In addition to the mandate for protecting the resources under its care, NPS Management Policies states that: “The saving of human life will take precedence over all other management actions, as the Park Service strives to protect human life and provide for injury-free visits” (NPS Management Policies 2006, Section 18.104.22.168.). The policy language also makes it clear that the Service will do this under the substantial constraints of the 1916 Organic Act to undertake discretionary actions, only to the extent that they do not impair park resources and values.
To that end, an Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Operations plan provides guidance for incident management at the park level, as well as management/relief for emergency situations beyond NPS capabilities. These plans also ensure agency compliance with the Department of Homeland Security directives, the National Emergency Response Plan, and the National Incident Management System standards. Finally, these plans support interagency and national response to major incidents.
There are many programs under the purview of the Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Operations. These include the Emergency Medical Services, Search and Rescue, Diver Operations, Emergency Communications, Critical Incident Stress Management, and Incident Management System.
- Does your park/program have an Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Operations plan? What are the defining elements of your plan and what does it cover?
- Review your Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Operations plan. Is there anything missing that should be addressed?