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

Operations Bureau

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.
Communications Bureau

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.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Bureau

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

Mutual Aid/EMAC Coordinator (Emergency Management Assistance Compact)

Implements and manages the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) and the State Mission Assignment (MA) SEOC position during disaster response and recovery.   For EMAC this includes coordination of activities for the State such as acquiring needed resources from potential Assisting States or meeting other Requesting States resource needs by coordinating with possible resource providers.  For Mission Assignments this includes working with other State and local agencies/departments to aid and support by coordinating Mission Assignments from issuance and execution to close-out. The Mutual Aid / EMAC Coordinator monitors the status of deployed personnel and assists and manages the packaging and compilation of information required for an organization’s reimbursement for deployment in support of a declared disaster within, or outside, the state of Mississippi. 

Field Services Bureau

The Field Services Bureau is comprised of a Director for the Northern four (4) Districts, a Director for the Southern five (5) districts, and nine (9) Area Coordinators (AC). 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 grants assistance, law enforcement, medical services, local government, flood plain activities 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” are the conduit for communication and coordination of all MEMA support activities; they will assist the local officials with damage assessment execution, identifying urgent needs, understanding available resources, and coordinating state resources to assist local responders.

The Field Services Bureau additionally will:

  • Maintain operational control of the three State Emergency Response Team (SERT) trailers
  • Maintain operational control of forward Operations Centers
  • Assist with execution and coordination of damage assessments after an event and the transition to the recovery phase
  • Maintains multiple Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) capability for real-time disaster site aerial surveys  

For more information about Disaster Response, contact Operations Bureau Chief Donna Gray at (601) 933-6716 or dgray@mema.ms.gov.