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We are prepared for Hurricane Season  

We welcomed Tropical Storm Colin to Citrus County early in the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season.  Your Emergency Management Division of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office began tracking the low pressure system on Friday, June 3, while it was still off the Yucatan Peninsula.  We followed it as it developed into our third named storm of the season and watched it make landfall.  Citrus County spared well considering the impact Colin had on the counties to the south of us.  I commend the County for their preparation for the storm, as well as the citizens for taking the storm seriously.  Approximately 10K sandbags were distributed to citizens who took the precaution to lessen any potential damage that might have occurred.  The Emergency Operations Center went to a partial, level 2, activation on that Monday afternoon, and prior to landfall.  But what does that actually mean?   The Emergency Operations Center operates under three levels of activation, from lowest threat level which is level 3, to highest, level 1.  It doesn’t necessarily mean the EOC is used only during hurricane season.   It can be activated for any man-made or natural disaster emergency.   Activation brings together the agencies and organizations necessary to coordinate the numerous tasks associated with major emergencies.   What does each level entail?

Level 3 – Monitoring Activation:  Monitoring is a constant process conducted by the 911 consolidated communications center and emergency management staff.  During level 3, emergency management disseminates information to the members of the emergency support functions to unusual events or weather occurrence through email, text messaging, telephone notifications or radios.  The normal, day to day operation of the EOC is conducted at level 3.

Level 2 – Hazard Specific Activation (Partial):  Level 2 activation may be implemented when there is an imminent threat to our area such as a storm, or a major community incident.   The Emergency Management Director utilizes the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to identify the needed partners to facilitate and coordinate requests for the specific type of incident or emergency.  NIMS is a systematic, proactive approach to help departments and agencies at all levels of government, along with non-governmental organizations and the private sector to work together and manage incidents involving all threats and hazards.  Every emergency agency from Homeland Security to FEMA to county Emergency Management operates under this structure.   For example, we went to level 2 activation for Tropical Storm Colin.

Level 1 – Full Activation:  Full EOC activations may be implemented for a major event or disaster exceeding the scope and resources available within the county.  These types of events require multi-agency coordination to ensure an effective response and recovery for the citizens and visitors of Citrus County.  Additionally, events of this nature often involve a “State of Emergency” which provides a conduit to request assistance from the State and FEMA.  As in level 2 activation, the Emergency Management Director identifies the needed partners required for EOC staffing, which includes all components of operational, logistical, financial, and planning coordination.  During a full activation, the EOC may house two full shifts of emergency workers.   For example, we would go to a full activation if a hurricane was threatening Citrus County or if we had a manmade disaster or mass causality scenario within the county. 

You can trust the staff within the Emergency Management Division of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, along with our county partners, is prepared for this hurricane season.  I again urge you to take a proactive approach for you and your family’s survival.  For more information on hurricane safety on what to do before, during, and after a storm, head to the top of this page and click on the Emergency Management tab.  They say knowledge is power and remember, Get a Plan Citrus!

Capt. David M. DeCarlo

Capt. David M. DeCarlo

Emergency Management Director

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