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Interoperability and Collaborative Emergency Management

Posted on Mon, Mar 26, 2012

Emergency Management effectiveness can be optimized through effective interoperability, the ability for diverse organizations to work together for a greater good. Interoperable communication and coordination with local agencies can provide additional support to a facility in the midst of an emergency. Coordinating planning, training, drills, and resource availability with local agencies and responders is an important aspect of an effective environmental, health and safety program.

The Department of Homeland Security identifies 5 elements that can improve emergency response interoperability.

  • Obtain leadership commitment from all disciplines (EMS, Fire, and Police Departments.
  • Foster collaboration across disciplines through leadership support.
  • Interface with policy makers to gain leadership commitment and resource support.
  • Establish relationship sustainability through ongoing communications
  • Plan and budget for ongoing updates to systems, procedures, and documentation.
  • Ensure collaboration and coordination.

Broadening the scope of response expertise can greatly benefit a facility by limiting the timeline of potentially escalating emergencies. Local agencies may provide additional response knowledge based on particular research, experiences, or occupational training in a particular area of study. Emergency managers should continually meet with government agencies, community organizations, and utility companies throughout the entire planning cycle to discuss likely emergencies and the available resources to minimize the affects on the community.


Sources of local collaborative response efforts and plan management information may include:

  • Community emergency management office
  • Mayor or Community Administrator’s office
  • Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
  • Fire Department
  • Police Department
  • Emergency Medical Services organizations
  • American Red Cross
  • National Weather Service
  • Public Works Department
  • Planning Commission
  • Telephone companies
  • Electric utilities
  • Neighboring businesses 

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Best Practices for Crisis Management.

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Tags: Fire Department Training, Fire Pre Plans, Business Continuity, Emergency Management, Crisis Management, Incident Management, Training and Exercises, Emergency Management Program, Department of Homeland Security