Safeguarding the life and property of its citizens is an innate responsibility of the governing body of each political subdivision of the state.

  1. Counties.

    1. In order to provide effective and orderly governmental control and coordination of emergency operations in emergencies within the scope of this chapter, each county within this state shall be within the jurisdiction of and served by TEMA. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, each local emergency management agency shall have jurisdiction over and serve an entire county. Unless part of an interjurisdictional emergency management agreement entered into pursuant to subdivision (3)(b) which is recognized by the governor by executive order or rule, each county must establish and maintain such an emergency management agency and shall develop a county emergency management plan and program that is coordinated and consistent with the TEMP and program.
    2. Terms Used In Tennessee Code 58-2-110

      • Agency: means the Tennessee emergency management agency (TEMA). See Tennessee Code 58-2-101
      • Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
      • CLEO: means the chief local elected official. See Tennessee Code 58-2-101
      • Disaster: means any natural, technological, or civil emergency that causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to result in a declaration of a state emergency by a county, the governor, or the president of the United States. See Tennessee Code 58-2-101
      • Emergency: means an occurrence, or threat thereof, whether natural, technological, or manmade, in war or in peace, that results or may result in substantial injury or harm to the population, or substantial damage to or loss of property. See Tennessee Code 58-2-101
      • Emergency management: means the preparation for, the mitigation of, the response to, and the recovery from emergencies and disasters. See Tennessee Code 58-2-101
      • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
      • Political subdivision: means any municipality or county, including any county having metropolitan form of government, created pursuant to law. See Tennessee Code 58-2-101
      • Property: includes both personal and real property. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
      • State: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
      • TEMP: means Tennessee emergency management plan. See Tennessee Code 58-2-101

    3. Each county emergency management agency created and established pursuant to this chapter shall have a director who shall be appointed by the CLEO and, if required, approved by the governing body of the county. The director must meet the minimum training and education qualifications established in a job description developed by the CLEO and that meets the requirements of § 58-2-127. The job description for a directorship must be approved by the governing body of the county. The director’s annual salary shall be fixed by the governing body of the county. Each CLEO shall promptly inform TEMA of the appointment of the director and other personnel. Each director has direct responsibility for the organization, administration, and operation of the county emergency management agency, subject only to the direction and control of the CLEO and shall serve as liaison to TEMA and other local emergency management agencies and organizations.
    4. Each county emergency management agency shall perform emergency management functions within the territorial limits of the county within which it is organized and, in addition, shall conduct such activities outside its territorial limits of the county within which it is organized as are required pursuant to this chapter and in accordance with state and county emergency management plans and mutual aid agreements. A county shall serve as liaison for and coordinate the requests of municipalities located within such county for state and federal assistance during postdisaster emergency operations.
  2. Municipalities.  Legally constituted municipalities are authorized and encouraged to create municipal emergency management programs. Municipal emergency management programs shall coordinate their activities with those of the county emergency management agency. Municipalities without emergency management programs shall be served by their respective county agencies. If a municipality elects to establish an emergency management program, it must comply with all laws, rules, and regulations applicable to county emergency management agencies. Each municipal emergency management plan must be consistent with and subject to the applicable county emergency management plan. In addition, each municipality must coordinate requests for state or federal emergency response assistance with its county. This requirement does not apply to requests for reimbursement under federal public disaster assistance programs.
  3. Emergency management powers; political subdivisions.

    1. In carrying out this chapter, each political subdivision has the power and authority to:
      1. Appropriate and expend funds; make contracts; obtain and distribute equipment, materials, and supplies for emergency management purposes; provide for the health and safety of persons and property, including emergency assistance to the victims of any emergency; and direct and coordinate the development of emergency management plans and programs in accordance with the policies and plans set by the federal and state emergency management agencies;
      2. Appoint, employ, remove, or provide, with or without compensation, coordinators, rescue teams, fire and police personnel, and other emergency management workers;
      3. Establish, as necessary, a primary and one (1) or more secondary emergency operating centers to provide continuity of government and direction and control of emergency operations;
      4. Assign and make available for duty the offices and agencies of the political subdivision, including the employees, property, or equipment thereof relating to firefighting, engineering, rescue, health, medical and related services, police, transportation, construction, and similar items or services for emergency operation purposes, as the primary emergency management forces of the political subdivision for employment within or outside the political limits of the subdivision;
      5. Request state assistance or invoke emergency-related mutual-aid assistance by declaring a state of local emergency in the event of an emergency affecting only one (1) political subdivision. The duration of each state of emergency declared locally is limited to seven (7) days; it may be extended, as necessary, in seven-day increments. Further, the political subdivision has the power and authority to waive the procedures and formalities otherwise required of the political subdivision by law pertaining to:

  1. Performance of public work and taking whatever prudent action is necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community;
  2. Entering into contracts;
  3. Incurring obligations;
  4. Employment of permanent and temporary workers;
  5. Utilization of volunteer workers;
  6. Rental of equipment;
  7. Acquisition and distribution, with or without compensation, of supplies, materials, and facilities; and
  8. Appropriation and expenditure of public funds; and
  9. Small or sparse population;

Declare a local state of emergency in order that certain commercial vehicles engaged in the distribution of electric power, the supply of fuel, or telecommunications services to residences and businesses may be considered to be participating in an emergency relief effort for the purpose of the federal hours-of-service regulations promulgated by the federal motor carrier safety administration. The CLEO may declare a local state of emergency prospectively in anticipation of an emergency.

Upon the request of two (2) or more adjoining counties, or if the governor finds that two (2) or more adjoining counties would be better served by an interjurisdictional arrangement than by maintaining separate emergency management agencies and service, the governor may delineate by executive order or rule an interjurisdictional area adequate to plan for, prevent, mitigate, or respond to emergencies in such area and may direct steps to be taken as necessary, including the creation of an interjurisdictional relationship, a joint emergency plan, a provision for mutual aid, or an area organization for emergency planning and services. A finding of the governor pursuant to this subdivision (3)(B) shall be based on one (1) or more factors related to the difficulty of maintaining an efficient and effective emergency prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery system on a nonjurisdictional basis, such as:

Limitations on public financial resources severe enough to make maintenance of a separate emergency management agency and services unreasonably burdensome;

Unusual vulnerability to emergencies as evidenced by a past history of emergencies, topographical features, drainage characteristics, emergency potential, and presence of emergency-prone facilities or operations;

The interrelated character of the counties in a multicounty area; and

Other relevant conditions or circumstances.

Local emergency planning committees.

Each local emergency planning committee (LEPC) is authorized to assess and collect an annual fee of one hundred dollars ($100) from member facilities and industries within its emergency planning district required to submit tier II reports in accordance with federal law, 42 U.S.C. § 11001 et seq. Such fee shall be assessed and collected in the manner authorized by each such LEPC.

The revenue derived from such fee shall be used solely by the LEPC for conducting annual event exercises, educating the public, and printing the Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Plan.

This subdivision (4) applies to LEPCs in any county having a population of not less than seventy-one thousand, three hundred (71,300) nor more than seventy-one thousand, four hundred (71,400), according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census, upon the adoption of a resolution by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the county legislative body of such county.