The Portage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (PC OHS/EM) operates within the realm of public safety and is tasked with the overall preparedness and resiliency mission of Portage County. PC OHS/EM was established in 1989 by today’s ORC 5502.271 as a countywide emergency management program under the chief executives of the county. Essential deliverables are the annual review or development of the county all-hazards emergency operations plan and an annual exercise(s) testing such plan. ORC 5502 emergency management provisions provide guidance to the director/coordinator of EMA’s to deliver preparedness programs beyond the broad scope of solely the planning and the development/performance of exercises.
In Portage County, the EMA is much more than planning and exercises to our local communities and county as a whole. The EMA is the essential cornerstone of a local government’s capability to coordinate and collaborate during disaster situations. The EMA’s ability to embrace and engage stakeholders is a necessary, if not the most influential part of an emergency management program. Limited on resources, the EMA relies heavily on partnerships so that the right resources are called at the right time to complete the right task. These partnerships lead our department to the individual or agency identified for their specific capability/resource and is often outlined in the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). This includes training in emergency management concepts and being well-versed in the Emergency Operations Center if the need occurs.
The Emergency Management Office serves as the daily representatives for the Portage County Local Emergency Planning Committee, which oversees the collaborative that includes of Portage County Fire Chief's, the county Hazardous Materials Response Team and Urban Search & Rescue funding. The EMA also coordinates a core of volunteers with backgrounds in public safety, incident management, public information and amateur radio.