Emergency Preparedness for Washington County, Kansas

New Link to IRIS (Immediate Response Information System) Registration

The County Board of Commissioners of Washington County, Kansas has the responsibility to protect the inhabitants of the county from the hazards of natural or man made disasters and to provide for the mobilization, organization and direction of the populace during times of hostile military or paramilitary actions and in connection with those duties, the Board of County Commissioners deemed it necessary and expedient to establish and maintain a disaster agency responsible for emergency management and direction of response to disasters, which shall include an Emergency Management Office and an Emergency Management Director for Washington County.

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

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

BE READY TO RESPOND TO AN EMERGENCY

Preparedness is the best prevention. Here are some things that you can do in order to be “Ready to Respond” to any emergency.

Practice your Emergency Plan at home and at work.  What is your plan for tornadoes?  For Floods?   For chemical spills?

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
Butane lighter
Tools to shut off utilities
Tape, paper and pencil
Soap and liquid detergent
Toilet Paper
Personal hygiene items
First Aid kits

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 utilities off.

Check your fire extinguishers.
Are they stored in the right places?  Test your smoke detectors monthly.

Keep your contact information up-to-date.
Keep copies in your Disaster Kit, car, purse/wallet, and with a neighbor or relative.

Your local Emergency Management Office has free brochures about Disaster preparations and/or assembling a disaster kit.

SEVERE WEATHER
WATCHES and WARNINGS

A WATCH identifies a relatively large area in which flash floods or severe storms might occur.  Watches are quite often issued before any severe weather has developed.  Severe Thunderstorm   and Tornado Watches usually include an area 140 miles wide by about 200 miles long.

A WARNING is issued when severe weather has already developed and has been reported by storm spotters or indicated by radar.  Warnings are statements of imminent danger and are issued for relatively small areas near the severe storm or flood.

OUTDOOR WARNING DEVICES (SIRENS)
FOR WASHINGTON COUNTY

Sirens are designed as a means of warning the population outdoors.  They are not designed to be heard inside your home or business.  When stormy weather is prevalent you are responsible for your own protection by staying informed either through television, your local radio station or weather alert radio.

All towns in have outdoor warning devices and are radio-activated by the Communications Office or can be manually set off in case of a power shortage.

REMEMBER . . . DO NOT DEPEND ON THE SIRENS,
If you have no electricity, the siren can not be set off by the Communication Center or if the Communication Center looses power, they are unable to activate your siren, therefore, keep a watch on the weather. The tornado warning is a solid three minute blast followed immediately by another solid three minute blast.  Please remember that NO ALL CLEAR siren will be sounded.  If a second set of 3 minute blasts is heard, that would indicate that another tornado has been spotted and you should remain in your shelter area.


Links for additional information:
Kansas Emergency Management
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Environmental Protection Agency
Kansas Department of Health and Environment
Kansas Emergency Management Association
Volunteer Organizations: List of organizations
American Red Cross
Salvation Army
United Way
National Weather Service Internet Weather
The Weather Channel, Local Conditions and Radar

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