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P.O. Box 40002 ∑ Olympia, Washington 98504-0002 ∑ (360) 902-4111 ∑



Statewide Elected Officials
State Agency Directors
Presidents of Higher Education Institutions
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FROM: Gary Locke, Governor
DATE: April 2, 2003
SUBJECT: Planning for Homeland Security Alerts

The war in Iraq and the issuance of "Orange Alert" warnings brings home the fact that state agencies and institutions should have implementation plans in place to guide their response to warnings from the US Department of Homeland Security (USDHS). These plans should reflect the unique characteristics of each agency and institution, as well as the resources that are available to them, and should be incorporated into the existing agency emergency management plans. The goal, as in all planning, is for agencies to be able to think and act clearly and effectively. We must be prepared to respond to Homeland Security alerts and to continue to provide essential services.

I direct teach state agency to develop and be prepared to implement amended emergency management plans to respond to USDHS alerts. Agency directors must determine the level of urgency for completion of these amendments. There will be periodic checks on progress at future cabinet meetings. The Military Department has developed guidelines for the preparation of such plans, which will be distributed to each agency, institution, board and commission. The Military Department is also prepared to provide advice and information resources and requested.

The first step in planning is risk assessment. Not all agencies or institutions need to respond to the USDHS alerts to the same degree or in the same manner. Agencies are encouraged to utilize the sample risk assessment questionnaire in the guidelines to perform a quick assessment to help them make choices in the planning process. The guidelines also offer a list of possible actions at each alert level. Based on the risk assessment and the agency's unique characteristics and resources, each agency should develop its own checklist of actions to be implemented at each alert level. The plans are to be shared with the Military Department to give them an opportunity to provide feedback.

I encourage other state elected officials, institutions of higher education, and boards and commissions to also amend their emergency management plans utilizing the guidelines as indicated above, to also be prepared to respond most effectively to future alerts.