About EMD

Aram Sahakian, General Manager

Mr. Sahakian was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as General Manager of the Emergency Management Department (EMD) in 2016. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Sahakian led the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s (LADOT) Special Traffic Operations and Emergency Response Division, where he managed emergency response and major special events for over two decades.
Mr. Sahakian has cultivated a broad network of relationships with public and private sector entities, community organizations, Neighborhood Councils, and grassroots stakeholders through his work on many successful citywide initiatives managing multi-stakeholder situations.
Mr. Sahakian has served as Incident Commander for dozens of major incidents in a Unified Command structure alongside the LAPD and the LAFD, including the 2013 LAX Shooting, 2008 Metrolink Chatsworth railway disaster, 2008 Marek and Sesnon wildfires, and 1994 Northridge Earthquake. He has also worked in close coordination with other city, state and federal agencies for U.S. Presidential motorcades, political conventions and gatherings, annual awards shows and sporting events, the transportation of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the 2015 Special Olympics, the 405 Freeway Closure (Carmageddon).

Mr. Sahakian has studied executive level leadership at the Harvard Business and Kennedy Schools, emergency management training at the California Specialized Training Institute, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and the Emergency Management Institute at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Electrical Engineering and holds a Professional License in Transportation Engineering. 

Our Divisions

The Emergency Management Department has five divisions comprised of administrative staff and specialists that work with City departments, municipalities and an array of community-based organizations to ensure that the City and its residents have the resources and information they need to prepare, respond and recover from emergencies, disasters and significant events.

Administrative Services Division

  • Develops, prepares, and administers the annual EOF and EMD budgets
  • Handles all departmental accounting functions including procurement, accounts payable, travel arrangements, time keeping, grant administration and financial reporting
  • Assists EMD management in addressing labor relations issues, resolves personnel matters and facilitates and coordinates the hiring process
  • Serves as the liaison to county, state, federal and local non-profit agencies
  • Provides staff support for the EOB and EMC
  • Chairs the EOO Administrative/Finance Subcommittee

Communications Division

  • Serves as the department’s centralized hub for gathering and disseminating information using resources such as the Internet, Channel 35 City View, publications, mass media and social media
  • Coordinates all department press conferences, press releases, and special events
  • Develops and publishes informational materials and bulletins about emergency readiness and current or emerging crisis issues
  • Serves as the lead agency for the Information and Public Affairs Section and/or Joint Information Center when the Emergency Operations Center is activated
  • Responsible for maintaining all media contacts and responding to media requests and inquiries
  • Responds to inquiries for information from the public and from City employees

Community Emergency Management Division

  • Works with neighborhood associations, schools, faith-based organizations and other community groups to promote emergency management
  • Coordinates EOO community outreach programs
  • Participates in fairs, expos and community meetings
  • Publishes and disseminates preparedness information
  • Distribute brochures and other educational material
  • Chairs the EOO Community Preparedness Subcommittee

Operations Division

The Operations Division is responsible for EOC readiness, emergency planning, training and exercise programs. It is also responsible for ensuring the operational readiness of the City's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and alternate EOC's. This includes:

  • Coordinating EOC activations
  • Staffing, training, securing access, managing information and maintaining communications systems for all EOC and alternate EOC facilities 
  • Development of citywide emergency plans
  • Reviews and tests departmental emergency plans to ensure City departments and their employees are ready to fulfill their respective emergency missions
  • Provides emergency preparedness training for City employees
  • Coordinates citywide emergency management training programs
  • Develops citywide emergency management exercises

Special Projects and Analytics Division 

  • Manages and provides oversight for both long-term and short-term executive-level Citywide emergency management projects and programs involving department specific and/or multi-agency coordination.
  • Writes, reviews, and evaluates emergency management requests for proposals and contracts related to homeland security grants and general fund grants.
  • Researches emergency management best practices for possible integration in the department’s plans and procedures for emergency response and recovery.
  • Develops on-going collaborative partnerships between EMD and surrounding emergency management offices in the Operational Area and Southern California.
  • Oversees the writing, implementation and maintenance of on-call contracts and memoranda of understanding related to catastrophic planning.
  • Oversees the Citywide Disabilities and Access & Functional Needs (DAFN) sustainment program.
  • Chairs the Local Hazard Mitigation Subcommittee to the Emergency Management Committee.
  • Co-Chairs, along with the Department on Disability, the Coalition for People with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs and the Disabilities and Access and Functional Needs Subcommittee to the Emergency Management Committee.
  • Serves in an advisory capacity on any Emergency Management Mutual Aid training or coordination projects with LA County, Cal OES and other outside agencies.