Northwest NEWS

December 27, 1999

Local News

The Emergency Services Coordinating Agency

   The Emergency Services Coordinating Agency (ESCA) has been created by interlocal agreement between its member cities. The agency currently serves the cities of Brier, Edmonds, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, and Woodway, and also the Shoreline School District. ESCA is funded on a per capita basis through the regular city's budgets, with approximately 18% of the funding provided through federal grants.

   ESCA serves as the emergency management agency for each of its member cities and is an intergral part of each city's emergency management organization. In cooperation with each city's disaster coordinator, ESCA staff provide direction and coordination in the development and maintenance of the cities emergency operations plans and provide for coordination with outside agencies and organizations involved in emergency planning.

   In addition to assisting each city with emergency planning and preparedness activities, ESCA develops and maintains its own emergency procedures, works with outside agencies such as dispatch centers, Red Cross, hospitals, schools, and public utilities to coordinate emergency response. ESCA provides ongoing public education classes.

   The agency manages a variety of emergency management related tasks, including state and federal mandates. These include programs such as SARA Title III, which includes the administration of federal hazardous materials planning and community right to know requirements, maintaining critical communication links such as the Emergency Alert System and CEMNET, and development and maintenance of a volunteer operated emergency back-up communication systems which supports the overall disaster response efforts at the local level.

   During times of emergency, ESCA staff and trained volunteers manage the ESCA Emergency Operations Center in order to provide a coordination point between local, state, and federal agencies for support to ESCA cities. ESCA coordinates resources utilized between member cities and provides resource acquisition and deployment from outside sources based on the needs of each individual city.

   The agency also coordinates emergency back-up communications and develops and releases emergency public information. ESCA has direct access to emergency support agencies such as Washington State Emergency Management, state agencies, National Guard, public and private utilities, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other volunteer emergency service organizations which provide support activities during major emergencies and disasters.

   During the recovery period immediately following a disaster, ESCA staff will provide assistance to member cities with disaster recovery paperwork, mitigation grants, and coordinate the establishment of Disaster Assistance Centers to support individual citizen and overall community recovery efforts.