Alachua County is a great place to live, work and play. However, as with the rest of Florida, we are subject to several hazards that can result in disasters causing damages, disruption and displacement in our community. Threats such as hurricanes, wildfires and chemical spills are incidents we will have to deal with. I like to remind people that we have had the catastrophic hurricane: it was the No Name Storm of 1896. This storm was responsible for destroying Cedar Key and nearly the City of High Springs in northwestern Alachua County. Since then, Alachua County has seen a great deal of growth in population and the built environment. This is the type of scenario that emergency personnel continuously plan, train and exercise for with the hopes that it will not happen again.
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that.
With this in mind, Alachua County continues to strive to improve the emergency management program. Personnel from the Emergency Management Section of County Fire Rescue, the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Recovery and Resilience Team (RRT) met over the course of a year to develop and begin implementing this strategic plan.
Each team took a hard, honest look at our situation and our capabilities. While we have identified strengths, such as a well-established foundation to build on, we also identified areas of improvement that need to be brought up to a higher level of performance.
This strategic plan is not a check-in-the-box document that will sit on a shelf. It was developed by a large group of people investing their time and talent in various settings. To leave this plan collecting dust would not do them justice. This plan has a specific implementation process which will be followed and adjusted as needed.
Emergency Management is a team effort involving not only County departments, but includes Elected Officials, City agencies, our educational entities, volunteer groups and the public. To be successful in building a resilient community, we must continually develop the capabilities to rebound quickly with the input and action of our whole community. Your support and engagement will ensure our community’s success.
Alachua County 2016-2020 EM Program Strategic Plan.