Yakima turns emergency operations over to the county

Yakima turns over emergency operations to the county

YAKIMA, Wash. - Almost three years after becoming its own independent emergency management division, the city of Yakima has decided to rejoin the county's team.

As of January 1, Yakima is operating under the county's emergency operations center, meaning they will use the one in union gap and not the new one built here in Yakima just four months ago.

Yakima City Manager Cliff Moore said after reviewing how the city deals with emergencies such as flooding or ice storms, he thought it would be best to work with the county.

"It made sense for the city to rejoin the regional collective," Moore said. "Just to improve our overall coordination and the ability that we have to interact with our fellow jurisdictions around the region."

However, the city said it's old center at the police station will not go to waste.

Police said with all the technology in the space, they plan to use the space for training staff. Yakima Police Captain Gary Jones said they will also be able to use the facility as a command center for Yakima events such as parades or demonstrations.

"So many of those events overlap all of those divisions," Jones said. "It's just much easier to bring everybody into one room and conduct those operations in support."

Moore said the most important factor was to be able to work more closely with other cities in emergency situations such as what is happening with Rattlesnake Ridge.

"If the slide happens in the way it's predicted, it won't necessary impact the city of Yakima directly," he said. "We would have a role as part of this collective response and maybe if there's evacuations that are needed for example."

He said finances were not the issue in this decision although working with the county does save the city a little bit of money.

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