Evacuation and Transportation
Gaston County
Emergency Operations Plan

Coordinating Agencies: Emergency Medical Services - Access
  Gaston County Police
Cooperating Agencies: Schools
  Fire Departments
  Rescue Squads
  Others as required or requested

This annex provides for an orderly, coordinated evacuation of the county population during an emergency threat while outlining the organization and direction of transportation resources.
  A. Situation
    1. Several emergency situations may require evacuation of part of Gaston County. Small‑scale, localized evacuations may be needed as a result of a hazardous materials incident, major fire, or other incident. Large‑scale evacuations may be needed in the event of a county-wide disaster.
    2. A hazard analysis has been completed which identifies the types of threats and the areas and population in the county that are most vulnerable to these threats.
    3. A demographic analysis has been completed. Facilities and populations within the county that pose special evacuation problems have been identified.
    4. An evacuation may require substantial physical resources for transportation, communication, and traffic control. Available public and private resources have been identified.
    5. Large-scale disasters may necessitate the rapid evacuation of hospitals, nursing homes and non‑ambulatory populations.
  B. Assumptions
    1. Sufficient warning time will be available to evacuate the threatened population.
    2. The principal mode of transportation will be private vehicles.
    3. Particular areas of the county, or special populations within the county, will need additional time to accomplish an evacuation.
    4. The public will both receive and understand official information related to evacuation. The public will act in its' own interest and will evacuate dangerous areas promptly when advised to do so.
    5. If there is sufficient advanced warning, some residents will evacuate prior to being advised to do so by public officials.
    6. Most evacuees will seek shelter with relatives or friends rather than accept public shelter.
    7. Some residents may refuse to evacuate regardless of warnings.
    8. Some people will lack transportation. Others who are ill or disabled may require vehicles with special transportation capabilities.
    9. Within the National Response Framework, transportation is an Emergency Support Function (ESF-1) and incorporates ground, air and water transportation resources as well as transportation infrastructure recovery.
  A. General
    1. The ultimate responsibility for ordering an evacuation rests with local government public officials. If a municipality is to be evacuated, the mayor will issue the order. If the evacuation involves more than one jurisdiction, or an area outside of a municipality, the Chairman of the County Commissioners, or his designated elected representative, will issue the order on a county level.
    2. By monitoring the progress of the evacuation, any impediments to the evacuation can be recognized and contingency options can be implemented.
  B. Specific
    1. Movement Control and Guidance
  • The size of the threatened area to be evacuated will be determined by conditions at the time of the emergency.

  • Traffic movement during evacuation will be controlled by use of designated routes and traffic control points. The evacuation area will identify at least two routes of egress. One lane of each route will be kept open to permit ingress of emergency vehicles.

  • Traffic movement is directed to designated reception areas and shelters within the county and in adjacent counties if needed.

  • Vehicles experiencing mechanical problems during the evacuation will be moved off the roads. Stranded evacuees will be picked up by other evacuating vehicles, or by emergency response personnel.

    2. Staging Areas and Pick-up Points and Routes
  • The County will determine designated staging areas as mobilization points to organize the emergency response personnel and equipment entering from areas outside the county.
  • Pick-up points and/or routes will be established as needed. Evacuees without vehicles will be instructed to go to the nearest pick-up point. Pick-up routes will be designated for the rural areas. If possible, emergency vehicles will travel these routes at least twice during the evacuation to assure all evacuees without vehicles are assisted.
    3. Evacuation of Special Populations (Institutions, Facilities and Special Care Individuals)
  • Institutions within the county are responsible for developing procedures for evacuation of their facilities.

  • Buses may evacuate ambulatory patients and staff of medical facilities within the county. Ambulances and vans will be provided to assist in evacuation of non-ambulatory individuals. Procedures for rapid evacuation and/or in-place sheltering should be included in facility plans for those that are in a potential vulnerability zone from hazardous materials releases.

  • Schools will develop evacuation procedures. Buses will be utilized for students without their own vehicles. Schools within the danger zone for hazardous materials incidents will develop procedures for in-place sheltering and "walk‑away" evacuations. Parents will be advised of the location of reception centers.

  • The public will be given a telephone number(s) for handicapped or disabled persons without transportation. The Transportation Coordinator working with EMS Coordinator will arrange pick-up of these individuals by the County Rescue Squads, Emergency Medical Services and/or Fire Departments. The County Department of Social Services and the Health Department will advise the Emergency Medical Director of individuals known to need transportation assistance.

  • Each prison and detention center within the county will develop procedures for the relocation of prisoners to jails outside of the threatened area.

  • The Gaston County Police Department or municipal police department, as appropriate, will coordinate evacuation from parks and recreation areas. The Gaston County Police Department in coordination with Department of Environment, Health, & Natural Resources will coordinate evacuation of State parks and recreation areas in the county. County and State parks representatives should advise the Emergency Management Administrator and Police Departments of any scheduled special events that may draw crowds to the parks or recreation areas.

