Seven out of eight counties tested did not submit a Basic Emergency Operations Plan to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency for 2018, as state law requires, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers just released.
County officials who don’t submit a BEOP endanger their own communities’ safety and well-being, auditors said.
“Without the ability to obtain all counties’ BEOPs, TEMA management and staff cannot review and approve the plans to ensure the counties are prepared in the event of a disaster,” auditors wrote.
“It is important for counties to revise and adapt their plan to address new hazards, and failure to update these plans and to coordinate with TEMA could affect the state’s ability to effectively respond to and recover from disasters.”
The audit did not name the seven counties.
According to the audit, officials in these seven counties did not even request an extension to submit their plans late.
TEMA spokeswoman Maggie Hannan did not name the seven counties either in an emailed statement to The Tennessee Star.
“All 95 counties in Tennessee have Basic Emergency Operations Plans,” Hannon wrote.
“Over the last two years, our planning team has developed tools and practices to streamline and simplify the planning process. All BEOPs in Tennessee are subject to regular planning cycles and some plans may expire during that time while they are being updated, reviewed, and submitted for approval.”
According to Tennessee law, counties must submit their BEOP every five years for review and approval, including a submission extension option.
“Although both statute and TEMA guidance require counties to submit a BEOP to TEMA, we found that counties do not always comply and TEMA has no authority to force the counties to comply with statute or TEMA guidance,” auditors wrote.
In a written response to auditors, TEMA officials said they concur with the findings and they will promote a new BEOP training course to help counties submit their plans.
As The Star reported this week, TEMA officials did not make sure all coordinators completed all required training courses, according to auditors.
Specifically, TEMA officials did not make sure between 26 to 60 Emergency Services Coordinators completed training courses, as required by the agency’s Training Policies and Procedures.
State officials task TEMA with coordinating, preparing, responding to and offering recovery from man-made, natural, and technological hazards.
According to the report, various state employees and volunteers did not complete courses pertaining to Incident Command Training, Intra-State Mutual Aid, Emergency Management Software Training, and Emergency Worker Training, among various other required courses.
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