Emergency Management - About Us (2024)

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What Is Emergency Management?


Emergency management is defined as the systematic process for mitigating (preventing), preparing for (being ready for), responding to, and recovering from natural, technological, and man-made disasters. So what does that mean?


Many emergencies such as medical emergencies, house fires, and criminal incidents occur regularly and are routinely addressed by 911, first responders, and other critical community organizations with their 'normal' capabilities. Unfortunately, sometimes emergencies are complex and/or severe enough that they challenge, or even overwhelm, the standard emergency response system and require extraordinary coordination, resources, and/or assistance from State/Federal agencies. For example, a 1 or 2 vehicle car accident could be handled by local police, fire/rescue, and emergency medical...however, a multiple 32 car pile-up on 131 would require extensive coordination between all of those agencies, mutual aid from neighboring counties, state police and MDOT, and even private agencies such as tow trucks. It is at this level that the emergency management system comes into play, providing specialized plans, procedures, training, and resources to ensure an effective response.


In Michigan, Public Act 390 of 1976, as amended, details Michigan's emergency management structure and authorities. This includes establishing an Emergency Management Division at the State for the purpose of coordinating emergency management activities of county, municipal, state, and federal governments. It also requires each county to establish an Emergency Management Program and appoint an emergency management coordinator to serve the Chief Elected Official (of the County Board of Commissioners) for the purpose of disaster preparedness. In Osceola County, the Emergency Management Director is appointed by the Board of Commissioners and also serves comprising Townships, Cities, and municipalities.


Not only do disasters happen in Osceola County, but so do extraordinary emergencies that require unique expert support, personnel, and resources. Emergency management is uniquely trained, educated, and experienced to provide disaster/emergency services.

Osceola County Emergency Mgt

Michigan State Police Emergency Management & Homeland Security

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Dept of Homeland Security & F.E.M.A.

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Services - What Does Emergency Management Do?

Coordination - Possibly our most significant area, ensuring regular interaction and maintaining strong partnerships with local (county, township, city), Regional, State, and Federal agencies/officials. This includes hosting L.E.P.T. & Emergency Services meetings as well as attending 911, Police Chiefs, Fire Association, and various other meetings. EM Staff maintain regular coordination with over 200+ officials / agencies.

Administration - Management of staff & office activities as well as managing emergency management grants such as EMPG (Emergency Mgt Performance Grant), HSGP (Homeland Security Grant Program), HMEP (Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning Grant), and other disaster recovery grants & projects.

Exercise - Design, development, implementation, and participation of local emergency exercises that provides testing and practical experiences to response officials for potential hazards. Exercises can consist of drills, tabletops, functional, or full scale efforts conducted locally, regionally, or statewide.

Response - Our staff supports full scale disasters (EOC), major hazard incidents (IAP), complex public safety responses (ICS), and specialized conditions (special protocol) as well as mutual aid to regional and state disasters. Emergency management usually acts behind the scenes coordinating necessary support actions.

Training - Delivery of courses & education to EM staff, first responders, and agency officials to ensure they are ready to respond to known hazards and execute specialized skills. These include communications, hazard specific skills (active shooter/haz-mat), and critical function specific education (such as damage assessment).

Program - This area includes efforts to ensure the jurisdiction conforms to national accepted standards & best practices including NFPA1600 (EM Standard), N.I.M.S. (National Incident Management System, SafeCom (Interoperability), and various other others. The goal is to maintain the highest quality of service possible.

Emergency Planning - The jurisdictions emergency plan consists of 5 Volumes including 12 broad emergency functions and 10 Incident Management annexes. This plan is required by federal, state, and local law to be an accurate representation of our em response system and requires regular maintenance and update.

Site Planning - Ensuring adequate emergency plans for sites such as hazardous materials locations, schools, small & large businesses, campgrounds, etc. Also safety plans for community special events such as parades, festivals, and fairs contribute to community safety.

Hazard Management - Analysis of how and to what extent hazards can affect the jurisdiction and efforts to mitigate (reduce) their risk is a significant effort. Programs include grants for equipment, plans for response, education/training, and other endeavors that support needed capability.

Outreach - Ensuring interaction with general public, private businesses, and other organizations is essential to ensuring an 'all community' approach to emergency management. Efforts such as our website, social media feeds, personal presentations, are media articles - ensure regular public involvement and awareness.

Resource Mgt - Disaster / Emergency response relies on capabilities that usually involves specialized resources. Osceola EM supports this capability by management of specialized equipment, supplies, funds, and personnel used for emergency / disaster response. This includes management of the C.E.R.T., I.M.T. and E.M.S.T. groups.

