Emergency Preparedness is a Division of the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department. The Emergency Preparedness Division confronts potential and immediate disasters and city-wide emergencies such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and terrorism through planning and preparations designed to save lives and minimize damage. Responsible for disaster preparedness in accordance with and in support of national and state emergency plans and programs, the division also serves as the Duval County Emergency Management agency overseeing the Emergency Operations Center and The Consolidated City of Jacksonville/Duval County Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.
The mission of the Emergency Preparedness Division is to support our citizens and first responders, and to ensure that as a community we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Jack Weatherford was likely the first Director of the Jacksonville Civil Defense. Records suggest that he was appointed by the Mayor and became Director possibly as early as the 60’s but certainly during the early 70’s.
In 1985, the Jacksonville Civil Defense became the Emergency Preparedness Division (Duval County Emergency Management). The transition, including moving the planning focus from protecting citizens from military attacks to protecting the citizens from man-made and natural disasters, took place as the funding and support at the federal level moved from Military Affairs to what would become the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In 1994, the Federal Reserve Building at 515 N. Julia Street was purchased to house the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department Administration and Duval County Emergency Management.. This building would also be home to the Duval County Emergency Operations Center, Fire Communications Center and the Jacksonville Fire Prevention Bureau. The building would officially open in 1995, after a move from 107 N. Market Street, and is still home today.
Honors and Accreditations
The City of Jacksonville Emergency Preparedness Division is the first locally accredited (2005) and re-accredited (2010) emergency management program in the world. This accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) signifies that Jacksonville has the necessary processes and plans in place to be prepared for disasters. Jacksonville is at the forefront of the emergency management community, and this award echoes that we are not just ready, we are JaxReady!
Click here for more information on the EMAP accreditation process.
A National Weather Service program, StormReady is a nationwide community preparedness initiative that uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle all types of severe weather. StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives and property through advanced planning, communication, education and awareness. Emergency managers are provided with clear guidelines on how to improve their hazardous weather operations.
To be recognized as a StormReady community, a community must:
- Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
- Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public
- Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally
- Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars
- Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises
Click here for more information regarding the StormReady program.