The Ottawa County Department of Emergency Management
Coordinator & LEPC Vice Chairperson: Marie V. Ballou
Deputy Coordinator: Sheriff Keith Coleman
307 N. Concord, Ste 109
Minneapolis, Kansas 67467
Office Telephone 785-392-3600
Cell phone number: 785-392-7096
Fax number: 785-392-3605
We still have NOAA weather radios available for the reduced price of $7.85 at the Emergency Management Office.
The storm spotter talk put on by the National Weather Service will be held on Wednesday March 12, 2014, 7:00 pm at the Ottawa County Courthouse Basement Meeting Room!
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.
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.
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.