The Role of OEM in our Community
The Office of Emergency Management is a network of resources that begins
with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Each State has an
Office of Emergency Management as well. In New Jersey, the OEM is
administered by the State Police. Each County has an OEM, which coordinates
County resources and assists with local municipalities. Finally, every local
municipality in the State has an OEM, staffed by a Coordinator, a Deputy(s)
and a Local Emergency Planning Council (LEPC). The LEPC is comprised of
various individuals in the community with a wide degree of backgrounds and
professional disciplines and assist the local municipality in preparing for
emergency events, networking various businesses and lending professional
Every municipality is required to maintain a local Emergency Operations Plan
(EOP). The EOP contains a Basic Plan and 16 Annexes. Each Annex is specific
to a critical element in emergency planning. For example: Law Enforcement,
Shelter Management, Evacuation, Fire & EMS, Health and Social Services are
all key components of the plan. The plan is required by law to be updated
and re-certified every five years. Rockaway Township’s plan was updated and
re-certified in August of 2001. For larger events, mass causality, terrorism
and biohazards, Morris County OEM, the Morris County Prosecutors Office, the
Morris County Sheriffs Office and other related County agencies all maintain
EOP’s designed for countywide use.
Specfic Points of Interest in RTOEM
Bio-Terrorism; is an issue that is being addressed on
multiple levels and with various agencies. Morris County continues to be a
leader in the State with regard to preparedness and has developed protocol
regarding a number of potential bio threats.
Evacuation; is a concern many of us have. Where do we go?
When do we go? Who will tell us? How do I get there? Rockaway Township
maintains an evacuation plan, which is synchronized with the County
evacuation plan. Rockaway Township maintains a Shelter Plan. Various sites
throughout the Town have been designated and the American Red Cross-Morris
Chapter assists the Town with Shelter Management. The best “Rule of Thumb”
for evacuation is; unless you or your home is in imminent danger, the safest
place for you is your home. If you are evacuated from your home, you will be
directed to a shelter by our local emergency services. Notice of evacuation
will occur on multiple levels; TV, Radio, RTPD and RTOEM Websites and if
necessary, door-to-door notifications will be made by the municipality.
Finally, Rockaway Township has a plan to activate our local transportation
resources which include our local school busses, regional school busses, the
Township Dial-A-Ride (handicapped individuals) and local charter bus
companies as needed. All of these agencies have working agreements on file
complete with emergency contact numbers.
School EOP; All schools are required to have an emergency
plan. Our local school system has been working with law enforcement and OEM
officials to establish and maintain an EOP that incorporated a number of
potential emergency related issues. Our local plan has been used as a model
for other communities in Morris County.
Training; All Police, Fire, EMS and OEM officials in the
Township regularly attend training classes and seminars that are specific to
terrorism and other related threats that face our citizens. Since terrorism
is constantly evolving, our training is very current, appropriate and
necessary to understand the various levels of threat and deploy the
necessary resources accordingly.
Communications; Rockaway Township is fortunate to have a
group of volunteers assist OEM with mobile communications. Morris County OEM
has a mobile communications capable of responding to local emergencies with
multi-channel portable radios and mobile repeater systems. Morris County is
developing a “Reverse 911” system that will be capable of dialing individual
phones from a central location and provide up-to-date information on a
potential emergency situation. Individual Towns can be targeted, individual
neighborhoods and even streets can be specifically targeted to receive a
pre-recorded message on vital information.
Resource Management; Rockaway Township maintains a variety
of critical resource lists of personnel and equipment that can be called
upon during an emergency event. These lists are current and updated
regularly. These lists also include outside governmental and law enforcement
agencies on a regional and national level.
General Information; There are a number of recently
developed publications, websites and telephone hotlines that are available
for the general public to access up-to-date information and resource data.
Every resident is encouraged to keep himself or herself informed on a
It is important to be diligent and responsible when confronting the many
issues we now face, not only as a community, but also as a nation. You are
encouraged to notify local law enforcement if you see anything that may
appear to be out of the ordinary or may look suspicious. Keeping yourself
and your family informed will not only be prudent on an individual level but
also contribute to the preparedness of the entire community.