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Emergency Management

General Questions

Q. What is Emergency Management? A. EM is the process of preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery from/for disasters.

Q. What is an emergency? A. An emergency is any unplanned event that can cause injury, death, and destruction. An emergency can impact our county physically, environmentally and financially.

Q. What types of events are emergencies? A. Emergencies can be natural such as hurricanes, floods, fire, and tornadoes. Or emergencies can be man-made such as hazardous materials incidents, transportation accidents, radiological accidents, civil disturbances, and acts of terrorism.

Q. How is an emergency response organized? A. Osceola County has adopted the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as the method by which to control and organize any and all incidents, emergencies and disasters. In 2003, Homeland Security Presidential Directive #5 mandated the use of the NIMS and its corresponding six core components. As a result of NIMS, Osceola County has revised many required plans as well as operational methods. Typically, emergency operations centers are organized by emergency support functions (ESF) with a coordinating agency responsible for reporting activity within the ESF. With eighteen ESF’s in Osceola County, span of control is exceeded significantly. To effectively manage these coordinating functions, Osceola County has integrated the Incident Command System (ICS) to maximize the benefits of an effective management tool. The use of the ICS within the EOC coupled with a multijurisdictional/agency Executive Policy Group, Osceola can manage any incident with clear direction, excellent, effective planning all while minimizing duplication of efforts. For a complete review of Osceola County’s EOC Operational Guidelines, please refer to the CEMP Appendix A.

Q. When and how do I apply for Fire System Permits? A. Whenever you add, remove, renovate or upgrade a new or existing fire suppression, alarm or hood system.

Q. What is the time lapse between a permits application and permit issue? A. Minimum of two weeks, maximum of three weeks if no provisions are required.

Q. Can I start work before a permit is issued? A. Yes. Provided permissions has been granted and the applicant has a reasonable situation for request.

Q. What fire codes do you enforce? A. Current editions of all N.F.P.A. codes, Florida State Uniform Codes, Florida State Fire Codes 4A-60, N.F.P.A. Life Safety 101 and County Land Development Code.

Q. How long prior to a requested inspection do I have to reschedule it? A. 48 hours in advance.

Q. How do I acquire fire flow data from fire hydrants? A. Flow tests must be performed by a certified contractor or engineer. Special Needs Program Questions

Q. What does Special Needs mean? A. Persons with Special Needs are those with disabilities, medical problems or mobility problems that may need transportation assistance with evacuations or disaster sheltering in an emergency. Emergencies such as hurricanes can present a special challenge.

Q. What will the Osceola County Special Needs Program provide for me? A. Once you are registered with the program, in an emergency a vehicle will be sent for you to transport you to a public shelter or the hospital. You will be sheltered according to your needs.

Q. How do I register for the Osceola County Special Needs Program? A. Please call the Osceola County Office of Emergency Management at (407) 343-7000 from Monday – Friday: 8 am – 5 pm.

Q. What kind of paper work will I need to fill out? A. A questionnaire will be sent to you to be filled out and signed. You will also receive a letter for your physician and your utility company. Discuss your condition with your physician to determine what will be best for you during an evacuation. Please have your doctor sign these letters, if they pertain to your condition. Once the paperwork is returned to Emergency Management, you will be entered into a computer registry.

Q. Should I have a plan? A. Yes. Protecting yourself and your family requires planning ahead of time.

Q. How do I make a plan? A. Meet with your caregiver to discuss the dangers of fire, severe weather, and other emergencies that may affect you. Decide what you will need to do for each type of emergency. Determine ahead of time what will be your alternative shelter, and how you will get there. Make a list of items you need to take with you in case of an evacuation. Wildfire Related Questions

Q. Is my home at risk for Wildfire? A. The land use in your area and the type of vegetation around your home contributes to wildfire risk. Living in a woodland setting, in or near rural areas is also a risk factor.

