Wisconsin Emergency Management – Hazard Mitigation Division

Internship Location: Madison, WI

Organization Type: State Government

Policy Areas: Housing and Environmental

This summer, and continuing into the fall, I have been working as a Hazard Mitigation Planner LTE with Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM). The Hazard Mitigation Department is a small team working within WEM as a part of the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs. Hazard Mitigation is a method of preparing for disasters and breaking the cycle of damage and repair by reducing or eliminating the long-term risk to human life and property from hazards. Wisconsin is particularly prone to severe thunderstorms, flooding, and temperature related events, but there are dozens of other hazards that impact the state, natural and otherwise. Localities use a variety of mitigation methods to reduce the loss of life or property damage, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a variety of grant programs to help subsidize these products. The Hazard Mitigation Department works as an intermediary between the two, facilitating applications for grants and working with localities on state hazard mitigation plans. My core projects increased usability of state planning documents and developed strategies for increasing technical scores for federal grant applications. Working for a state agency is primarily working on the implementation side of public policy, but I also worked with legislators and other policymaking entities to improve policy at the local, state, and national levels. I have learned a great deal about the rulemaking and regulatory side of policymaking in my brief time at WEM. So much of government impact comes in the form of implementation, and I got to see firsthand how much work there is to do once the law is written.