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The Emergency Management Program Framework provides a comprehensive overview of Osceola's EM system

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Emergency Management Center

Osceola County's Emergency Management Center is so named as it serves in multiple capacities. First, it is the emergency management agency's daily work offices directing all mitigation and preparedness operations - including specifically designed for training / exercise capabilities. Secondly, it serves as the jurisdiction's emergency operations center (E.O.C.) - designated as the primary facility for coordinating disasters, supporting significant incidents, and addressing functional situations.

  • Situational Activations - OCEMD's most common 'activations' are for addressing crucial, but relatively isolated, situations in which our unique coordination capabilities are naturally able to address quickly and efficiently. These include wide scale power outages, emergency sheltering, special event safety, emergency messaging, as well as numerous others.

  • Incident Command Support - Police, fire/rescue, and 9-1-1 deal with emergencies on a daily basis. Although most of these can be handled with 'standard' response resources, some are unique in size or complexity where emergency management is needed to provide support. Utilizing the Incident Command System, the EOC provides specialized services, resources, or personnel support (i.e. Incident Management Team) to support first responders as needed.

  • Incident Action Plan Activations - Osceola County's emergency services have identified 10 major hazards to which it has established pre-set 'Incident Action Plans' which are designed to improve response. During these 'IAP' activations, emergency management is responsible for critical tasks such as distributing public information, deployment of specialized resources (equipment or personnel), or addressing significant planning challenges.

  • E.O.C. Full / Partial Activations - During major disasters, the EOC is required by federal, state, and local legislation to coordinate ALL agencies and ensure they work together to provide maximum services to Osceola County. During these extreme situations, the EOC activates our Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) which organizes all agencies into 12 'emergency functions' that provide comprehensive response and recovery to the jurisdiction. More frequently, the EOC is activated to provide 1 or more of our emergency functions to other types of emergencies.

EOC Conference / Training Room @ 'Monitoring' status

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EOC Command / Operations Room during 2/27/23 Ice Storm

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EOC Communications Room in 'Standby' condition

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Our Staff

Director Mark Watkins

Serving with local emergency services since 1996, Mark Watkins was appointed as Osceola County's 3rd Emergency Management Director in 2001. In addition to developing the County's emergency management program to a comprehensive - standards based system, Director Watkins has implemented numerous progressive initiatives that have significantly benefitted our public safety system. Most notably, the innovations in incident management, interoperability communications, incident action plans, and site safety program have been recognized as best practices in the State of Michigan. During his tenure, he has directed Osceola County through 7 Presidential, 1 Governors, and over 20 local emergency declarations in addition to regularly providing assistance to other jurisdictions during critical incidents.

Director Watkins is recognized as a Professional Emergency Manager (P.E.M.) by the Michigan State Police / Emergency Management Homeland Security Division and was further honored with the prestigious P.E.M. of the Year Award in 2010. He has additionally been recognized by the Michigan Emergency Management Association (M.E.M.A.) for multiple career accomplishments including Coordinator of the Year (2001, 2006, 2009, 2014, 2016), Response of the Year (2005), and Distinguished Service (2019).

In addition to emergency management, Mark serves in various other public safety capacities including Reed City Police Department (Reserve Specialist), Hersey Township Fire/Rescue (firefighter/EMT), Reed City Fire Department, and Osceola County EMS (reserve).

Director Mark Watkins speaking at the Great Lakes Homeland Security Conference 2019 on school safety.

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Coordinator Stacey Hayner

Stacey Hayner joined Osceola EMD's Internship program in 2018 before accepting the part-time position in 2019 and was promoted to Coordinator rank in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic response. Stacey is primarily responsible for maintaining established EM programs, office management, and planning duties. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Emergency Management and is currently finishing her Masters Degree in Public Administration.

Learn More About Emergency Management

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The Osceola County EM Program Framework is the official guide to our em program and it's components. It's a starting point for citizens & officials.

This excellent What is Emergency Management video from our colleagues at Gallatin County Montana provides a great overview of emergency management.

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Learn more about emergency management and why it is a vital component of our nation's preparedness! Our YouTube Playlist includes several short videos and a few longer, comprehensive seminars selected to provide an excellent education on critical components of emergency management.



P.O. Box 25

22054 Professional Drive,

Reed City MI 49677

Phone: 231 832-6172

Fax: 231 832-7354

Email: osceolaemd@gmail.com

Web: www.osceolaemd.us

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Nixle!

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