The Disaster Declaration Process
When an incident occurs, local police, fire and emergency medical services are normally the first to respond. They initially assess the situation, determine its nature, scope and magnitude, and determine if additional assistance is required.
Additional departments and agencies may become involved depending on the nature of the incident. The local emergency management coordinator (EMC) is notified and monitors the situation. If the incident escalates to the point where coordination among several agencies is required, the EMC activates the local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and notifies key personnel.
The EMC may recommend that the chief executive of the county or municipality declare a “local state of emergency” under the Michigan Emergency Management Act (Public Act 390 of 1976, as amended), which activates appropriate response and recovery aspects of the local government. Local response procedures are followed as stated in local Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs).
If conditions warrant, the local government’s Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) District Coordinator is notified and, in conjunction with the local EMC, assesses the situation and recommends the personnel, services, and equipment needed
Request for State Assistance
If the chief executive determines that the incident is beyond the control of the local government, he or she may request that the Governor declare a “state of emergency” or “state of disaster” under the Michigan Emergency Management Act and activate state assistance in accordance with the provisions set forth in the act.
This request is made through the MSP/EMHSD District Coordinator and forwarded to the MSP/EMHSD in Lansing, which notifies the Governor of the nature, scope and magnitude of the situation.
Generally, before state assistance is requested, local emergency management programs must ensure that local disaster relief forces are utilized to the maximum extent possible, including the use of local contractors, activation of mutual aid under the Michigan Emergency Management Assistance Compact (MEMAC) and other standing agreements, and use of nearby resources.
The MSP/EMHSD District Coordinator will help verify that local resources are exhausted. State disaster assistance is used to supplement local efforts and resources, and to help relieve extraordinary burden. It is not to be used for simple budgetary relief or to relieve hardship.
State of Emergency or Disaster Declaration
Pursuant to Michigan Emergency Management Act, the Governor may declare a “state of emergency” or “state of disaster” and activate applicable relief forces if an emergency or disaster or imminent threat thereof exists. The State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (SDEMHS), or the Deputy SDEMHS as authorized representative, will implement the orders and directives of the Governor in the event of a “state of emergency” or “state of disaster” declaration. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) will be activated as the primary point of direction and control for coordinating state response and recovery activities. In some situations, additional coordinating facilities may be established at or near the incident site
Under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act (Public Act 302 of 1945), the Governor may also declare a “state of emergency” for the affected area and promulgate reasonable orders, rules and regulations deemed necessary to protect life and property or to bring the emergency situation under control.
Provision of State Assistance
If immediate actions are required, the SDEMHS may initiate temporary assistance to the affected area.
The MSP/EMHSD will monitor the situation and maintain contact with the affected jurisdiction(s). Appropriate state departments and agencies will be notified and mobilized as necessary to provide direct assistance to the jurisdictions included in the Governor’s declaration.
The MSP/EMHSD District Coordinator will coordinate state assistance activities at the scene through the local EOC. The MSP/EMHSD will keep the Governor informed of the situation, and if conditions warrant, recommend that supplemental assistance be sought from other sources.
The Governor will take those actions he or she deems appropriate to respond to and recover from the emergency or disaster.
If the resources of the state and local government are unable to cope with the emergency or disaster, the Governor may request assistance through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Region V Office.
At the request of the Governor, FEMA may conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) in cooperation with state and local emergency management officials. The results of the PDA will be received by state officials and the Governor’s Office and used as a basis for determining whether to request federal financial assistance.
Should the state request federal disaster assistance, FEMA will review the request and make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final determination on any disaster aid to be provided to the state. The goal of disaster assistance is not to make individuals, businesses or government entities whole again, but to restore the community to a level that meets expected health and safety considerations.