“What is Emergency Management? What does an EMA do? How does the EMA serve the county? Who does the EMA work with?”
These are all questions we encounter on a regular basis. Many people have only heard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They aren’t aware there is a State Emergency Management Agency as well as Emergency Management on the county level.
On this page, you will find information on the Benton County, MO Emergency Management Agency such as our mission statement, definitions of our job and actions, and our partners.
Question: What is an Emergency Management Agency?
Answer: An agency created to lead America to prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from disasters with a vision of “A Nation Prepared.”
Question: Who/What grants an EMA authority?
Answer: The Stafford Act gives EMAs the responsibility for coordinating government-wide relief efforts. (Beginning at the Federal level and trickling down through the state to the county level.)
Question: How does an EMA serve a county?
Answer: During non-emergency times, the Emergency Management Director and his staff help to coordinate, plan, sponsor, and enable their partners to participate in training and community efforts to prepare for actual emergencies. During an actual emergency, the EMD opens the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to help keep information flowing and keep efforts from being duplicated or missed in the chaos. The EMD facilitates cooperation among local government, volunteer, and private-sector organizations, as well as representatives at the state and federal level when necessary.
Question: Who does the EMA work with?
Answer: This may be a long list. We work with everyone interested in emergency preparedness. This includes (but is not limited to): fire, police, sheriff, ems, 911 operators, volunteer organizations, local business owners, faith-based groups, other EMAs, healthcare facilities, and many more!
Our mission statement is comprised of four words:
Mitigation. Preparedness. Response. Recovery.
FEMA defines mitigation as the effort to reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. In order for mitigation to be effective we need to take action now—before the next disaster—to reduce human and financial consequences later (analyzing risk, reducing risk, and ensuring against risk). It is important to know that disasters can happen at any time and any place and if we are not prepared, consequences can be fatal.
There are three important elements to help reduce the impact of disasters on our nation’s citizens and communities:
- Identifying hazards and assessing risks and vulnerabilities;
- Taking action to mitigate risks (reduce or prevent damage);
- Telling the Best Practice story of how it worked.
The public has access to the Homeland Security Digital Library. You will find information on practices and case studies of past events. The link below is the result of a search using the keywords Mitigation and Missouri, however, you are free to use whichever keywords suit your needs.
The National Weather Service has a great publication on Severe Weather Preparedness you can find here in PDF form!
Per the DMV: What to Pack in Your Emergency Kit
Here are the emergency kit essentials we recommend along with some optional items you can leave out if they’re not appropriate for your area.
- First Aid kit. Some of the items to include are:
- Hand sanitizer.
- Antibiotic ointment.
- Bug spray.
- Aspirin (or similar).
- Cotton balls.
- Gauze pads.
- Ace bandage.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Choose a small one that is easy to store.
- Road flares (if not already in your tire-changing tools).
- Jumper cables.
- Rain Ponchos.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Duct tape
- Scent-free baby wipes.
- Drinking water and non-perishable snacks.
- Multipurpose tool.
Some optional items for your roadside kit include:
- Collapsible shuttle.
- Ice scraper.
- Cat litter for slick roads.
- Small battery-powered fan.
- Blankets and/or warm clothing.
Some recommend keeping fluids like oil, antifreeze, and brake fluid in your vehicle as well. If you have an older car, add these to your kit—but if you regularly check your fluids, you shouldn’t need these.
Remember, this list is in addition to what you already have on hand for changing a tire. Store all of your roadside emergency items in one complete package.
How to Pack Your Emergency Kit
When you have all of your items ready, we suggest the following method for creating a well-organized and easy to use emergency kit:
- Use a clear, plastic container with a secure lid.
- Place items inside in a tidy manner, preferably a single layer so they are easy to see and grab.
- Create an itemized list and tape it to the outside of the box.
- Be sure to replace anything that expires or gets used up.
The best place to keep your emergency kit is in your trunk. If you have a truck or hatchback, consider using bungee cords to secure it in the back of your vehicle so it doesn’t slide around and open while you’re driving.
If you have limited space in your vehicle, reduce your kit to just the basics:
- First Aid kit.
- Multipurpose tool.
- Jumper cables.
- Road Flares.
- Bottled water.
Additional Emergency Safety Tips
In addition to your emergency kit, there are a few things you might not realize can be a real sanity saver.
- Cell phone car charger: Keeping your phone charged up when you’re on the road can help you reach out for assistance in an emergency. In addition to a standard car charger, also consider a solar charger.
- Cash for gas: If the power goes out due to inclement weather, it’s nearly impossible to get gas with just your credit card. Cash always works, so keep some safely tucked away in your car.
- Clean, empty, refillable gas jug: This won’t fit in your every-day emergency kit, but In addition to a standard car charger, also consider a solar charger. Just remember it’s never safe to keep a full jug in your vehicle, as gas is highly flammable and unstable.
- Full fluids: Before any road trip, be sure to check all the fluid, including oil, antifreeze, and transmission fluid. These should be clean and full to make sure your vehicle is running in tip-top shape.
- Deck of cards, book, or other entertainment: Let’s face it—if you find yourself in an emergency, you might be waiting a while for help. Counting the number of red cars can get old fast, so be sure you have something to occupy the time.
For more tips, visit our Weather Preparedness page!
Response is putting your preparedness plans into action.
Seeking shelter from a tornado or turning off gas valves in an earthquake are both response activities.
Response activities take place during an emergency.
Your safety and well-being in an emergency depend on how prepared you are and on how you respond to a crisis. By being able to act responsibly and safely, you will be able to protect yourself, your family, others around you, and your animals. Taking cover and holding tight in an earthquake, moving to the basement with your pets in a tornado, and safely leading horses away from a wildfire are examples of safe response. These actions can save lives. The Community Emergency Response Team and other local volunteer organizations in your area can assist by giving you basic training!
You can find valuable information here: National Response Framework
After an emergency and once the immediate danger is over, your continued safety and well-being will depend on your ability to cope with rearranging your life and environment. During the recovery period, you must take care of yourself and your animals to prevent stress-related illnesses and excessive financial burdens. During recovery, you should also consider things to do that would lessen (mitigate) the effects of future disasters.
Kates and Pijawka’s (1977) frequently cited four-phase model begins with the emergency period, which lasts for a period that ranges from a few days to a few weeks and encompasses the emergency response period when the EOP is implemented. Next comes the restoration period, when repairs to utilities are made, debris is removed, evacuees return, and residential, commercial, and industrial structures are repaired. This period can take weeks to months. The third phase, the reconstruction/replacement period, involves rebuilding capital stocks and returning the economy to pre-disaster levels. This period can take months to years. Finally, there is the development phase, when commemorative structures are built, memorial dates are institutionalized, and attempts are made to improve the community.
Sullivan (2003) used a similar typology consisting of four “intra-recovery elements”. These include post-impact, restoration, replacement/reconstruction, and commemorative, betterment, and developmental reconstruction.
All information for this page was compiled from FEMA’s resources unless otherwise notated in specific areas.
This page is a work in progress. Check back often for additional material and updates!