The emergency management services within Sussex County, Delaware are coordinated through the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The EOC is the lead agency within the county regarding natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, and storms, as well as manmade crises like hazardous material spills and terrorist incidents. The EOC is also the county command center for 911 emergency services like EMS and fire.
In the Emergency Operations Plan developed by the EOC, various agencies would be responsible for combating specific threats. In the case of a biological contamination or public disease outbreak, the Division of Public Health would partner with the Delaware Health and Social Services to inspect the affected area. If a biological agent is identified, than a disaster plan will be activated. Quarantine zones would be established to isolate affected people or animals.
If a manmade disturbance were to occur, like civil disorder, the county EOC would monitor the situation. A variety of agencies including local police, state law enforcement and federal Department of Homeland Security would intercede to restore civil order. A Department of Defense liaison officer would also be assigned to monitor the situation, provide advice and activate federal resources if necessary.
How to Become an Emergency Management Professional in Sussex County, Delaware
The majority of emergency management careers in professions like public health, emergency medical services, business continuity planning, and urban planning have requirements similar to these:
- Graduation from an accredited university with a baccalaureate degree in
- Public administration
- Business administration
- Terrorism studies
- Emergency management
- Disaster preparedness
- Public health
- At least five years of experience in homeland security or emergency management
- Knowledge of the National Response Framework, National Incident Management System and Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
Training for emergency first responders can usually be obtained through a basic training academy or through a state licensed school. EMTs, fire and police personnel are expected to complete introductory training and receive annual or periodic training to remain licensed.
Among the most important certifications for emergency management personnel are those offered by the International Association of Emergency Managers. This industry organization offers the following accreditation programs:
- Certified Emergency Manager—requires successful completion of a certification exam
- Associate Emergency Manager –requires successful completion of a comprehensive exam
Both of these accreditations require periodic recertification to maintain.
Disasters in Sussex County
Hurricane Isabel struck Sussex County in September of 2003. With the Category Five hurricane producing 70 mph winds, most of the coastal areas in the county were evacuated. A total of 787 people were relocated to emergency shelters operated by the American Red Cross. The storm surges produced by the hurricane were reportedly 17 feet high and contributed to significant beach erosion. At the height of the storm, almost 15,300 Sussex county residents were without power. Throughout the state almost 62 roads were closed due to flooding, toppled trees or downed power lines.