understanding of essential information, such as the update of events, execution of planned events or operations, decisions or changes in plans, and coordination of a series of planned events in an operation.

   -  To ensure that the timing of critical occurrences is coordinated and made clear to both sides.

   -  To provide additional security for sensitive information and limit the divulgence of certain actions until a selection or choice is made.

    -  To serve as an alternate conduit of communications, ensuring that critical information is passed in a timely manner.

NIMSCAST is a reporting tool that confirms that each jurisdiction that accepts federal funds to improve emergency preparedness does in fact meet all of the above requirements and the specific training requirements established for responders.