Emergency Management & Fire Services
The Gaston County Office of Emergency Management provides planning, coordination, and resources necessary to enable our emergency responders and citizens to work together to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from incidents that may threaten or occur in Gaston County.
The Office of Emergency Management is also responsible for maintaining and ensuring the readiness of the county's Emergency Operation Center (EOC), which is staffed by representatives from a wide variety of agencies and nongovernmental organizations in Gaston County during large scale emergency responses. The EOC serves as the platform through which strategic direction and operational decisions are made and functions as a resource that collects and analyzes data, makes decisions that protect life and property and disseminates these decisions to all concerned agencies, individuals, and to the public.
The Gaston County Office of Emergency Management is responsible for planning a response, notification, and evacuation of areas of Gaston County that fall within the 10-mile boundaries of the McGuire and Catawba Nuclear Stations, for updating and yearly adoption of the Emergency Operations Plan, and the Nuclear Response Plans, Homeland Security threats and funding, for developing Hazard Mitigation Plans, for providing public education on hazards, for participating in the Charlotte area UASI Homeland Security planning and funding committee, for monitoring hazardous situations and conditions that may affect Gaston County and keeping county management and elected officials and emergency responders informed of these threats, monitoring flood possibilities from lakes, rivers and streams in Gaston County, and with working with the many non-government agencies such as Red Cross, ARES, Duke Energy and United Way that provide services to the citizens of Gaston County.
The Gaston County Office of Emergency Management administers and provides staff to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). This committee, formed by the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act, known as SA.R.A, concerns emergency planning and community right-to-know laws for potentially harmful chemicals that are located in their communities. This 23-member committee is responsible for helping to develop local emergency response plans to handle these materials in the event of an accident at a chemical plant in Gaston County.
The Gaston County Fire Marshal's Office is a division of Gaston County Emergency Management.
Services provided by the Fire Marshal's Office can be categorized into five basic areas:
- Conducting state mandated fire inspections and enforcement of the NC Fire Code to find and reduce fire hazards in various public occupancies
- Conducting fire origin and cause investigations to determine how fires are started and prevent their recurrence while pursuing criminal prosecution of those who intentionally set fires
- Coordinating fire suppression and homeowner insurance premium reduction efforts through a county-wide fire protection network of both volunteer and career fire departments
- Conducting various fire and life safety education programs to educate the public on how to live more safely
- Serving as the departmental back-up for the office of Emergency Management, coordinating mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts for natural and man-made disasters
Alert Gaston is the primary emergency notification system Gaston County will use to alert citizens about a variety of events, ranging from severe weather, fires, floods and other emergencies, to more routine announcements, such as road closures. Citizens who sign up for "ALERT GASTON" can receive notifications through their preferred method of contact, via cell phone, SMS, home phone, email, fax, and pager, to ensure real-time access to potentially lifesaving information.
Anyone who lives, works, or travels through Gaston County is encouraged to register immediately to receive these alerts. This can be done by visiting Alert Gaston, or by downloading the Everbridge Contact app (which only allows you to receive emergency notifications) from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and registering your device, or by requesting a registration form by emailing Alert Gaston.