Berrien County and the Berrien County Health Department prepare for natural and man-made disasters and emergencies using the All-Hazards approach. The mission of emergency preparedness agencies today is much broader than the mission given the predecessor “civil defense” agencies of the 1950s and 60s. Today’s emergency response agencies respond to almost all disasters and emergencies that may occur. These include natural disasters such as disease, blizzards, flooding, tornadoes, and power outages as well as man-made and homeland security/terrorism-type incidents.
Man-made hazards include Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and other Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) such as toxic industrial chemicals (TIC) such as chlorine gas and toxic industrial materials (TIM) such as mercury.
In the United States each year, natural disasters cause hundreds of deaths and cost billions of dollars in disaster aid, disruption of commerce, and destruction of homes and critical infrastructure. Although the number of lives lost to natural hazards each year generally has declined, the economic cost of major disaster response and recovery continues to rise. Berrien County response agencies including the Berrien County Health Department plan and train together to prepare to respond to these and other natural disasters.