The Emergency Management Division is charged with planning for and responding to emergencies or disasters that could occur in the county. All cities and communities in the County are part of the Kent County Emergency Management Program. The Emergency Management Office is responsible for maintaining and updating the Kent County Emergency Action Guidelines, which has now included the requirements of the National Response Plan and National Incident Management System (NIMS).
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has identified a number of national priorities to strengthen the preparedness of the United States to prevent and respond to threatened or actual domestic terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies, including Expanding Regional Collaboration. Major events have a regional impact; therefore, the benefit of regionalization will be most evident at the community level, when a community as a whole, can prepare for and provide an integrated response to an incident. Kent County is in region 6, which extends from our county's southern border to Lake County to the north, the counties immediately adjacent to US 131 east, and Lake Michigan to the west.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified projects for funding which will enhance the overall level of preparedness across the state. These projects are:
Our region has been working diligently on these preparedness goals and have taken great strides in meeting them.
The Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security continue to develop, coordinate, and evaluate our community response capabilities. The task of assessing local hazards and our capabilities to respond to the needs to our community have never been greater. DHS grants have allowed us to provide additional equipment and training to our response agencies. Recent projects specifically benefiting Kent County include:
Planning is a key component toward the success of local and regional initiatives that help in the prevention, protection, response and recovery from emergencies and disasters. The collection and analysis of intelligence and information is needed for the development of policies, plans, procedures, mutual aid agreements, strategies, and other programs that improve the capabilities of our public and private response organizations. These plans must also comply with relevant laws and regulations, and receive collaborative support from the agencies and disciplines affected.
The dynamics of planning are necessary for all of the Homeland Security projects listed above. As we proceed as a 13-county regional collaboration, we will have the benefits of expanded response resources and talents. A Regional Response Plan is being developed that encompasses the following counties:
Working with our neighbors will mutually enhance our abilities to protect and respond to emergencies in our areas.
As condition for receiving federal hazard mitigation funding, local jurisdictions must have a FEMA approved hazard mitigation plan. The plan identifies risks, vulnerabilities, and mitigative efforts to deal with hazards present in the communities involved. The Greater Grand Rapids Hazard Mitigation Plan (GGRHMP) is a joint effort between Kent County, Ottawa County, and the City of Grand Rapids. Public meetings were also held to receive input from the local communities involved. The plan is dedicated to improve the health and safety of the citizens of the Greater Grand Rapids Area. The original plan was approved in 2006 and the revision was approved by FEMA in 2012.
Listed below are the top five natural hazards and the top five infrastructure and human induced hazards.
Infrastructure and Human-Induced
In order to receive mitigation funding jurisdictions must pass a resolution adopting the GGRHMP. The County of Kent has passed the resolution adopting the GGRHMP.
Disaster Reimbursement and Mitigation
The Office of Emergency Management is responsible for coordinating reimbursements related to declared disasters; the most recent being the flooding in the spring of 2013.
The State of Michigan has designated Emergency Management to be the coordination point for all school drills and exercises.
Our office is currently in the process of coordinating emergency response plans with our schools. Part of this planning involves vulnerability assessments on buildings, as well as student behavior related Threat and Violence Assessments (TVAT).
The Emergency Management office is also involved in a local safe schools project to develop a standard for school preparedness planning, exercising, and documentation of incidents and drills. This project is a coordinated effort between local law enforcement agencies, and local school districts
M.A.B.A.S. (Mutual Aid Box Alarm Systems) is the standardization of response and the predetermination of Fire resources in effort to effectively and efficiently mitigate the effects of an emergent incident.
In June of 2012, the M.A.B.A.S.-MI Executive Board approved the Division 3603 application for Kent County area fire departments to become a M.A.B.A.S Division. The initial Division was comprised of 6 area fire departments including Plainfield, Algoma, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Grattan, and Wyoming. Stacy Madden began to facilitate communication among Kent Co fire departments and as a result 7 new fire departments have joined the Division since August 2012. The new departments include: Cascade, Caledonia, Cannon, Kent City, Sparta, Alpine, and Rockford.
Division 3603 in collaboration with Kent County EMD has successfully created Policies and Procedures and Inter Divisional Box Alarm Cards, 2-Taskforces, 2-Engine Strike Teams, and 2-Tender Strike Teams. These Taskforces and Strike Teams are trained and prepared to respond within Kent County, Region 6 and the State of Michigan.
Public education has always been a critical part of Emergency Management / Homeland Security. Our office provides citizens and community groups with a wide variety of presentations. The most common are:
There are 14 dams in Kent County. Eight of them are considered significant to high risk. The Emergency Management Office has emergency action plans for these dams. These plans are updated on a regular basis and exercises are held in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to test the plans.
Disasters happen anytime and anywhere. When disaster strikes, it is easier to cope when you are prepared. Being prepared for potential emergencies in Western Michigan means addressing all of the steps noted in the program's twelve month preparedness calendar. Acting on one step each month is an easy way to accomplish this goal! What this program is all about:
Office (616) 632-6255
701 Ball Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 5:00pm
Lawrence A. Stelma
703 Ball Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503