Department Emergency Coordinator Building Emergency Coordinator program
The Los Angeles County Department Emergency Coordinator (DEC) program was started following the recommendations from the 1987-1988 Los Angeles County Grand Jury Report, which followed the 1987 “Whittier Narrows” earthquake in the San Gabriel Valley.
The program is comprised of the following which focuses on the County’s response and recovery efforts for major emergencies and disasters. To ensure an optimum state of readiness prior to and during an emergency, it is critical that County departments remain proactive with established procedures and protocols, employee training, and minimum preparedness standards.
- Each department must have a DEC and an alternate DEC identified. The DEC shall serve as a 24/7 point of contact for the department.
- Maintain a Department Operations Center (DOC) that is properly equipped for activation, and capable of communication with other Department DOCs and the County Emergency Operations Center (CEOC).
- Ensure that three (3) or more personnel, including the DEC and Alternate DEC, are registered and proficient using the Operational Area Response and Recovery System (OARRS) software.
- Update the Department’s Emergency Plan annually, and submit a current copy to the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management (OEM).
- Actively participate in the DEC training and exercise program.
The Health Services DEC is Cathy Chidester, Director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency, and the Alternate DEC is John Opalski.
Within the Health Services DEC program is the Building Emergency Coordinator (BEC) program. A BEC and Building Emergency Plan (BEP) is required at all County owned or leased buildings if the worksite has ten (10) or more employees. The BEP is updated annually.
Health Services BECs coordinate and communicate the BEP, inspections and safety for hazard awareness and emergency procedures for employees and visiting members of the public. The BEP provides written documentation for the safety of building occupants, and include the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).
The BEC promptly notifies the Health Services DEC when a building is physically damaged, evacuated, or closed. OEM is notified via the Health Services DEC. The BEC serves as the primary point of contact for building related emergencies.