Lt. Robert Kirk, Domestic
Domestic Preparedness: 269-657-7786
Michiganders Encouraged to Make an
during Preparedness Month
Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office’s and Van Buren County Office
of Domestic Preparedness is supporting emergency preparedness
initiatives and encourages Van Buren County residents to take
action to prepare. Agencies nationwide are uniting under the
banner, “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan
Today.” to encourage everyone to create a family communications
To learn more about emergency
preparedness, go to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office of
Domestic Preparedness website at
and also visit
We are asking residents to take the time and start by creating
an up-to-date plan that outlines who to call, what top bring and
where to go, and then share that plan with your family and
Residents are also
encouraged to know the hazards that affect their communities and
build an emergency supply kit.
households should be self-reliant for at least three days by
building an emergency preparedness kit supplied with food, water
and medications. During an emergency or disaster, critical
services—such as electricity, water service or access to grocery
stores—can be impacted and response for police, fire and rescue
personnel could be significantly delayed.
Take action by downloading the free Michigan Prepares Emergency
Plan App from the App Store for iPhone or the Google Play store
for Android. Created by the Michigan Department of Health and
Human Services, the app enables users to quickly create an
emergency plan on their mobile device in just a few steps.
An emergency or disaster may not happen tomorrow, but you will
be ready if it does. A prepared Michigan is a resilient
Take Small Steps
Towards Emergency Preparedness by Visiting
Preparing for a Winter
Governor Rick Snyder proclaimed November 1-7, 2015 as Winter Hazards
Michiganders encounter winter hazards that include icy roads,
frostbite, and over-exertion from snow removal.
Citizens may become injured or suffer property damage due to severe
winter weather that brings extreme cold, wind, heavy ice, and large
amounts of snow.
Severe weather requires
Michigan drivers to take extra precautions to ensure safe traveling
safely, such as weatherizing their vehicles in the late fall, which
includes checking the tire treads, topping off the windshield
washing solution, ensuring a proper mix of anti-freeze and water in
the coolant system and having an automotive professional check the
belts, hoses, tires, battery and coolant.
Citizens can prepare for severe weather by building an emergency
preparedness kit, which includes extra blankets and clothes, enough
nonperishable food items and water to last three days per person, a
first aid kit, medications, pet supplies, a National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio and extra batteries.
We encourage all to learn more about
winter safety and importance of winter emergency preparedness.
On average, a major winter storm hits part of Michigan at least once
per month between October and April. Since 1993, twenty-two persons have
died as a direct result of severe winter weather. This is in
addition to victims of auto accidents due to slippery roads and
those who suffer heart attacks while shoveling snow.
difference between a winter storm WATCH (conditions make the storm
possible) and winter storm WARNING (the storm is headed for your
WARNING means strong winds, blinding wind-driven snow, and dangerous
wind chill. Avoid driving and seek shelter.
2015-2016 Michigan Winter Hazards Awareness
Click here for frequently asked questions about
Click here for information on preparing for a
information on winter storms, see:
If you hear a steady siren of 3-5 minutes, go indoors and tune into
a local emergency alert system radio station:
WCXT – FM 98.3
WKPR – FM 103.3
WWMT – TV Kalamazoo
These station will broadcast special numbers to call with questions
DO NOT DIAL 911
Steady Siren lasting 3-5 minutes means it is a weather emergency,
nuclear power plant accident, chemical spill or other emergency.
Wavering Siren lasting 3-5 minutes indicates the need to take cover
from a foreign attack.
If you are told to:
Stay Indoors, close all vents,
windows and doors
EVACUATE: There is time for you to leave the area
safely. Know what to bring, where to go and possible routes to take
(which will be announced on the radio). Special Needs and
Handicapped Persons would be evacuated by emergency workers to a
congregate care center.
Click for more
information and safety tips:
FAMILY PREPAREDNESS GUIDE
This Family Preparedness Guide has been created to help you develop
an emergency plan, provide information on how to assemble a
Emergency Supply Kit, and provides specific contact telephone
numbers and websites you can use for emergency assistance.
MICHIGAN SEVERE AWARENESS PACKET
information including tornado facts, tornado and thunderstorm
safety tips, flood facts and insurance information, and National
Weather Service contacts.
for Van Buren County.
What to do in case of Tornados and High Winds - how to report
What to look for and the best places to take shelter, depending on
where you are located.
TORNADO SAFETY IN SCHOOLS
School-specific emergency plan information for tornado safety.
DRIVING IN A DISASTER (Safety Tips for Motorists in
What to do if you are in a vehicle during a flood or tornado.
HOME FIRE SAFETY
Guidelines for preventing fires and preparing an emergency plan
for your family.
EXTINGUISHER - Questions & Answers.
Advice from the American Red Cross on when and if to use a fire
How to practice wildfire safety, protect your home, and what to do
if evacuation is necessary.
Safety tips for winter travel and a checklist for a winter
emergency storm kit, for your vehicle.
FOOD IN AN EMERGENCY
How to prepare a 2-week food storage plan, in case of emergency.
Year End Report
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS TRAINING
Human Services/American Red Cross
individuals trained in R.E.P.
Office Road Patrol
South Haven Public Schools
Paw Paw Fire
This office participated in
4 quarterly communication drills with Palisades and the Michigan
State Police Emergency Management Division.
Developed a hostile action plan for Palisades
Nuclear Power Plant. The
Hostile Action Based Exercise took place in October requiring
Palisades Nuclear Plant and several agencies from numerous county,
surrounding counties, city and State of Michigan entities
come together to execute this drill. The drill was successful and
passed FEMA requirements.
EMERGENCY OPERATION PLAN
This county plan update began in March of 2015
and was completed in August 2015.
TRAINING & PRESENTATIONS
Skywarn Spotter training session for 2015 was held in March at the
Almena Township Hall, Paw Paw MI
were developed and delivered to the following agencies and
Radiological Emergency Preparedness Training
Lock down procedures presentations and actual drills for school
Senior Citizen’s Day at the ISD
awareness educational material was delivered to all schools, police
and fire departments and media outlets serving the county. Schools
that requested assistance with severe weather planning received it
through this office.
This division participated
in an several HAZMIT drills w/local businesses and continues to be
involved with the 5th
District Medical Coalition and exercises regularly with the medical
group. The Van Buren/Cass Health Department continues to work
closely with this division on issues relating to medical events
locally and statewide. This division was involved in four
communications drills with Palisades and State of Michigan and other
county Emergency Management Divisions within Region 5. Lock Down
drills and walkthroughs were done in school districts across the
INDUSTRIES & LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Our Local Emergency
Planning Committee reviewed the existing 54 plans. The LEPC continues
work on the remaining sites that are required to have plans. To date,
the LEPC has completed 51 approved plans and have completed one new
plan. There are 69 Tier 2 sites in the county.
This division updated the Emergency Operations
Plan for the Van Buren County Fair.
None in 2014.
Robert Kirk, Domestic Preparedness Coordinator, is a member of the
following committees or organizations and attends all meetings on a
County Fire Fighters Association
County Fire Chiefs Association
county-wide Departments of Public Works
Van Buren County R.A.C.E.S.
District Medical Response Coalition
Emergency Managers Association
Assisted the following schools with development of tornado plans,
Safe School planning and other school presentations:
Van Buren County Intermediate
Assisted with South Haven
2014 Homeland Security
2013 Homeland Security
MEMA Fall Conference
Liaison Officer Training
FEMA Rep Planning Course
Lt. Robert A. Kirk, Director ODP