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Ohio Emergency Management Agency

ODPS Ohio Emergency Management Agency What Is EMA?

What Is EMA?

Established under Chapter 5502 of the Ohio Revised Code, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency is the central point of coordination within the state for response and recovery to disasters. The primary focus of the agency when not in a response or recovery mode is to ensure that the state, and the 11.6 million citizens residing in it, are prepared to respond to an emergency or disaster and to lead mitigation efforts against the effects of future disasters.

Effective emergency management systems are a tiered effort. When an emergency exceeds the capacity of local government, they request the assistance of the state through the Ohio EMA. If an emergency exceeds the capacity of the State, aid is requested from the president through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. To ensure preparedness and the capability to respond at all levels, it is critical that Ohio EMA's 95 person staff interface regularly with their local and federal counterparts.

During an emergency response or recovery effort, all sections and branches are focused on the event. The Ohio EMA, as the governor's emergency management organization, may activate the Ohio Emergency Operations Center to better coordinate the state's response.

Chapter 5502 of the ORC designates the Executive Director of the Ohio EMA as the state coordinator during emergency response and stipulates that the Executive Director:
"Shall coordinate all activities of all agencies for emergency management within the state, shall maintain liaison with similar agencies of other states and of the federal government, shall cooperate with those agencies subject to the approval of the governor, and shall develop a statewide emergency operations plan that shall meet any applicable federal requirements for such plans."

Ohio EMA's current staffing roster includes:

  • Five Regional Field Offices, each manned with regional supervisors and emergency management specialists. The regional offices are located in Hancock County (NW), Cuyahoga County (NE), Franklin County (Central), Jackson County (SE), and Butler County (SW).
  • The EMA Watch Office, staffed by two branch chiefs and eight analysts, is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is charged with increasing Ohio EMA and the State Emergency Operations Center’s speed and efficiency, enabling the state to better prepare and respond to all hazards.

The agency also has trainers who specialize in all-hazards training, exercise design, survivable crisis management, and radiological training. These individuals support all 88 county emergency management programs.