What steps is the city required to take to prepare for a disaster?

Each city is required to maintain its own emergency management agency or participate in a local interjurisdictional emergency management agency.  See 37 TAC §7.1.  The mayor is required to notify the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) of the manner in which the city is providing an emergency management program and the person designated to head that program.  Id. at §7.3.

A city must prepare, keep current, and distributed to appropriate officials a local emergency management plan or an interjurisdictional emergency management plan that is developed in conjunction with another city or county.  Id. at §7.12.  The purpose of an emergency management  plan is to provide for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. See Tex. Government Code §418.106(a).  Each emergency management plan must be signed by the mayor, and must include, at a minimum: (1) wage, price, and rent controls and other economic stabilization methods; (2) curfews and other movement restrictions; (3) limitations on utility use in areas affected by a disaster; and (4) rules governing entrance to and exit from the affected area, and other security measures. Id. at §418.106(b); 37 TAC §7.12.  The mayor, as the emergency management director of the city, may designate a person to serve as the emergency management coordinator.  See Tex. Government Code §418.1015. In many cities, the emergency management coordinator is responsible for developing the emergency management plan and coordinating emergency management training.  The Governor’s Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) provides plan documentation templates and guidelines for each plan and annex at the Texas Department of Public Safety's Plans Units website.  The plan, and any changes, must also be sent to the Governor’s Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). See 37 TAC §7.12.  Each plan must be reviewed annually and updated at least once every five years. See 37 TAC §7.12.  For more information on emergency management, city officials may review the TDEM’s Texas Emergency Management Executive Guide (PDF).

In addition, as a condition to receiving federal funds, grants, training, and reimbursement of disaster recovery costs, a city must adopt and implement the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as its incident management system.  See id at §7.13.  NIMS is an incident management system that enables organization across the country to work together during incidents of all kinds and sizes.

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1. What is a disaster?
2. What steps is the city required to take to prepare for a disaster?
3. Who is required to complete disaster management training?
4. Where can a city official get training in emergency management?
5. Can a member of the public view a city’s emergency management plan or disaster-related information maintained by the city?