Office of Emergency Services

Today's Office of Emergency Services is geared to not only support the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the Police Department, but also to respond and provide resources to incident commanders in the field, including enhanced Incident Command Post (ICP) functionality with radio and data interoperability capabilities (in coordination with the Police Department's Technical Services Division).  

In Palo Alto, our planning environment is "all hazards, all risk" -- ranging from natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, climate change, etc.) to technological failures/accidents to crime and terrorism.  OES is also involved in planned events (such as Stanford football games, dignitary visits, etc.) to bolster public safety and ensure our skills and equipment are kept up to date.

The mission of the Office of Emergency Services is to prevent, prepare for and mitigate, respond to, and recover from all hazards.

  Develop, maintain, and sustain a citywide, comprehensive, all hazard, risk-based emergency management program that engages the whole community.

Objective 1: Operational Readiness:  OES works with all City departments to promote resilience to threats and risks of all types.  This is a measure of the ability of the City to handle a major critical incident or disaster.  People, infrastructure (facilities), supplies, and training are all elements of this.  OES manages the City's Emergency Operations Center (EOC), located in the Police Department, along with other assets.

Objective 2: Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA):  OES leads the process to understand what risks the City faces.  Often known as a Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA) processes, this ongoing activity involves updates of Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR) (facility inventories, registries) and awareness of the sorts of risks such as those listed in the Palo Alto annex to the regional Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) and the National Planning Scenarios.

Objective 3: Policy & Plans:  OES leads or coordinates the development and maintenance of policies and plans related to disasters, critical incidents, and City safety.  The City's Emergency Operations Plan, Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), and various department plans are all part of this activity.

Objective 4: Situational Awareness:  OES maintains awareness of threats to our area by coordinating with law enforcement and other agencies with intelligence information regarding special events, dignitary visits, and other evolving situations, both planned and unplanned.

Objective 5: Emergency Public Information:  OES coordinates with the Police Technical Services Division and the Public Information Officers (PIOs) to develop protocols for communication with the public and with partners.

Objective 6: Whole Community Engagement:  OES develops structures to link non-governmental organizations (NGOs), residents, and businesses to the Incident Command System (ICS).  Elements of this include the restructured Emergency Services Volunteers (ESV) program (a unified structure that includes ARES/RACES Amateur (ham) Radio, Block Preparedness Coordinators (BPCs), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers).

Objective 7: Training and Exercises:  In compliance with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), OES works with community and partner stakeholders, such as Stanford University, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, and others to develop training and exercises.

Objective 8: Grant Management:  OES seeks funding and manages awarded grants pertaining to emergency management and homeland security.

Objective 9: Technology:  OES coordinates with the Police Technical Services Division and the City's Information Technology Department to deploy new technologies for emergency management.

Objective 10: Regionalization:  OES participates in the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), in addition to the Santa Clara County OES Operational Area and our mutual aid relationships with San Mateo County Sheriff OES and other agencies.

OES Executive Summary (PDF)

OES Assets:
  Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC):
This bus-sized mobile command vehicle is capable of serving as a back-up EOC, an Incident Command Post (ICP), and (with some lead time) a back-up Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) 911 Center.

Director's Command Vehicle (DCV):
The Director's Command Vehicle is a Ford F-250 (4WD), configured similarly to the CHP and CalFIRE trucks.  It is equipped with gear to support an ICP, along with extensive interoperability and data communications capabilities.


MEOC Support Vehicle (MSV):
The MSV is a Ford F-550 (4WD) Prime Mover, configured with a stake bed, lift gate, diesel fuel tender, and other features to support the MEOC, an ICP or other field deployments.

Emergency Services Volunteer Pages:

Neighborhood and Block Preparedness Coordinator Program

Palo Alto CERT Program

Youth Explorer Program


Palo Alto Medical Reserve Corps

Contact Us:
Phone: 650-617-3197


Last Updated: Sep 20, 2016
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