Disaster Response

The Office of Response provides the core, coordinated state operational response capability needed to save and sustain lives, minimize suffering, and protect property in a timely and effective manner in communities that become overwhelmed by natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other emergencies.

Response program activities encompass the coordination of all state emergency management response operations, response planning and integration of state, tribal and local disaster programs. This coordination ensures efficient and effective delivery of immediate emergency assistance to individuals and communities impacted and overwhelmed by these disasters, emergencies, or acts of terrorism.

Comprised of the Operations Bureau, Communications Bureau, GIS Office and the Field Services Bureau, the Office of Response is responsible for generating state information, warning and alerts, coordinating response efforts and staffs the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC).

The Operations Bureau is responsible for coordinating support for state and local response in an all-hazards concept. These responsibilities include:

  • Alert and notification of an event.
  • Activate the State Emergency Operations Center.
  • Coordinate all Emergency Support Functions.
  • Establish priorities for the allocation of resources through WebEOC.
  • Development and publication of the MEMA Daily Update Brief (DUB).
  • Development and activation of Daily and Incident Situation Rooms (SIT Rooms).
  • The use of Web EOC, a web based incident management and tracking software system, extends the SEOC to all 82 counties and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The system allows for the immediate tracking of resources, requests and personnel for any events that affect the state.
  • The Operations Branch also supports damage assessment after an event and assists with the transition to the recovery phase. These functions are directed toward the goal of minimizing the risk and affect to people, property and the environment.

The Communications Bureau is the designated state warning point. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Communications Bureau has the responsibility of alerting state and local officials to all natural or man-made incidents throughout the state. These alerts include severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes or hazardous materials incidents.

Communications capabilities include satellite, low band and UHF radios. The AtHoc Notification System allows for rapid notification of all federal, state and local personnel. AtHoc is a multi-device notification system that has enhanced the ability to rapidly communicate essential information to the field.

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office is designated at MEMA’s GIS and Technology Office. The GIS Office provides GIS products, mapping and technical support to MEMA and all eighty-two (82) counties and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The GIS Office developed and maintains MEMA’s Common Operating Picture (COP), Damage Assessment Collector App, County USNG Maps and special mapping products required in support of events and incidents.

The Field Services Bureau is comprised of a Director, six (6) Area Coordinators (AC) and two (2) Field Service Specialists. This office administers the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG), and is responsible for maintaining the Statewide Mutual Aid Compact (SMAC) between all eighty-two (82) counties and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

MEMA’s Area Coordinators are assigned to the six MEMA established districts within the state. Area Coordinators are the state’s liaisons to the local jurisdictions for emergency management activities and incidents. It is highly preferred that an AC live inside the district to which they are assigned, otherwise they MUST live within 50 miles of their assigned district. This allows the ACs to provide daily assistance with emergency management activities as well as quicker response to incidents and/or disasters. The AC’s have numerous years of combined experience and expertise in all areas of emergency management including law enforcement, medical services, local government, and fire services.

On a day to day basis, the AC’s assist the County EMA Directors and municipalities with all aspects of emergency management including planning, training, exercise, mitigation, recovery and various emergency management related grants.  During disasters, the “AC’s” will assist the local officials with damage assessments, identifying urgent needs, understanding available resources, and coordinating state resources that assist local responders.

The Field Service Specialist are Area Coordinators based out of MEMA Pearl. The Field Services Specialists perform the same duties as the ACs, with additional responsibilities as:

  • Maintain operational control of the Multi Agency Coordination Team (MACT).
  • Maintain operational control of forward Operations Centers.
  • Assist with damage assessments after an event and the transition to the recovery phase.

 

Field_Services_Bureau_8x11 (1)

 

For more information about the Office of Response, contact Response Director Matthew Hewings at (601) 933-6716 or mhewings@mema.ms.gov.