The Oakland County Homeland Security Division is responsible for the management of all weather, technological, national security or nuclear emergencies that affect the county.
Between 1950 and 2010, Oakland County experienced 5,415 serious thunderstorms, 550 floods, 397 hail storms, 78 heavy snow incidents, 38 ice storms and 12 tornadoes, including one in 1976 that caused one death, 55 injuries and 25 million dollars in property damage. Oakland County has also had its share manmade emergencies, most recently the July 4, 2013 shooting by a crazed gunman into a group watching fireworks that killed one adult and wounded three other adults and two children.
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Emergency Management Careers in Oakland County
Emergency management is a growing profession with what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calls a “bright outlook.” A bachelor’s degree in emergency management or a related bachelor’s degree along with a certificate in emergency management is a basic requirement for an entry-level position. However, employers look for a combination of education, experience and training so students would be wise to take advantage of any internship or volunteer opportunities in the field.
There are three schools in or near Oakland County, as well as several accredited online universities, that offer degrees in emergency management. In 2010, 21 Oakland County students graduated with emergency management credentials; eight received bachelor degrees, seven earned masters and six received certificates.
How to Apply for an Emergency Management Job in Oakland County
Applications for Oakland County jobs are available online. The county job hotline (248-858-0530) lists open positions. For further information about paid or volunteer opportunities, write or call the Homeland Security Division, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 47, Pontiac, MI 48341-0410; Tel: 248-858-5300.
Emergency Management Protocols in Oakland County
Functions of the Oakland County Homeland Security Division include:
- Planning. Involves advance planning for emergencies, including developing operational capabilities and evacuation procedures; distributing hazardous materials reports; providing materials on how to prepare families and business for all types of emergencies; and conducting emergency operation exercises with all responders.
- Mitigation. Involves the design and implementation of procedures intended to prevent or reduce risk to life and property. Indoor and outdoor warning systems include a tone alert receiver system and 263 strategically placed sirens to warn people in places like parks, beaches or golf courses.
- Response. Involves all actions taken during and immediately after an emergency, including maintenance of the emergency operational center from which 34 agencies (fire, police, search & rescue teams, Red Cross, Citizens Emergency Response Team, etc.) function and coordinate actions.
- Recovery. Involves short-term actions to recover vital life support systems and long-term activities to return daily life to normal levels.
Other emergency management organizations in Oakland County include:
- The sheriff’s department Emergency Response and Preparedness Division was established after 9/11 to expand upon county emergency capabilities. The division is responsible for the training of all law enforcement personnel and the operation of a communications unit that includes one of Michigan’s largest police/fire dispatch 911 centers.
- The Oakland County Department of Public Health’s Preparedness Division has planned for any health emergencies resulting from natural or manmade disasters, including chemical spills or disease outbreaks.