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Welcome to the Linn County Emergency Management Agency

Linn Co. EMAWe are the “what if” agency?  What if the “it can’t happen here” happens?   The mission of the Linn County Emergency Management Agency is to assure the coordination of the activities of City and County government, State and Federal entities, citizens, businesses, adjacent jurisdictions, and other disaster partners, to prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate major emergencies and disasters within Linn County.

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FEMA Safe Rooms

Having a FEMA safe room or International Code Council 500 storm shelter in your home or small business can help provide near-absolute protection for your family or employees during extreme weather events such as tornadoes and hurricanes, but safe rooms must be built correctly to ensure occupants are protected from injury or death.

In the FEMA publication, “Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business,” FEMA provides specifications on how to properly design and build a safe room. These guidelines offered in this publication must be met to be considered a FEMA safe room. This document also outlines how to modify a home or business to add a safe room to an existing space.

If you have questions about building a safe room, contact the FEMA Safe Room Helpline at saferoom@fema.dhs.gov. You can also check out this list of Frequently Asked Questions.

In addition to having a safe room, there are other ways to prepare for disasters. America’s PrepareAthon! offers valuable information about severe weather events that may impact your community this season, including tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and floods.

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Smart Time to use Smart Phones – Weather Awareness Aids Safety

Cedar Rapids – “Preparation for a severe weather event begins with each individual,” stated Mike Goldberg, Linn County Emergency Management Director. “Emergency preparedness succeeds through the awareness and collective effort of every resident and business in our county. I encourage everyone to take advantage of apps that are available that send text, email and even voice notices that warn of threatening severe weather in the area. There are many apps for smart phones and computers, some are free.  Our local Linn Alerts system is programmed to send notices to registered users and all phone landlines within the alert area when a TORNADO WARNING has been issued.”

This system will also be used to notify the public of pending local emergencies or when there is a need to take a protective action. http://entry.inspironlogistics.com/linncounty_ia/wens.cfm

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Ready to Go Off Grid

Due to the recent winter storms several communities across the county have experienced dangerous utility outages. Beyond the initial inconvenience, loss of electricity, gas or water can be life threatening. It is critical to know how you and your family can prepare and stay safe in the event of a utility outage.

Use FEMA’s free, online activity module, “Going Off Grid: Utility Outages,” to reference simple steps to get prepared for an outage. Some utility outage checklist items include:

  • Document important phone numbers and vital power company information;
  • Locate and label your utility shutoffs; and
  • Have your disaster kit ready and stocked.

The “Going Off Grid: Utility Outages” activity module is part of FEMA’s “Preparedness Activities for Communities Everywhere” tools, which educate individuals about easy ways to become prepared for all types of hazards. The tools are designed for anyone to use in coordination with local emergency preparedness partners to help better prepare for emergencies.

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Wireless Emergency Alerts

Have you ever noticed a unique sound and vibration coming from your cell phone?  You may have received aWireless Emergency Alert (WEA) – a nationwide emergency alert system notifying you of a pending emergency in your area. These messages provide information about extreme weather warnings, local emergencies, AMBER Alerts™, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.

WEAs look like a text message and show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. If you receive a WEA, follow any directions advised by the message and seek additional information from local media or authorities.

WEAs are sent by authorized government agencies through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service.

WEA messages can save lives! To learn more check, out FEMA’s WEA Public Service Announcements and the Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings guide from America’s PrepareAthon!

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Food Safety During Blackouts

Loss of power can jeopardize the safety of the food stored in your home refrigerator or freezer. In the event of a blackout, do you know how to determine if your food is safe to eat? The U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) offers tips to minimize the potential loss of food and lower the risk of foodborne illness.

Before a blackout:

  • Gather an emergency supply of shelf-stable food, packaged foods, boxed or canned milk, bottle water, and canned goods;
  • Have coolers and frozen gel packs on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power goes out longer than four hours; and
  • Keep freezer items close together—this helps the food stay cold longer.

Bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The USDA instructs setting your refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the power is out for less than four hours and the refrigerator door is kept closed, your food should be safe.

Following a blackout:

  • Discard any perishable food items such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers that have been exposed to temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more;
  • Use a food thermometer to test the temperature of food – never taste it!  You can’t rely on appearance and odor to determine whether food is safe; and
  • Discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat, seafood, or poultry juices.

Power outages can occur anywhere at any time of the year. Make sure you and your family are prepared and know what to do to avoid getting sick.

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Sign up for Linn Alerts! We will notify you in the event of an emergency or tornado warning. The system provides a voice, text, and/or email alert to the number provided by you.

This is a free service provided by Linn County; however, normal messaging fees may be applied by your service provider. To receive text messages to your cell phone, your cell phone must have text messaging capabilities. NOTE: Linn County cannot guarantee notifications will be received by the intended recipient as notifications are dependent upon external providers (phone carrier, cell phone provider, email service, etc.). By registering below, you will not receive unsolicited calls, and neither the County nor its system vendor sells the contact number database.

SIGN UP BELOW: TO SIGN UP, PLEASE ENTER THE IDENTIFYING INFORMATION AND HIT “REGISTER”. For each phone number indicate if a voice or text message is desired. If both are desired, enter the same phone number twice indicating “text” for one and “voice” for the other. The “voice” message is a computer-generated voice.

Alerts sent from Linn County Alerts will originate from (319) 892-5911 for voice notifications, 69310 for text messages, and LinnAlerts@linncounty-ema.org for emails. Please be sure to save these in your address book.

SIGN UP AT: http://entry.inspironlogistics.com/linncounty_ia/wens.cfm

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Severe Weather Refresher

With our entry into this severe weather season our agency would like remind people to be prepared.  Being prepared and acting quickly could be a matter of survival.  BE Alert!  Listen to the weather forecast on radio or television and obtain a NOAA Weather Radio.

In Linn County the outdoor warning sirens will be sounded for  tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings with 70 mph winds or greater or golf ball size hail or larger.  If the outdoor warnings sound SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY and tune in to local radio, television, or use your NOAA Weather Radio to listen for emergency information.

Shelter Options:

In a structure go to a predesignated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level, away from corners, windows, doors, or outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.

In a vehicle, trailer, or mobile home–GET OUT IMMEDIATELY and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

If caught outside lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Do NOT get under an overpass or bridge; you are safer in low flat location. Watch out for flying debris, this is the biggest cause of fatalities and injuries

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