Disaster Planning and Operations

The EMS Office has an important role in state government disaster planning and operations. The Office’s responsibilities are delineated in the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP), which is developed by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA).

The TEMP is written on the Federal Response Plan format of specific Emergency Support Functions, or ESFs, that categorize disaster services. EMS responsibilities are identified in ESF #8, Health & Medical Services. This ESF outlines Public Health, EMS and Mental Health disaster services. Go to TEMA’s web site, www.tnema.org for more information on these topics.

EMS Office responsibilities include:

  1. Developing casualty reports. When deaths or injuries occur in a disaster, TEMA tasks EMS with the responsibility of verifying deaths and injuries, determining where patients were transported and by what means. Official state casualty reports are produced by EMS Office staff.
  2. Health care facility damage assessment and assistance. EMS staff provide initial damage assessment and help to any health care facility damaged or disabled in a disaster. This includes reporting to TEMA and the Office of Health Care Facilities.
  3. Assistance to county EMS agencies. When a mass casualty incident occurs, regional EMS staff can assist local ambulance services manage the consequences. This includes contacting other services for help, identifying staging areas for responding ambulances and distributing patients to hospitals within the region. The emergency evacuation of health care facilities is part of this responsibility.
  4. Participation in disaster meetings, planning development workshops, training sessions and exercises. The Office regularly participates in TEMA coordinated planning sessions and exercises, which include TVA nuclear plants, the Oak Ridge/Dept. of Energy facilities and earthquake exercises.

To ensure that these emergency management responsibilities can be carried out rapidly, the EMS Office management and all regional staff are on call 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.