The Wright County Emergency Management Division mission is to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from any disaster, natural, man-made, or act of terrorism.
To protect life and property of the citizens of Wright County by comprehensive planning, equipping and training of personnel who have a significant role in responding to a disaster.
To provide coordination in the emergency management area to the overall county, this includes all 17 cities, 18 townships, schools and business/industry located within Wright County.
The division coordinates various emergency and non-emergency training, disaster exercises and administrative areas in conjunction with a county-wide emergency management system.
History of Emergency Management
The concept of Emergency Management can be traced back to the Congressional Act of 1803. This act, generally considered to be the first piece of disaster legislation, provided assistance to a New Hampshire town following an extensive fire. In the century that followed, legislation was passed more than 100 times in response to natural disasters.
In the 1940's, the emphasis began to be placed on civilian defense. At that time, most activities were concentrated at the coastlines of the United States for detection of enemy aircraft and coastal invasion.
In 1950's and 1960's, the "Cold War" between the United States and Soviet Union provided additional duties and responsibilities. The threat of atomic warfare resulted in the Civil Defense agencies being charged with providing information on surviving an atomic attack.
It wasn't until the 1960's and 1970's that federal response and recovery took on new meaning. Starting with Hurricane Carla in 1962, a series of natural disasters occurred: Hurricane Betsy, an Alaskan earthquake, Hurricane Camille and the San Fernando earthquake. These events forced new legislation and the Disaster Relief Act was established. This piece of legislation birthed the process of Presidential disaster declarations.
In 1979 President Carter ordered the merging of the disaster related responsibilities under one name: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Along with numerous departments that were absorbed under FEMA, Civil Defense was also transferred from the Defense Department's Defense Civil Preparedness Agency. This transfer was due to FEMA'S "all-hazards" approach, where a full spectrum of emergencies from small events to war, would include similar activities to include direction, control and warning.
The terrorists' attack of September 11, 2001 changed the focus of FEMA from not only disaster relief and recovery, but also national preparedness and homeland security. In 2003, FEMA joined other agencies to become the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). FEMA is now one of four branches under DHS. Its focus is to prepare, prevent, respond and recover from disasters with a vision of "A Nation Prepared."