As the Agency responsible for leading the planning and coordination of the District of Columbia's homeland security and emergency management efforts, the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) works closely with our District, federal and regional partners to ensure that the District of Columbia is prepared to prevent, protect against, respond to, mitigate and recover from all threats and hazards. Our work is divided into the following major areas:
Through the District’s Joint All Hazards Operations Center (JAHOC) and Emergency Operations Center, HSEMA provides situational awareness, logistical and resource support and a field command operation to coordinate critical incident response, mitigation and recovery to emergencies, severe weather conditions, disasters and other major events impacting quality of life in the District.
Public Information and Warning
HSEMA plays a key role in disseminating District public safety information, alerts and warnings. On a day to day basis, the JAHOC sends out emergency alerts to the community through AlertDC, the official District of Columbia communications system. AlertDC provides the public with critical information in situations such as traffic conditions, government closures, public safety incidents and severe weather. The Agency also regularly updates the public on important preparedness, safety and alert information through our Facebook page and Twitter feed. For more information on how to stay informed on a day to day basis, please visit ReadyDC. In addition to our public information alerts, HSEMA's Community Outreach staff regularly provide emergency preparedness trainings and information at District schools, community centers, houses of worship and businesses. For more information or to request a Community Outreach event, please visit our Community Outreach page.
During emergencies and special events, HSEMA assists the Executive Office of the Mayor in the coordination of the District’s crisis communications. HSEMA is also the District’s manager for the Emergency Alert System (EAS), the national public warning system. Through EAS, HSEMA can deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information on local broadcast television stations, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service providers and direct broadcast satellite. The District can also send emergency alerts directly to cellphones using the Commercial Mobile Alert System and to land landline telephones using Reverse 911.
Intelligence and Analysis
Through the District fusion center, the Washington Regional Threat Analysis Center, HSEMA works to improve information sharing among public and private sector partners by providing strategic analysis of regional threats and hazards.
National Capital Region Coordination
The District Government is firmly committed to preparedness not just for our City, but for the entire National Capital Region (NCR). With so many first responders working in close proximity to one another, there is a unique need for coordination, communication, training and exercises throughout the Region. HSEMA coordinates the District’s efforts with our regional and federal partners, to ensure that we are continually increasing our preparedness and reducing risk throughout the NCR.
Through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) HSEMA collaborates with our regional partners to determine homeland security and emergency management priorities and develop key regional capabilities. Specifically, the District of Columbia Emergency Response System (DCERS) works with the regional Emergency Response System committees of Northern Virginia (NVERS) and Maryland (MDERS), to optimize funding opportunities and promote regional preparedness in alignment with the goals and priorities of the District. DCERS, MDERS and NVERS engage in extensive coordination activities throughout the year to determine common priorities, identify mutual preparedness gaps and make recommendations for the development of preparedness capabilities throughout the NCR.
The NCR Information Collection and Coordination Center (IC3) and the FEMA NCR Coordination Watch Desk are both located in the HSEMA JAHOC. The IC3 provides regionally-focused situational awareness to the District and regional partners by monitoring emerging or potential incidents that could have regional consequences. Additionally, as part of an effort to further integrate federal and local resources FEMA NCR Coordination Watch Desk provides information to aid the situational awareness of the region and act as a platform for information sharing to HSEMA and other regional and federal partners.
The District works with private companies and businesses to ensure that our residents have access to the vital services and resources communities rely on before, during and after an emergency event. The District’s Business Emergency Management Operations Center, located here at HSEMA, facilitates this public and private sector coordination.
In order to fully coordinate District preparedness and response, emergency response officials must be able to communicate quickly and easily. To facilitate this communication, HSEMA administers the Statewide Interoperability Executive Council (SIEC), the mechanism through which the District administers public safety and emergency communications interoperability enhancement efforts. Under the District Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan, the SIEC provides policy level direction to District and regional partners on the development and maintenance of interoperable emergency communications.
The SIEC oversees the Interoperable Communications Committee (ICC), a board made up of representatives from key SIEC agencies and other interested District, federal and regional agencies. The Statewide Interoperability Coordinator serves as the liaison between the SIEC and ICC, while also coordinating and overseeing interoperability policy and procedures.
Councils and Commissions
HSEMA administers and provides program management for the District of Columbia Local Emergency Planning Council (LEPC) and the Homeland Security Commission (HSC). The LEPC monitors and informs the public about the use of hazardous chemicals in the District. The HSC makes recommendations for improvements in security and preparedness in the District.