Chapter 2.40


2.40.010    Definitions.

2.40.020    Division established.

2.40.030    Director appointed.

2.40.040    Division staff.

2.40.050    Division services.

2.40.060    Director of emergency management – Powers and duties.

2.40.070    Emergency management council established.

2.40.080    Emergency management council – Powers and duties.

2.40.090    Open meetings act.

2.40.100    Emergency management fund.

2.40.110    Contracts.

2.40.120    Mutual aid agreement.

2.40.130    Penalties for violations.

2.40.010 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the terms set out in this section shall have the following meanings:

A. “Disaster” means actual or threatened enemy attack, sabotage, extraordinary fire, flood, storm, epidemic, riot, earthquake, extraordinary hazardous materials incident or other similar public calamity.

B. “Emergency management” (synonymous with civil defense), the preparation for and the carrying out of all emergency functions, as set forth in RCW Chapter 38.52, to minimize and repair injury and damage resulting from disasters or major emergency. It does not include, nor does any provision of the chapter apply to any condition relating to a labor controversy. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.020 Division established.

There is established a division of the Whatcom County sheriff’s office to be known as the “emergency management division,” hereinafter referred to as the “division.”

It will be composed of designated employees, together with those volunteer forces enrolled to aid during disaster, and all groups, organizations and persons who may by agreement or operation of the law, including persons pressed into service under provision of the law, charged with duties incident to the protection of life and property in time of disaster. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.030 Director appointed.

The Whatcom County sheriff shall be the director of emergency management, hereinafter referred to as the “director.” (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.040 Division staff.

It is the responsibility of the director to hire the division staff in accordance with the personnel policies and procedures of the county and any other applicable laws and regulations. Employees of the division shall not be included within the civil service system, except those on leave from a civil service position shall be entitled to the protection of their status as provided in RCW 38.52.140. (Ord. 93-071 § 1; Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.050 Division services.

The emergency management division administrated by the Whatcom County sheriff shall perform the day-to-day tasks of the Whatcom County emergency management organization, to include preparing and carrying out of plans, including mock or practice drills, for the civil defense of persons and property within the jurisdictions party to this agreement in the event of major emergency or disaster, and to provide for the coordination of the emergency management and disaster functions with all other agencies and affected private persons, corporations and organizations. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.060 Director of emergency management – Powers and duties.

The director of emergency management shall:

A. Serve as the chief advisor to the council concerning emergency management matters affecting the emergency management division;

B. Serve as the emergency management coordinator for the unincorporated portion of Whatcom County;

C. Provide assistance as required to the jurisdictions party to this agreement;

D. Direct the activities of the emergency management division and the emergency operations center;

E. Maintain, review and update the Whatcom County emergency management operations plan, insuring conformance with the state plan and program;

F. Control and direct the effort of the Whatcom County emergency management organization, including the preparation of supporting plans and operating procedures;

G. Prepare and submit to the council an annual budget and program for the emergency management division;

H. Represent the emergency management division in all life and property of the people, and bind the county for the fair value thereof, and if required immediately, to commandeer the same for public use;

I. To require emergency services of any officer or employee of jurisdictions signatory hereto, in the event of a proclamation by the Governor of the existence of a disaster, to command the aid of as many citizens of this community as he considers necessary in the execution of his duties; such persons shall be entitled to all privileges, benefits, and immunities as are provided by state law for registered civil defense workers;

J. To execute all of the special powers conferred upon him by this agreement or by resolution adopted pursuant thereto, all powers conferred upon him by statute, agreement approved by the council or by any other lawful authority;

K. To requisition necessary personnel or material of any county department or agency, or of any city department or agency, with the concurrence of the mayor of that city;

L. In the event of major emergency within any political subdivision party hereto, the director will be empowered to take only those actions specifically requested and authorized by that jurisdiction, and approved by the executive head of any other political subdivision affected by such actions. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.070 Emergency management council established.

The Whatcom County emergency management council, hereinafter referred to as the “council,” is established. It shall be composed of the mayor or the executive head of each political subdivision contracting or signing an interlocal agreement with Whatcom County for emergency management, and the sheriff as the director of emergency management, who shall serve as vice chairman of the council. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.080 Emergency management council – Powers and duties.

The council shall be the policy-making agency for the division. It shall:

A. Select annually one of its members to act as chairman of the council;

B. Meet once annually between July and October in the Whatcom County Courthouse EOC, and at such other times as necessary at the call of the chairman and/or the director of emergency management. At least one-half of the membership must be present to constitute a quorum. A quorum will be four;

C. Have the duty and be empowered to review and recommend adoption of mutual aid plans and agreements to the legislative bodies of the jurisdictions party hereto, and approve or confirm emergency management and disaster plans, rules and regulations, and other disaster-related actions of the director of emergency management;

D. Adopt such resolutions and rules and regulations as are necessary to implement adopted plans and agreements;

E. Establish annually via majority vote of the council membership present at the annual meeting, and in writing, broad policy guidelines and program priorities for the emergency management division to be implemented by the director of emergency management;

F. Approve or disapprove annually, via majority vote of council members present at the annual meeting, and in writing the basis for financial and in-kind contributions of each political subdivision to the Whatcom County emergency management fund as recommended by the director of emergency management. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.090 Open meetings act.

The emergency management council meetings shall be subject to the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 42.30 RCW et seq. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.100 Emergency management fund.

A special pooled fund shall be established in accordance with Chapter 38.52 RCW. It will be known as the Whatcom County emergency management fund and will be administered by the Whatcom County sheriff’s office. All moneys, assets and liabilities of the department of emergency services as of December 31, 1989, shall be transferred to the Whatcom County emergency management fund. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.110 Contracts.

All contracts, agreements, rights, claims and obligations, either in favor of the department of emergency services or against it at the time the ordinance codified in this chapter takes effect shall continue in full force and effect. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.120 Mutual aid agreement.

Pursuant to Chapter 38.52 RCW, Whatcom County shall enter into a mutual aid agreement through its emergency management division with Skagit, Island and San Juan Counties. Whenever any party to the agreement suffers a disaster which requires additional aid beyond that which said party is able to provide for itself, each other party to this agreement, at the request of the stricken party through the county department of emergency management, agrees to lend such stricken party the maximum amount of equipment, facilities, and manpower that it can reasonably spare at that time. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).

2.40.130 Penalties for violations.

It shall be a misdemeanor, punishable by fine of not to exceed $250.00, or by imprisonment for not to exceed three months, or both, for any person during a disaster:

A. To wilfully obstruct, hinder or delay any member of the emergency management organization in the enforcement of any lawful rule or regulation issued pursuant to this chapter, or in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by virtue of this chapter;

B. To do any act forbidden by any lawful rules or regulations issued pursuant to this chapter, if such act is of a nature as to give, or be likely to give, assistance to the enemy, or to imperil the lives or property of inhabitants of the county, or to prevent, hinder or delay the defense or protection thereof;

C. To wear, carry or display, without authority, any means of identification specified by the department of emergency management of the state. (Ord. 89-115 (part)).