Emergency Management Home

Contact Information

201 4th Street SE
Rochester, Mn 55904 (Map)

Phone: 507-328-2800
Fax: 507-328-2829

Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Department Contacts

Emergency Management - EOC

About Emergency Management

What is the purpose of emergency management?  Disasters are when emergencies affect everyone at the same time.  The City of Rochester has police, fire, and others to handle emergencies.  Disasters spread help very thin.  Emergency management is the art of getting help to those who need it most.  The City of Rochester Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will open to manage disasters.

Who is in charge – There is a saying used by emergency managers - "low is in control".  This means the incident commander on the scene knows what is going on, and what is needed to handle the emergency.  When disaster strikes, most people just want help.  In the City of Rochester, help comes from firefighters, police officers, Public Works, RPU, Parks, EMS, and whoever is needed.  The police or fire commander will be in charge of the emergency. They are on site and know what is needed to make the emergency better. 

What is the role of emergency management?  If a fire or police commander is in charge, why is city or county emergency management needed?  A disaster is when many, many emergencies happen at the same time.  Sometimes, resources can be in short supply.  Resources needed for a disaster could be emergency services, such as ambulances, firefighters, or police officers.  Resources also include things like generators, sandbags, or street barricades.  When resources are in short supply, they need to go to the most important area first.  The priority for sending scarce resources is places where people are hurt and need emergency care.  The next priority is restoring order.  The last priority is protecting property. 
In a disaster, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) determines which areas to send scarce resources.  When there is not enough to go around, emergency officials gather information to get the big picture of the disaster needs.  By looking at everything that needs help, emergency officials at the EOC determine where to send help first, next, and last.
To understand this idea a little better, watch is short video on the Essential Emergency Manager.

Can you prepare for a disaster?  First, to make sure you are prepared, take small steps each month to get ready.  Help might be delayed due to the number of emergencies that happen all at once.  There are things you can do to help you and your family to get ready.  To prepare a little each month, go to Do1Thing.com

Our Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles

The mission of City of Rochester Emergency Management provides coordinated disaster response to meet the immediate health and safety needs of citizens and protect the public from harmful effects of hazards.  Our vision is create a comprehensive emergency management system that works.  
We have three core goals:
  • Develop effective emergency response
  • Create a disaster resilient community
  • Build community partnerships

Here are the guiding principles we use to get these things done:

All disasters are local and should be managed at the lowest jurisdictional level, and at the lowest level within the jurisdiction, in accordance with Minnesota State law and Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) policy

We will seek the involvement of all who are engaged in disaster management and develop effective partnerships so all can achieve our mission

We understand true disasters are few and far between and seek to hone disaster skills by frequent Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activation to emergency responses - small and large

We will maintain awareness of hazards and seek to prevent and mitigate (minimize) effects of recognized hazards

We will leave room for emergence as new hazards may become evident and require an unanticipated response

We seek to develop a culture of preparedness for our responders, our citizens, and our community

We will build the capability to respond to any emergency, including the ability to warn the public of impending harm

We aim to match actions during emergency response to words used in emergency planning

We believe learning is a continuous process and seek continuous improvement through lessons learned and application of best practices

Our Service Area

City of Rochester Emergency Management service area - defined by the Emergency Management Act - is the city limits of Rochester. In addition to the city, Rochester Fire, Police, Public Utilities, and Public Works Departments provide assistance to SE Minnesota as requested, such as the Police Emergency Response Unit, and Fire Department Chemical Assessment Team, and Structural Collapse Team. 
Outside the City of Rochester, emergency coordination is provided by Olmsted County Homeland Security and Emergency Management.  (Homeland Security and Emergency Management is known by the abbreviation HSEM.)  The City has an agreement with Olmsted County HSEM to trigger the sirens during a tornado warning.  In other events, City emergency management will handle disasters in the city, and County emergency management will handle emergencies in Byron, Stewartville, Oronoco, Eyota, Dover, and areas of the Olmsted County outside the City of Rochester.