Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Ottawa County Department of Emergency Management 

Ottawa County Emergency Management has a special Weather Radio program which offers Midland WR-120 Weather Radios for a special price of $25.00 each.  Ottawa County Emergency Management will also provide free programming of weather radios new or old if brought to the courthouse.  The new Midland WR-120 Weather Radios are available to everyone and can be purchased at the following locations:

Ottawa County Emergency Management Office - Programming & radios

Bennington City Hall - radios only

Delphos City Hall - radios only

Tescott City Hall - radios only


Coordinator & LEPC Vice Chairperson: Marie V. Ballou

Deputy CoordinatorSheriff Keith Coleman

 Mailing Address:

307 N. Concord, Ste 109

Minneapolis, Kansas 67467

email: ocemballou@ymail.com

Office Telephone 785-392-3600

Cell phone number:  785-392-7096

Fax number: 785-392-3605 


The Ottawa County Emergency Management Department exists to help citizens and local governments mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters. 

Our responsibilities include: developing and maintaining the Ottawa County Emergency Operations Plan, coordinating responses of public and private assistance during disasters and resource coordination following disasters. 

We are available to speak to any civic group, public or private business, school, etc. on emergency preparedness issues.

Ottawa County Emergency Management has American Red Cross Clean Up Kits available for those affected by the storms and flooding during the month of May 2019.  You can come in or contact Marie Ballou at 785-392-3600 to obtain one.  

Message from Kansas Department of Health and Environment regarding West Nile Virus.

The entire state is listed as at "Moderate" risk of West Nile Virus (http://www.kdheks.gov/epi/download/westnile_archive/2019/WNV_Risk_Level_Week_201921.pdf. 

This means that "there is a moderate probability of being bitten by a WNV mosquito." Floods throughout the state will cause an increase in the mosquito populations over the next several weeks. An increase in temperatures mean it will take less time for mosquitoes to mature from eggs to biting adults. We expect an increase in risk of West Nile virus transmission over the next several weeks.

Kansas West Nile Virus Weekly Surveillance and Transmission Risk Report - Week Ending June 1, 2019

* Northwest: Moderate risk however all traps had a significant increase in the number of Culex species mosquitoes trapped this week. We also had an increase in flood water mosquitoes.

* North Central: Moderate risk however all traps had a significant increase in the number of Culex species mosquitoes trapped this week. We also had an increase in flood water mosquitoes.

* Northeast: Moderate risk. There was a decrease in the number of Culex species mosquitoes from the previous week and no traps had>40 Culex species mosquitoes. However, Culex species were above the baseline from the previous two years. There was there was a significant increase in the number of flood water species of mosquitoes.

* Southwest: Moderate risk however all traps had a significant increase in the number of Culex species mosquitoes trapped this week. We also had an increase in flood water mosquitoes.

* South Central: Moderate risk however all traps had a significant increase in the number of Culex species mosquitoes trapped this week. We also had an increase in flood water mosquitoes.

* Southeast: Moderate risk due to greater than 40 Culex species mosquitoes trapped during this week.

Mosquito surveillance is critical to determine the types of mosquitoes; those are nuisance mosquitoes that bite people versus those mosquitoes that can spread diseases such as West Nile virus. If water cannot be drained larvicide can be used to control mosquito populations and is readily available at home improvement and farm supply stores. For more information on mosquito control:  https://www.epa.gov/mosquitocontrol. Kansas mosquito surveillance in 2019 occurs in three counties (Reno, Sedgwick, and Shawnee).

Mosquito Bite Prevention: Avoid mosquito bites by following the three D's:

* DRAIN - eliminate standing water where mosquitoes live and breed

o Empty standing water from tarps, old tires, buckets, and other places where rainwater collects. Use larvicide in low-lying areas where water cannot be removed.

o Refresh water for bird baths, pet bowls, and wading pools at least every three days.

*DRESS - cover your skin with clothing when outdoors

o Wear protective clothing when practical (long sleeves and pants).

o Limit outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active.

*DEET - use insect repellents that contact DEET or other EPA-approved repellents

o When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Siren Warnings for Ottawa County: 

Sirens are designed to be heard outdoors. If your residence is near a siren site, you may be able to hear the siren inside, but because of insulated walls, closed windows, air conditioners running or television and radio noise, this is not always the case. If weather is threatening, you should have a radio, television or weather radio on to monitor the situation and not relay solely on hearing the siren. If the tornado siren is activated, you should take cover immediately in a basement or storm shelter. Know where your local storm shelters are located if you do not have one in or near your home. If these are not available, seek cover in a room or closet towards the center of the house or building, preferably one with no windows. Take along a battery operated radio for weather updates and for information on when danger is passed. 
When storm clouds begin to gather, the sky becomes threatening and the National Weather Service issues advisories concerning turbulent weather conditions, area volunteer storm spotters, as well as city and county law enforcement personnel are out surveying the sky for possible tornadoes. 
If a tornado is spotted or if the National Weather Service issues a warning for Ottawa County, the outdoor sirens in the affected area are activated. The Ottawa County Sheriff’s office dispatcher can activate all of the sirens in Minneapolis and surrounding towns.  The tornado warning siren is a SOLID THREE MINUTE BLAST. Please remember that NO ALL CLEAR siren will be sounded. If a second three minute siren is heard, that would indicate that another tornado has been spotted and you should remain in your shelter area. 
Sirens used for fire alerts are usually several shorter blasts which may vary somewhat in different towns. Most towns sound the sirens at noon each day. This is a good way to test the equipment on a regular basis. A National Security alert siren is three wailing blasts then a solid three minute blast. 
Weather Radios are valuable tools and can awaken you with a loud alarm when severe weather is in the area. Every household, school or business should have a Weather Radio set in the alert mode at all times. They are relatively inexpensive and could save your life. The weather radios also have battery backup, in case of power failure, and the battery should be changed out periodically to maintain reliability.
Miscellaneous Information

Be Ready to Respond to Emergencies 

Preparedness is the best prevention. Here are some things that you can do in order to be “Ready to Respond” to any emergency. 
1.    Practice Your Emergency Plan at home and at work. What is your plan for tornadoes? For Floods? For chemical spills?
2.    Put together a disaster kit containing:
  • - Plastic containers of water

    - Canned food and other non-perishable food

    - A complete change of clothing and shoes for each person in your household

    - Battery operated radio with extra batteries

    - Flashlight and batteries

    - Non-electric can opener

    - Utility knife    

    - Matches in waterproof container or butane lighter

    - Tools to shut off utilities

    - Tape, paper, and pencil

    - Plastic sheeting

    - Soap and liquid detergent      

    - Toilet paper

    - Personal hygiene items

    - First Aid kit

3.      Inspect your utilities. Have the proper tools nearby in case you need to shut them off, and reacquaint yourself with the procedures on how to turn them off.
4.      Check your fire extinguishers. Are they stored in the right places? Test your smoke detectors monthly.
5.      Keep your contact information up-to-date and keep copies in your Disaster Kit, car, purse/wallet and with a neighbor or relative.
6.      Where are your important papers? Birth certificates, marriage certificates, legal documents, financial information, passports and other irreplaceable documents should be kept in a waterproof, fireproof container. 
Your local Emergency Management office has free brochures about disaster preparations, assembling a disaster kit etc.