The Office of Emergency Management (formerly referred to as Civil Defense and Disaster) was adopted in the Detroit City Code, Chapter 12, on June 10, 1998. In 2003, the Office was removed as a division of the Fire Department and established as a stand-alone department currently referred to as the Detroit Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (DHSEM).
DHSEM has a two-fold critical mission: to coordinate with other departments and agencies to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from natural and human-made emergencies and disasters; and to protect the residents and visitors of the City of Detroit from threats by developing All-Hazard plans and programs, in accordance with the Michigan Emergency Management Act (Public Act 390) and the standards set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
DHSEM focuses on the five phases of emergency management – prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.
One important way DHSEM has addressed these phases is by preparing numerous comprehensive emergency response plans. These include the Citywide Evacuation and Mass Sheltering Plan, Emergency Operations Plan, Hazard Mitigation Plan, and Adverse Weather Response Team Plan.
DHSEM is also responsible for a wide range of critical emergency management activities, including:
- Coordinating with federal, state, county, local, private, and nongovernmental safety and emergency response agencies
- Managing the Emergency Operations Center
- Facilitating emergency responder and community preparedness training
- Conducting frequent drills, tabletop and full-scale exercises
- Developing a mass notification system to alert the public of emergencies, including: 56 citywide outdoor warning sirens, Wireless Emergency Alerts, Nixle emergency alerts, and Emergency Alert System broadcast alerts
- Preparing Continuity of Operations and Redundancy Plans for numerous critical City departments so the departments can continue to provide essential functions if their facilities are not operational
DHSEM also provides another essential function: Homeland Security. DHSEM has worked closely with public, private, State and Federal intelligence agencies in developing a sophisticated intelligence network. It also spearheaded the development of a daily calendar of key events taking place in Detroit and works with intelligence agencies to vet the events for possible threats.