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Local Emergency Management Organizations and CEMPs

This page provides information about city and county emergency management organizations in Washington State, including examples of comprehensive emergency management plans (CEMPs) and interlocal agreements for joint emergency management services.

It is part of MRSC's series on Emergency Management and Disaster Planning.


RCW 38.52.070 and chapter 118-30 WAC require each “political subdivision” (defined as any city, town, or county) to establish a local emergency management organization or to be a member of a joint local emergency management organization in accordance with the state comprehensive emergency management plan and program.

In addition, each local emergency management organization must develop and update a comprehensive emergency management plan (CEMP).

Specifically, WAC 118-30-040 provides that:

  1. Each political subdivision must establish an emergency management organization by ordinance or resolution passed by the legislative body […]. Two or more political subdivisions may join in the establishment of an emergency management organization.
  2. Each political subdivision shall develop, promulgate and submit a comprehensive emergency management plan.
  3. Each political subdivision shall submit an emergency management program paper annually to the director not less than sixty days prior to the beginning of the calendar year.
  4. Political subdivisions that have joined together to form a joint emergency management organization may submit a single plan and program paper. Criteria for evaluating local emergency management/services organizations, plans and programs to ensure consistency with the state comprehensive emergency management plan and program is outlined in Ch. 118-30 WAC.

In addition, RCW 38.52.091 authorizes local emergency management organizations to collaborate with other public and private agencies via a mutual aid or interlocal agreement. Special purpose districts can and should partner with cities and counties in their emergency management planning via these agreements.

Examples of Emergency Management Organizations

Below are a few examples of local emergency management organizations, including interlocal agreements establishing joint emergency management services.

Emergency Management Organizations

Interlocal Agreements

Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans (CEMP)

A CEMP is a basic, written plan with elements that address all-natural and man-made emergencies and disasters to which the jurisdiction is vulnerable. Per WAC 118-30-030 (9), it must specify the purpose, organization, responsibilities, and facilities of agencies and officials of the political subdivision in the mitigation of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from emergencies and disasters.

Each CEMP must be based on a hazard analysis and, at a minimum, include the elements listed in WAC 118-30-060.

Examples of County CEMPs

Many county CEMPs apply not just to the unincorporated areas, but also to some or all of their cities/towns through interlocal agreements.

Example of City CEMPs

Below are examples of cities that have developed CEMPs.

Recommended Resources

Last Modified: March 20, 2020