aid, security in evacuated areas, alert procedures in government, formation and communication of public warnings (including sample wording of messages), and the review and revision of plans.
According to the early 1986 Colombian emergency warning and evacuation plan, the Observatorio Volcanológico de Colombia in Manizales was charged with monitoring the volcano for an eruption or signs of an impending eruption. When an eruption was detected or when the risk of an eruption was seen as high, the Observatorio planned to notify the Colombian president. The president, it was planned, would operate through the National Emergency Committee (COE)—Comité Operativo de Emergencia—which was established by the federal government after the November 13, 1985 eruption.
Housed in Bogotá and headed by a representative of the president, COE was an integration of many agencies and departments, including INGEOMINAS, the Army, the Red Cross, the Colombian Civil Defense, the governor of Tolima, and local police and fire departments. The COE was subject to some oversight from Resurgir—the general oversight agency that was responsible for ensuring that all necessary volcano-related activities were assigned to the responsibility of an appropriate organization. The COE was a central link in emergency evacuation planning since it was the sole body with the charge and power to make evacuation decisions should the volcano erupt again. If such a decision were made by the COE, it would then be directly communicated to Civil Defense.
The Colombian Civil Defense (CD) is located in the Federal Ministry of Defense. It was created in 1950 and restructured in 1971. In 1986, the Civil Defense consisted of a headquarters in Bogotá, offices in most cities throughout Colombia, and over 45,000 volunteers across the country. The organization had a general goal of “service to the community” in times of disaster. Specifically, it was charged with the training of people for disaster response, the overall prevention of disasters, the reduction of disaster impacts, the provision of assistance throughout all phases of disasters, and the coordination of other organizations involved in disaster response. Civil Defense in Bogotá was the organization that would receive any evacuation decision from the COE and initiate action. Thus, CD would begin the chain of communication of the evacuation decision through appropriate organizations to the public at risk in the set of towns in the State of Tolima previously listed.
The planned chain of interorganizational communication was as follows: Civil Defense would inform the governor; the governor would then inform radio and television stations, as well as the mayors of all towns in which some risk existed; the mayors would then inform their police departments; the police would inform siren keepers in their town (the plan specifies one siren keeper in each neighborhood of each town); and, finally, the media and siren keepers would inform the public of the need to evacuate.
The mix of available sirens was varied: some were electric, some were