Knowing your role during winter weather and emergencies

As we approach winter, this is a great time to ensure you are well-prepared for an emergency or inclement weather at home or work. There are many online resources that you can use to make sure you and your family have what you need to Make it Through an emergency – from an extended power outage to a more severe event. We strongly encourage you to take personal preparedness seriously.

As a county government, we are also reviewing our internal emergency preparedness procedures and Continuity of Operations Plans. In case of a significant disaster or emergency, county leaders must prioritize which functions and services will be provided and which can be delayed or suspended. This prioritization informs King County’s employee emergency designations.

We want to make sure you understand the expectations of your role during an emergency. We have updated our employee emergency designations this year to clarify employees’ roles and responsibilities during an emergency. Executive branch department and division leadership will communicate which designation applies to your role by October 31.

I have asked department leadership to review and clarify employee designations using the three following classifications: 

  • First Responders: Employees who, in the early stages of an incident, are responsible for protecting and preserving life, property, evidence, the environment, and restoring order.
  • Mission-critical Employees: Those employees who provide, maintain, and re-establish essential county functions as described in agency Continuity of Operations plans.
  • Non-mission Critical in an Emergency Employees: Employees who staff county functions or services that may be delayed, suspended, or diverted in an emergency while essential functions are prioritized.

We value every employee’s contribution and appreciate your commitment to public service. In an emergency, any employee may be called upon to perform an essential function if they have the necessary skills. King County’s response and staffing needs during inclement weather and emergencies will be responsive to the situation and vary based on function. Please contact your supervisor if you have questions about emergency reporting procedures.


Casey Sixkiller

Chief Operating Officer