  • Large employers within the county have procedures for evacuation of their employees. These procedures include, if needed, the temporary shutdown of their facilities.
    4. Emergency Public Information Brochures
  • Warnings to the public and information concerning evacuation will be broadcast over the Emergency Alerting System network and/or by emergency vehicles equipped with sirens, warning lights, and loudspeakers moving through the threatened areas. For localized evacuations, warning and evacuation instructions may also be given door-to-door.
  A. Direction and control of evacuation is the responsibility of the Chairman, County Board of Commissioners or the mayor of a municipality. In the Chairman's/Mayor's absence, the commissioner/councilman next in line of succession will serve as replacement representative.
  B. During large-scale evacuations involving the relocation of the population from an entire municipality, county, or several counties, the Governor may declare a State of Disaster. At that point the Governor assumes direction and control of the situation and evacuation operations will be coordinated by the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) upon activation of the State EOC.
  C. When an emergency situation requires timely evacuation or before the Emergency Operations Center can be activated, the "on‑scene" commander can call for evacuation in accordance with the County's State of Emergency Ordinance.
  A. Evacuation

The line of succession is:

  1. Chief County Police
  2. Assistant Chief County Police
  3. Major
  B. Transportation

The line of succession is:

  1. Gaston County Central Transportation (Access) Director
  2. Emergency Medical Services Director
  3. Superintendent of Schools
  C. Continuity of government will be maintained by relocating government operations if needed. Lines of succession to all key positions will be established and all essential records will be protected.
  D. When evacuees are relocated outside the county, a representative will be appointed to act as liaison between the county and the reception area government. The evacuees will be subject to the laws of the reception area for the duration of their stay.
  E. Lines of succession to each agency that supports the evacuation/transportation operation are in accordance with the agency's established policy.

Attachment 1
Evacuation and Transportation Preparedness/Response Checklist

  Gaston County Police Chief, or designee, or Incident Commander:
  When notified, report to the Emergency Operations Center or command post.
  Receive a situational briefing.
  Determine if an evacuation is warranted and, if so, to what extent (localized or county-wide, voluntary or ordered).
  Determine if a declaration of a state of emergency is necessary and, if so, to what extent (localized or county-wide, voluntary or ordered).
  Examine the ramifications of ordering evacuation:
Security of evacuated area.
Weather conditions (i.e., Is it safe to drive?).
Potential traffic congestion and traffic control issues.
Available sheltering/mass care and shelter/mass care resources (i.e., shelter managers, staff, bedding, food supplies).
General public guidelines (rules) for evacuation.
Informing the public.
Transportation availability.
Other concerns brought out during the briefing.
Special needs/special medical needs/special transportation needs (i.e., elderly, non-ambulatory, etc.).
  If an evacuation is ordered determine which agencies will carry out the evacuation.
  Prepare necessary documentation.
  Transportation Coordinator (Access Director or designee):
  When notified, report to the Emergency Operations Center or command post.
  Receive a situational briefing.
  Determine what transportation resources are available (i.e., vehicles, personnel, fuel supplies, railroad, aircraft, etc.).
  Determine transportation needs of the public (i.e., special medical needs/special transportation needs).
  Assess weather and related road conditions to determine the ability to safely move people and/or supplies.
  Determine the availability of fuel and emergency vehicle repair.
  Ensure drivers are appropriately licensed and adequately trained.
  Determine additional insurance needs.
  Determine potential legal ramifications. Be familiar with emergency ordinance, declaration of emergency and NCGS 115C-242 (use of school buses) and other transportation concerns.
  Determine or designate pick-up points.
  Communicate pick-up point locations, times or schedules to the Public Information Officer and the Emergency Management Administrator.
  Dispatch or cause to be dispatched, appropriate transportation to pre-determined or designated pick-up points.
  Brief drivers.
Security and Safety.
Mission assignments and maps.
Weather conditions (i.e., Is it safe to drive?).
Potential traffic congestion and traffic control issues.
Available sheltering/mass care and shelter/mass care locations.
General public guidelines (rules) for evacuation.
Location of fuel and maintenance.
Location of emergency worker food.
Other concerns brought out during the briefing.
Special needs/special medical needs/special transportation needs (i.e., elderly, non-ambulatory, etc.).
  Communicate with and maintain communications with drivers.
  Make sure drivers maintain a mileage and time log and return their logs at the end of their shift or assignment.
  Communicate and maintain communications with fuel suppliers and maintenance personnel.
  Develop an ongoing staffing and vehicle availability plan and be prepared to brief the EOC and/or Incident Commander when called on to do so.
  Carry out other functions necessary to provide transportation in emergency situations.