The citizens of the City of Laurel face many potential hazards which can cause serious injury, loss of life, enormous property damage and widespread economic suffering. Many of these hazards occur naturally, but man-made hazards are increasing rapidly in frequency and severity and there is also the possibility of terrorist acts. The incident or event, be it natural or man-made, which causes damage to property, hardship, suffering, personal injury or loss of life is referred to as a disaster. An emergency is the condition caused by a disaster or situation, which is of sufficient severity and magnitude that extraordinary governmental attention is required to save lives and to protect property, public health, and safety.
When an emergency is declared or when the City is threatened by a disaster or situation, it is essential that all City departments and non-City agencies coordinate their efforts to: avoid, eliminate, or reduce hazards; to alleviate suffering; and to protect life and property. The City of Laurel Emergency Operations Management Plan establishes the responsibilities, procedures, and organization to be followed by City departments and non-City agencies when responding to declared or potential emergencies. Although the City of Laurel Emergency Operations Management Plan does not specifically address every conceivable hazard that could occur, it should be flexible enough to meet these unforeseen emergencies. The specific hazards which are addressed have a combined probability and destructive potential higher than other disasters which could occur.