El Paso County, CO, January 22, 2019 – The City and County will operate one joint Office of Emergency Management after City Council and the Board of County Commissioners each approved an intergovernmental agreement today. The new office will be called the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management.
The office of emergency management coordinates and assists first responders in an emergency as well as preparing the government and the community for a disaster. The city and county currently operate separate offices. The establishment of the PPR-OEM will allow the county and the city to optimize staff resources, establish a single point of contact during major incidences, and enhance communication both during and after an event. This is important because the impact from a disaster knows no government boundaries.
City Council passed a resolution to formally accept the three-year inter-governmental agreement IGA, which reads in part, “the intent of this Agreement is to form a cooperative agency staffed by City and County personnel to serve the citizens of Colorado Springs and El Paso County by building a more resilient community through collaboration and competence in emergency management services, and by providing mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and coordination for large-scale emergencies and disasters, saving lives and preventing property damage.”
“Natural disasters in our region, particularly fires and floods, do not observe municipal boundaries. We can most efficiently prepare for an emergency and respond to one by coordinating our efforts on a regional basis. Consolidating the county and city offices of emergency management will allow for greater efficiency in planning and training for emergencies and in responding to them. This effort will result in greater public safety for years to come,” said Mayor John Suthers.
“The county’s partnership with the city is yielding great results,” Commissioner Stan VanderWerf noted. “Regionalizing the office of emergency management will cut down on government duplication and will result in a more efficient response in the event of another disaster. Bold innovations like this is what make El Paso County an attractive place to raise a family, work, or start a business.”
The PPR-OEM will operate under a regional director. That individual will be selected by the city’s chief of staff and the county administrator. The city and county will contribute equally to the budget for the PPR-OEM.