About Washington State Homeland Security Region 5

Pierce County has unique challenges and inherent vulnerabilities with a land area of more than 1,794 square miles, extending from sea level to 14,411 feet at the summit of Mount Rainier, a volcano at the state’s highest point.  No other county in the United States stretches from sea level to more than two and half miles elevation. There are 118 square miles of water in the County excluding Puget Sound.  Puget Sound divides the County, with the portion west of the Sound located on the Kitsap Peninsula and connected to the rest of Pierce County by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  

Commencement Bay to Rainier

In addition, a number of islands in the southern Sound are incorporated in the County.  With a population over 880,000 residents, Pierce County is the second most populous county in Washington State.  National forests, 225 miles of saltwater shoreline, and the abundance of lakes and other recreational opportunities contribute to an excellent quality of life in Pierce County.

The County is well situated for industrial, commercial and residential growth.  It is served by three major transcontinental railroads, excellent federal and state highways, one of the finest deep-water ports in the world, and Point Defiance Park; one of the nation’s largest urban parks. Pierce County is also home to strategic military installations and major national and international business organizations. 

Regional priorities are to ensure our safety and security by focusing on core capabilities. The following core capabilities have been assessed and prioritized through a capabilities assessment process:

Core Capabilities

Planning Public Information and Warning
Operational Coordination Intelligence and Information Sharing
CyberSecurity Fatality Management
Critical Transportation Mass Care
Operational Communications Economic Recovery
Situational Assessment Environmental Health and Safety
Threat and Hazard Identification Public Health and Medical Service

Region 5 and its local partners receive federal funding for initiatives that promote the national strategy for homeland security and the achievement of the national preparedness goal established by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8.  These funds not only enable Region 5 to train, exercise, and equip emergency responders, but also assist Region 5 to perform vulnerability and capability assessments, gap analyses, and develop strategic initiatives.  With a clear defined overarching strategic plan, we will address the full spectrum of our regional homeland security needs.  This strategic plan, in alignment with the State and Homeland Security strategic plans and cascaded down to local all-hazards plans, forms an important foundation for the thoughtful and deliberate allocation of resources to support domestic security and disaster requirements.  

Regional Priorities

Partnership and Leadership: Promote a collaborative environment for sharing information, resources, assistance, and expertise as we jointly strive to enhance our security environment. 

Communication: Establish interoperable systems that provide critical information in a timely fashion to those who need it and in a form that is easy to use and understand.

Infrastructure: Integrate government and private critical infrastructure protection and vulnerability reduction efforts to improve the resiliency of the individual pieces and interconnecting systems that make up our critical infrastructure (e.g., economy, agriculture, food, water, public health, emergency services, government, defense manufacturing capability, information and telecommunications, energy, transportation, banking and finance, chemical industry, and postal and shipping).

Prevention: Conduct a wide spectrum of prevention efforts including intelligence and warning capabilities to ensure joint situational awareness, domestic counterintelligence, and hardening of critical infrastructure.

Mitigation: Reduce the vulnerability of Pierce County to natural and man-made disasters

Emergency Preparedness/Response - Education & Training: “Trained, Equipped and Exercised = A Ready Pierce County.”  Provide effective and comprehensive education for all emergency responders, emergency managers, citizens, volunteers, tribal nations, government, and private sector entities.

Emergency Response & Recovery - Minimize Damage & Recover from Events: The region-wide objective is to minimize damage and recover rapidly from any events that may occur.  Efforts will continue to encompass an all-hazards approach that is integrated into region-wide emergency management.

Resource Capacity: Homeland security resources are limited.  There is a shared responsibility to fund and ensure wise stewardship of scarce resources that synchronizes with our goals and objectives and builds long-term sustainability