Q. What are the top causes of Wildfires in Florida? A. People start most wildfires. Incendiary items like smoking materials not disposed of properly and arson are the causes. Arson, escaped debris burning and lightening are also causes.

Q. What should I do before Wildfire threatens? A. Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Plan fire-resistant shrubs and trees. Create a defensible space around your home. Use fire-resistant roof and exterior construction. Or treat wood or combustible material used in roofs, siding, decking or trim with UL-approved fire retardant chemicals. Create a disaster plan. Make sure your house number is easy to read on your home.

Q. What is defensible space? A. It is at least 30 feet of lean, clean and green space surrounding your home. This space gives firefighters room to put out fires.

Q. How do I create a defensible space? A. Make your yard lean by pruning shrubs and tree branches within 15 feet of your chimney or stovepipe. Remove dead tree branches that extend over the roof. Make your yard clean by raking leaves and removing dead tree limbs and twigs. Stack firewood at least 100 feet away from your home. Make your yard green by removing flammable vegetation and replacing it with fire-resistant plants.

Q. What types of plants are fire resistant? A. Dogwood, viburnum, redbud, sycamore, magnolia, beauty berry, oaks, red maple, wild azalea, sweet gum, coontie, winged elm, black cherry, persimmon, wild plum, sugarberry, Florida soapberry, fringe tree, ferns, wild olive, blue beech, hop hornbeam and sparkleberry.

Q. What type of roof construction is fire-resistant? A. Class-A asphalt shingles, metal, cement and concrete products help resist fires. Added protection is a fire-resistant sub-roof.

Q. What type of exterior construction is fire-resistant? A. Fire-resistant wall materials are cement, plaster, stucco and concrete masonry. Windows that are double paned glass can also help a home be more resistant to heat and flames.

Q. What should I do when there is Wildfire danger? A. If you are warned that a wildfire is threatening your home, stay tuned to your radio or television for evacuation information and updates. It is very important to follow the instructions of local officials! If advised to evacuate, do so immediately!

Q. What should I do if I receive a Wildfire warning? A. - Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Disconnect automatic door openers, so you can escape if the power fails. Close all garage doors and windows. - Confine pets to one room so they can be easily located. - Arrange temporary housing at a friend or relatives house outside of the threatened area. - Place valuable papers like insurance policies, birth certificates and other documents in the car for fast get away. Put family photographs and other memorabilia in the car that you may want to take. - Keep your radio and television tuned to a local station for fire reports and evacuation information. - Put your Disaster Supply Kit in the car. - Make sure your escape route takes you away from dangerous areas.

Q. What should I do if I have been advised to evacuate? A. - Make sure infants, children and other family members are present before you drive off. - Load pets into car. - Lock your home. - Leave immediately! - If You are Sure You Have Time, Take Steps to Protect Your Home: Inside Your Home - Close windows, vents, and doors. This will help prevent drafts and will stop sparks from blowing inside. - Remove lightweight curtains to prevent them from being ignited by radiated heat. - Close mini-blinds and heavy drapes to keep out heat and to provide safety in case heat or wind breaks windows. - Turn on a light in each room to increase the visibility of your home in heavy smoke. - Turn off pilot lights. Shut off gas at the meter. - Open the fireplace damper to stabilize inside/outside pressure. Close the fireplace screens to keep sparks from starting a fire in the house. - Move flammable furniture away from windows and sliding doors to reduce the possibility of ignition. Outside Your Home - Turn off propane tanks. - Place combustible patio furniture inside of the house, garage or barn. - Seal attic and ground vents with precut plywood or storm shutters to keep out sparks. - Make sure the garden hoses are connected to the outside taps. - If you have a portable gasoline powered pump to take water from a swimming pool or pond, make sure it’s in place and ready to run. - Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above ground fuel tanks. Wet the roof of your home. - Wet shrubs within 15 feet of your home.

Source; Osceola Coounty Emergency Service.