Bringing state resources to help with local emergencies and disasters

How do local, state and federal government work together to respond to disasters and emergencies?

Recent flooding in parts of Michigan led some communities, like Lansing, to declare a State of Emergency. Declaring a State of Emergency activates a county or municipality’s Emergency Operations Plans, allowing the community to direct traditional and non-traditional resources to respond to any needs that arise from the disaster.

What if a city or county does not have sufficient resources available to respond adequately to a disaster or emergency?  In that case, the Michigan Emergency Manager Act (PA 390 of 1976) provides guidance on how a community can request state assistance in dealing with an emergency.

MCL 30.412 states that: “If a disaster or an emergency occurs in a county or municipality and is beyond the control of local public or private agencies, the chief executive official of the county or municipality may request the governor to declare that a state of disaster or state of emergency exists in the county or municipality…”

If a municipality or county requests that the governor declare a state of emergency, the State Police assesses the nature and scope of the situation and recommends what personnel, services and equipment are required for disaster prevention, mitigation or relief and recommend to the Governor whether an emergency should be declared. A state declaration of emergency activates applicable relief forces and resources from the state.

If state and local resources are still insufficient, the Governor may request that the U.S. President declare a state of disaster. If this is requested, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducts an assessment in cooperation with state and local emergency management officials and makes a recommendation to the President. A federal declaration provides additional resources, including making funding available to residents and business owners for things such as temporary housing, repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. The federal determination also makes communities eligible to participate in a program to help reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards.

 Those in Michigan State University Extension that focus on government and public policy provide various training programs, which are available to be presented in your county.  Contact your local Government and Public Policy educator for more information.

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