By Anna Shei
December 7, 2020
When someone says Department of Homeland Security (DHS) most people think about the federal government’s terrorism prevention, immigration and citizenship agency. Did you know that Indiana has its own Department of Homeland Security (IDHS)?
IDHS leads Indiana’s emergency planning operations, first responder training, along with fire and building safety training programs. IDHS is also the primary training agency for first responders who work outside law enforcement. Follow along below as we break down a few of the ways IDHS uses your state tax dollars.
Training and Coordinating Emergency Medical Responders
Thankfully, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is always a phone call away during a medical emergency. EMS is a large, coordinated network of over 800 provider agencies that operate more than 2,000 motor vehicle and helicopter ambulances and manage approximately 24,000 emergency medical personnel. EMS responders provide services to over 2,000 Hoosiers per day. EMS is on the frontline of healthcare by adapting the Mobile Integrated Health model, a new model for patient-centered care, on the road or in the skies.
Helping During a Disaster
Speaking of emergencies, disasters can come up at any time and from a variety of sources. While every county has its own Emergency Management Agency that responds to local disasters, sometimes a response arises that needs additional help from IDHS. Thankfully, Hoosiers can count on IDHS’s Emergency Response and Recovery division to provide support, tools and resources to ensure Indiana is well-prepared for a crisis caused by Mother Nature or other means. The division operates a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center that acts as a communications hub for sharing information and managing logistics when local emergency management resources need additional support. Each county can lean on IDHS when needed to help them through these times to provide equipment, personnel and incident management.
The division also manages damage assessments and serves as the liaison to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) when the U.S. president declares an emergency or major disaster in Indiana.
Ensuring Buildings and Elevator Safety
Indiana State Fire Marshal works within IDHS to oversee areas such as building code enforcement, elevators and amusement ride inspections, fire investigations and training on hazardous materials, including radiation.
Additionally, the Indiana State Building Commissioner oversees branches of the building plan review and code services. Both individuals and their teams work to serve the community by ensuring your safety.
Distributing Funds to Keep Schools Safe
IDHS also manages the Secured School Safety Grant program. This program serves as a critical resource to make sure Hoosier children are safe in their school. Indiana schools use these funds to employ school resource officers, conduct a threat assessment, purchase safety equipment, training workshops and to help cover the cost active alert warning systems.
IDHS is ready to jump into action at a moment's notice. To learn more about the IDHS, visit their website in.gov/dhs.