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.


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


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.


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!


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.


Do 1 Thing in February

Last month we informed you about “Do 1 Thing,” an exciting web-based program designed to prepare your family for emergencies throughout the year. We hope you were able to participate in the January theme of “Make a Plan.” If not, we encourage you to take part in next month’s theme: “Water.”

Water is an essential element to survival and a necessary item in an emergency supply kit. During the month of February, take action to store three days’ worth of water for your household.

“Do 1 Thing” offers the following list of ways to achieve this goal:

  • Purchase and store a 72-hour supply of commercially bottled water;
  • Bottle a 72-hour supply of water at home; or
  • Learn how to provide a safe supply of drinking water for your household in a disaster.

By completing one of these actions, you’ll be better prepared for the unexpected.  Also, you will be participating in America’s PrepareAthon!, a national campaign to prepare for hazards specific to your community through drills, group discussions, and exercises. Register your action on the campaign’s website.  Be counted among the two million preparedness actions already taken by families, businesses, and organizations across the country leading up to National PrepareAthon! Day on April 30, 2015.



November 3, 2014

Linn County completes installation of six additional outdoor warning sirens in rural Linn County

Sirens to be tested Nov. 5 as part of regular monthly test

LINN COUNTY, IA – November 3, 2014 – Linn County has completed the installation of six outdoor warning sirens in rural Linn County. In a contract approved by the Linn County Board of Supervisors in August, the six additional outdoor warning sirens will provide coverage for several areas, including some campgrounds. The areas covered by the sirens include approximately 11,000 properties and 2,100 residents.

The new sirens will be tested the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 5 as part of the monthly siren activation test performed by the Linn County Emergency Management Agency.

“We want residents living near the new sirens to be aware of them and to know that the sirens will be activated the first Wednesday of every month as part of our ongoing monthly test, beginning November 5,” said Mike Goldberg, director of Linn County’s Emergency Management Agency.

To help inform area residents of the installation and the upcoming test, the Emergency Management Agency will use its mass notification system on Tuesday to call residents listed in the 911 database and living within a two-mile radius of the new sirens.

Goldberg emphasizes that outdoor warning sirens are used for situational awareness and are not intended to be heard indoors. Their purpose is to alert people who are outdoors of potentially hazardous conditions and to seek shelter and additional information about the warning through the local media. EMA is working to code the sirens to activate only for emergencies in the affected area, but currently all six new sirens will activate even if they are not in the area of concern.

“For example, if the siren in Pinicon Ridge Park near Central City is activated for a tornado warning, the siren located south of the Airport National Golf Course will also be activated,” said Goldberg. “We are working to address that issue, but it’s another reminder for people to check the local media to find out why the sirens are sounding.”

The new sirens were installed at the following locations:

1)      Horseshoe Falls Road in Pinicon Ridge Park west of Central City

2)      near the intersection of Troy Mills Road and Shore Lane south of Troy Mills

3)      along Wapsi Ridge Drive near Hitaga Sand Ridge Prairie Preserve

4)      near the intersection of County Road W54 and Walford Road north of Western

5)      along Whittier Road north of Whittier

6)      near the intersection of Stone Road and Highway 151 west of Springville

The total cost of the six sirens and the installation is $146,717. Linn County received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division to fund the sirens. The cost is shared by FEMA, the State of Iowa, and Linn County. Linn County’s portion, which is $22,007, will be paid from the county’s rural services levy.

Activation of Sirens

The Linn County Emergency Management Agency reminds the public of the following criteria for the sounding of its outdoor public notification warning sirens:

Severe Weather


  • Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service and/or
  • Tornado or funnel cloud reported by a trained spotter

Severe Thunderstorms

  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued by the National Weather Service or report received from a trained spotter that includes:
    • wind 70 mph or greater, or
    • golf ball sized hail or larger

Local Life-threatening Events

Non-weather emergencies (hazmat incident, terrorism, nuclear emergency, etc.) that pose a threat to those outdoors and require action to protect life.

All Clear

There will be no “all clear” signal from outdoor warning sirens.


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


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.


Active Shooter Information

The Linn County Emergency Management Agency hosted ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter and escape) training on February 25 and 26.  Representatives from hospitals, schools, and law enforcement agencies throughout Linn, Benton, Jones, and Johnson counties took part in this two-day training program that included classroom and realistic “active shooter” scenarios.   This training is designed to assist schools, businesses, law enforcement, and other entities with planning and reacting to armed intruders.  Click here for the story from the Cedar Rapids Gazette. 2012 IA School Safety Guide

Earlier this year, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division put in place a new school safety guide to assist schools in making plans and establishing procedures to make their facilities, students and staff safer.  This guide covers a variety of emergencies, including how to respond to an intruder with a gun who enters their school intending to do harm.  VIEW THE 2012 SCHOOL SAFETY GUIDE

Active Shooter Awareness Video The City of Houston developed a training video on active shooter response based on guidance from the Department of Homeland Security.  Click here to watch. Year-Round Weather Radio Programing Service Linn County Emergency Management Agency will provide year-round assistance with programming or re-programming of weather alert radios.   It is important that alert radios be functioning year-round and not forgotten after the severe weather season.  These alert radios are a proven tool in the public warning system and we want to help citizens keep them in good working order throughout the year. A resident with a programming issue with a weather alert radio anytime during the year should call 319-892-6503 to make arrangements with Brad Ransford, Logistics Officer.

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