Local Hazards

There are different types of natural and man-made threats and hazards that could impact Berrien County at any time. The EMHSD coordinates a planning effort that identifies local threats and risks. The approach that is taken assesses possible threats and risks and puts them into context of frequency and severity. This assessment looks at both how frequently a known hazard has occurred in our area and also what the estimated impacts would be to property and people's safety if they were to occur. This information is also weighed against the counties' comprehensive master plan and includes the input from each local municipality, community groups, and local businesses to make an educated guess on what future impacts could be based upon growth and future land use.

natural Hazards

Natural hazards are naturally occurring physical phenomena caused by rapid or slow onset events that threaten lives, property, and other assets.

While there are several natural hazards that can cause significant property damage, interruption of services, personal injury, loss of life, and disrupt the stability of the local economy some are more likely to affect Berrien County.

man-made hazards

"Man-Made/Caused" incidents are different from natural hazards because they are caused by some human interaction; whether human induced intentionally or caused simply from an accident from a man made system.

TECHNOLOGICAL HAZARDS- Technological hazards are those that come from human activities such as the manufacture, transportation, storage, and use of hazardous materials.  For the sake of simplicity, our definition assumes that technological emergencies are accidental and their consequences are unintended.

TERRORISM OR OTHER CRIMINAL ACTS- The term "terrorism" refers to intentional, criminal, malicious acts.  There is no single, universally accepted definition of terrorism, and it can be interpreted in many ways. Officially, terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as "...the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." (28 CFR, Section 0.85).  In the State of Michigan, it is defined as means a willful and deliberate act that is all of the following:

  1. An act that would be a violent felony under the laws of this state, whether or not committed in this state.
  2. An act that the person knows or has reason to know is dangerous to human life.
  3. An act that is intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or influence or affect the conduct of government or a unit of government through intimidation or coercion. (MCL 750.543b)

Terrorism is usually further relates to the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons; or arson, incendiary, explosive, and armed attacks; or industrial sabotage and intentional hazardous materials releases; or "cyber-terrorism." Within these general categories, however, there are many variations of how and why an act of terrorism is committed.  Further, we tend to analyze whether the actor(s) of terrorism are connected to a foreign or domestic terror organization and also try to determine if that organization has a specific motivation or cause in which they are trying to progress.