The state agency tasked with overseeing readiness and responses to manmade and natural disasters is Michigan Emergency and Homeland Security (MEHS). MEHS is composed of several units including the National Communications System Priority Telecommunications Services (NCS). NCS is a dedicated communications system that allows governmental organizations to send and receive audio, written or Internet messages. Within NCS are
- Wireless Priority Service—is an additional service that prioritizes communication for critical EM personnel
- Government Emergency Telecommunications Service—is a calling card service that prioritizes emergency communications during earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters
- Telecommunications Service Priority—is a specialized relationship with telecommunications vendors, allowing high priority calls to be placed before all others
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Another critical program in the MEHS is the Michigan Citizen Corps Program, which provides training and resources to volunteers throughout Michigan communities. These volunteers may fulfill a variety of roles in the aftermath of a major natural or manmade disaster, including public education, preparedness and victim assistance.
Emergency Management Careers in Michigan
Michigan residents may appeal to a variety of public, private and non-governmental organizations for assistance following an emergency. The American Red Cross has a strong presence in Michigan and posted the following requirements for an Emergency Services Program Manager job in Saginaw:
- Graduation from an accredited college or university with a bachelor’s degree
- Three to five years of experience in emergency management
- Between six months and one year of experience in a supervisor position
- Experience in directing staff, volunteers and partners for preparedness, recovery and response
- Design and implement programs and new initiatives
Training for Emergency Management Jobs in Michigan
Michigan Emergency and Homeland Security offers a variety of training programs for EM personnel. Many of the emergency management classes in Michigan may be found online at MI-TRAIN, which is sponsored by the Michigan State Police. These courses may be accessed at the discretion of the student on their own timetable. Many of these emergency management courses in Michigan provide college credits or certifications.
MEHS also regularly conducts exercises modeled on national templates including Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). These exercises may involve personnel from a variety of state, local and private organizations.
Major Disasters in Michigan
The oil spill into the Kalamazoo River in 2010 is believed to be one of the largest ecological disasters in the state’s history. Almost 840,000 gallons of oil were leaked from the Enbridge Energy Partners storage center. The leak sprouted from the malfunction of a pipeline that transports almost eight million gallons a day. The resulting cleanup costs were estimated at more than $1 billion.
In 2013, western Michigan experienced floods as the Grand River broke records when it topped 21.85 feet. Widespread flooding throughout the Midwest caused at least three deaths, although none in Michigan. The widespread heavy rains were followed by an unseasonal cold snap that damaged a variety of crops including corn, peaches, cherries and apples.