Emergency Management



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What is Emergency Management?

The role of emergency management is to protect lives, property, and environment from natural and/or human-made disasters through preparation, mitigation, response and recovery and to maximize the protection and promotion of public safety, health and welfare during large-scale emergencies.

Importance of Emergency Planning

It's important for everyone to plan for a disaster. Disasters can strike quickly and without warning. What will you do for food? How will you communicate with family members? What medications do you need? What will you do with your pet? Where do you go if you aren't home?  How can you help your community? Many questions need to be answered and every family has a variety of needs that they will be concerned about. Some planning on your part could play a large role in protecting you, your family, and your community.


What Does the Emergency Management Division Do?

The division's role is to protect and serve St. Louis County residents, guests, and neighbors in all areas of emergency management. By creating emergency plans, connecting and working alongside partners, finding solutions to potential hazards, and directly responding to the unexpected, this goal is possible. A variety of resources are available below to learn more on information available in regard to emergency preparedness and response.



Evacuation Map - Emergency Services Hub

For information on current hazards visit the Emergency Services Hub which includes the St. Louis County Evacuation Map.

Community Response Opportunities

St. Louis County Rescue Squad

The Rescue Squad is a group of volunteers affiliated with the Sheriff's Office trained in a variety of specialized skills for needs in wilderness search and rescue, boat and water safety, first aid, and public safety.

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (R.A.C.E.S)

The St. Louis County R.A.C.E.S. organization consists of volunteer Amateur Radio Operators (HAM's) trained in radio operations to assist in operations requiring emergency back-up communications.

Hazards, Emergencies, and Disasters

Although Minnesota's geological environment makes it unlikely to deal with issues such as hurricanes or seismic earthquakes, it's still important to be aware of a variety of hazards, emergencies, and disasters that may occur in the area.

  • A hazard is something with potential danger; an emergency is an incident requiring response to protect life or property; and a disaster is an event that has resulted in severe damage, death, and/or multiple injuries.
  • Natural hazards are phenomena presented by the physical world. In Minnesota, natural hazards such as wind, thunderstorms/lightning, tornadoes, floods, fire, extreme cold, heat waves, drought, snow, and ice are historically prominent depending upon the time of year and weather conditions.
  • Technological hazards originate from technological/industrial accidents, infrastructure failures, or human activities. Such situations can occur from pollution, nuclear radiation, dam failures, toxic waste, transportation accidents, structure fires, chemical spills, or other similar hazards. These hazards can directly arise as a result of impacts from natural hazards and/or human-made incidents/events.

For more information, visit Disasters and Emergencies (Ready.gov) or FEMA's Full Suite of All Hazard Info Sheets

Individual Assistance

The Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides financial and direct services to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster, who have uninsured or under-insured necessary expenses and serious needs. This includes temporary housing, repair or replacements on homes and privately-owned access routes, hazard mitigation assistance, and other under-insured disaster-caused expenses.


Other information in regard to Individual Assistance, including small business needs, can be found here:

Individual Assistance (FEMA.gov)

Disaster assistance | U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov)


The Disaster Assistance Improvement Program’s (DAIP) is a DHS program set in place to provide disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance. The website has resources to find and apply for disaster assistance, housing, food and nutrition needs, SBA loans, among other necessities.

Making an Emergency Action Plan

Emergency plans are your guide to knowing what to do when the unexpected occurs. These plans will allow you and your household to be more prepared for emergencies and provide a better chance of minimal injury, if not also survival. 

It's important to know the types of hazards/disasters that can occur in the area when making emergency plans. Other important considerations are how you will receive emergency alerts and updates (especially if cell phone signal and internet isn't available), shelter, evacuation routes, how your family will communicate if separated, the specific needs of you and your household (e.g., disabilities), what you will do with any pets, and having an emergency kit built for several days for survival. Consider how your plans may change depending on which hazard/disaster happens.

Go through and practice the plans with your household. Update plans and emergency kits as needed.

For more information, visit Make A Plan (Ready.gov)

Pets During Disasters

If you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them too. Leaving pets behind, even if you try to create a safe place for them, is likely to result in their being injured, lost, or worse. So, prepare now for the day when you and your pets may have to leave your home.

There are precautions you can take to increase your pets' chances of survival, but they are not a substitute for evacuating with your pets.

For more information, visit Prepare Your Pets for Disasters (Ready.gov) or The Humane Society of the United States


Region 2 Pet Disaster Relief Trailer
St. Louis County is home to the Minnesota HSEM Region 2 regional Pet Disaster Trailer equipped to supply an emergency pet shelter. The trailer and equipment were provided by a grant through AKC Reunite. The Duluth Kennel club sponsored the grant request for the region and also donated $1000 towards the project.
The trailer includes, crates, leashes, collars, bowls, chip reader, cleaning supplies, generator, portable lighting and other needed supplies to operating the shelter. St. Louis County is working with Animal Allies of Duluth to staff and run the shelter in the event of an emergency.

Here's an additional news story with more information:
Shelter from the storm for pets, too (Duluth News Tribune)

Public Assistance

  FEMA’s Public Assistance Program provides supplemental grants to state, tribal, territorial, and local governments, and certain types of private non-profits so communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies. General information can be found at the following link:

Assistance for Governments and Private Non-Profits After a Disaster (FEMA.gov)


Information regarding the current eligible work and equipment rates are included below:

FEMA Categories and Examples of Common Eligible Work (mn.gov)

Schedule of Equipment Rates (FEMA.gov)


Other documents, including both Federal and State Public Assistance Damage Indicators forms, can be found on the HSEM website:

Emergency Managers Resources - Forms and Documents (mn.gov)

Register for Emergency Alerts

St. Louis County uses an emergency notification system to alert the public about emergencies and other important community news.  Through NorthlandAlert, anyone can subscribe to receive emergency notices by phone, text and/or email. NorthlandAlert enables officials to provide essential information quickly when there is a threat to the health and safety of residents.

To receive notices from NorthlandAlert, you must sign-up and provide the contact information you wish us to use. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
NorthlandAlert is done in partnership with the cities of Duluth, Hermantown, Hibbing and Virginia. On the subscription page, you also will have the option to sign up for notices from these cities.


Sheriff's Office Emergency Management Division

In emergency or to file a report, call 911

All contacts


A national public service campaign with information to help citizens be informed, organized and connected on emergency preparedness.
Division under the Minnesota Department of Public Safety assisting communities prepare, respond, and recover from emergencies and disasters.
Federal agency under the United States Department of Homeland Security issued to assist and provide resources to state and local authorities in preparation for and in response to declared disasters.