Today we’ll take a look at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, also known as OES. OES is established in the California Government Code, Title II Division 1 Chapter 7, Article 5 – way down there. It covers sections 8585 to 8589.7 and pursuant to section 8585, OES is established in state government within the governor’s office itself. It’s under the supervision of a director and the Government Code in this area in Article 5, references the former Office of Homeland Security, which is now under OES. And in addition, OES succeeded to the former California Emergency Management Agency. Also pursuant to state law, OES is considered a law enforcement organization, and it can receive criminal intelligence information as well.

OES is specifically responsible for the state’s emergency and disaster response services, for any natural, technological or man-made disasters or emergencies. According to the Government Code, it’s the role of OES to take a proactive approach to addressing the risks, threats, and vulnerabilities facing the state of California, that form the basis of its mission and has been tested through real events.

OES took on its current role and title in 1970, and it actually took over responsibilities from several other state departments. For example, in 2004, OES merged with the Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning and the old OCJP provided grants and funding to local communities. And then in 2009, OES took over the role of the Office of Homeland Security. And in 2013, OES took over the former California Emergency Management Agency, as well as the Office of Public Safety Communications.

Another section of the Government Code requires OES and the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, called Cal Fire, to establish and lead the Wildfire Forecast and Threat Intelligence Integration Center. Also another code section that OES in cooperation with the State Department of Education, the Department of General Services and the Seismic Safety Commission, are required to develop an educational pamphlet for use in kindergarten through grade 14 personnel, to assist them in identifying and mitigating the risks posed by earthquake hazards.

Also, OES has to use all state and local fair properties as condition might require. And another section of the Government Code requires OES to establish the state Computer Emergency Data Exchange Program. Its responsibility is to collect and disseminate essential data for emergency management. And the Government Code also requires OES in consultation with the California Highway Patrol, as well as other state and local agencies, to establish a statewide plan for the delivery of hazardous material mutual aid. And then OES has to develop model guidelines for local government agencies and community-based organizations for their planning in order to develop disaster registry programs.

You can read the transcript of the audio in today’s post here.