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The Department of Emergency Management (DEM) exists to help the islands prepare for, respond to, and recover from disaster and large scale emergencies of all kinds.


  • Maintain a workable emergency management plan.
  • Encourage and facilitate interagency cooperation and coordination.
  • Maintain and staff an effective emergency operations center.
  • Disseminate warning information to first responders, the public, governmental agencies, and local businesses.
  • Actively promote school, government, and citizen disaster preparedness and self-sufficiency through public education programs.
  • If needed, respond to emergency and/or disaster incidents to assist first response agencies with incident coordination, provide auxiliary communications, obtain outside resources, and transition from response to recovery activities.

The San Juan County Department of Emergency Management operates under the direction of the San Juan County Emergency Management Council, comprised of the Administrators of both the Town of Friday Harbor and San Juan County.

During emergency or disaster events, the San Juan County Department of Emergency Management is responsible for activating and staffing the County Emergency Operations Center to assist in coordinating response activities, allocating resources, and facilitate recovery efforts.


The Department's top priorities for ensuring all of the above are:

  • Public Education and Awareness: establish strategies to help prepare the public for emergencies and build a culture of self-sufficiency.
  • Coordination and Communication: develop relationships between the local government and private and non-profit organizations.
  • Preparedness: develop an inclusive planning process and target the community via training and exercise programs.
  • Emergency Public Information: develop strategies and capabilities to warn the public about a disaster and coordinate the community recovery following one.
  • Resources and Personnel: maintain awareness of what skills and resources individuals and organizations can contribute, and work to encourage local organizations to broaden and strengthen their capabilities to assist.
  • Authority and Management: understand and assist in developing the capabilities of local management to provide command, control, and coordination of disaster response activities.
  • Voluntary Organizations: develop a community focused and coordinated approach amongst loval nongovernmental organizations to ensure an effective disaster response.

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