(Lehigh County Station 904)
The Catasauqua Emergency Management Agency provides emergency management services to the Borough of Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. The Borough of Catasauqua is located in east central Pennsylvania in Lehigh County and covers approximately 1.5 square miles and approximately 6600 people are in residence. We are located between the Lehigh Valley International Airport and the Lehigh River. Although relatively small in size, Catasauqua has the population density of many cities and due to its location, is exposed to many hazards which require comprehensive planning.
As in most communities, Catasauqua is fortunate to have well-trained and equipped fire, police and public works personnel. Our emergency medical services coverage is provided by Northampton Regional Emergency Medical Services. Emergency Management serves as the entity to provide comprehensive coordination, planning, support and logistical coordination for our first responder services in the event of a large-scale emergency or disaster. We also serve as the organization to reach out to all levels of government, the private sector and other agencies to assist with disaster relief and restoration of critical services and infrastructure. Coordination is key, as when disaster strikes, no single segment of society can meet the complex needs of a major emergency on its own. In its simplest definition, Emergency Management is people helping people.
Officially defined, Emergency Management is a comprehensive, integrated program of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery for emergencies and disasters of any kind. Emergency Management creates effective partnerships which are nurtured in advance of a disaster through the development of a proactive, comprehensive emergency operations plan. During a disaster, this plan is coordinated from an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staffed by personnel and representatives from all agencies involved with the incident to support the on-scene incident command system. Emergency Management operates under the guidelines of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
In Pennsylvania, Emergency Management begins at the municipal level as required by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Services Code. Every municipality in the Commonwealth is required to have an Emergency Management Coordinator who is selected by the elected officials of the jurisdiction and appointed by the governor. The Emergency Management Coordinator’s role is to develop plans, conduct training and coordinate all available resources within the community. The ultimate responsibility, however, for Emergency Management always rests with the chief elected official and governing body.
When two or more municipalities are involved in a disaster, the county assumes overall emergency coordination. When two or more counties are involved in a disaster, the state assumes overall coordination. When two or more states are involved in a disaster, the federal government assumes overall coordination. Thus, the responsibility and authority for emergency management always lies with the lowest level of government affected, and a unified incident command system is implemented that is all inclusive, yet never usurps local authority.
Since government’s ability to respond and fulfill all the immediate needs during the initial stages of a disaster may be limited, citizens need to be prepared to manage on their own for a suggested minimum of three days. Thus Emergency Management in addition to developing and maintaining the Borough’s ability to prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate against disasters and emergencies, includes a public education component to enhance personal preparedness. This shared responsibility of preparedness is crucial to minimize injury, loss of life and property, ensuring continuity of government and facilitating rapid recovery. The Catasauqua Emergency Management Agency has speakers and programs available for your business, church, neighborhood groups
and civic organizations to further educate our residents in personal preparedness.
Joseph M. Carl is the current Emergency Management Coordinator for the Borough of Catasauqua. The Emergency Management staff rounds out the duties of the various annexes of the Emergency Operations Plan and provides depth to the various Emergency Operations Center positions.