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

Severe Weather Workshop

Severe Weather Response for Special Event Planners Workshop and Exercise
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
1:00 - 4:30 PM

City of Rochester Emergency Management Division is sponsoring a workshop for outdoor activity and special event planners.  Speakers from National Weather Service, Rochester Police, Rochester Emergency Management, and Olmsted County HSEM will help outdoor event planners with information and action steps to protect people from summer weather hazards.  Severe weather hazards include lightning, high winds that create flying debris, hail, and tornadoes. 

You should attend this workshop if you host large outdoor public events, are a coach or umpire, work at athletic events, or other situations where you want to learn more about what to do in severe summer weather.

To register, call Rochester Emergency Management at (507) 328-2824, or send an email with your name, phone, and email address to kjones@rochestermn.gov

Download Severe Weather Workshop flyer

In 2014, Take Small Steps Toward Being Prepared for a Disaster

 April 2014: Food


Learn what you can do to have a three day food supply.

An emergency food supply doesn’t have to sit on a shelf, ready for disaster to strike (although it can). It can be part of the food you use every day. The key to a good food storage plan is to buy ahead of time. Replace items before they run out. Buy items when they are on sale. 

Do 1 Thing is a 12-month program that makes it easy for you to prepare yourself, your family, and your community for emergencies or disasters. For more information on what you can to do this month to be better prepared, and to track your progress visit:


Are you prepared?  Use the quick, one-page checklist to see if you are prepared at home or in the car.

Prepare My Business

A business plan gets you ready for the future growth of your business.  In an unexpected crisis, a business continuity plan is needed to bounce back and keep your head above water.  The Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery Solutions are working together to encourage all small businesses to have a recovery plan in place.  Visit this website to learn how you can maintain Business As Usual, No Matter What

Independent Study Course: Protecting Your Home or Small Business From Disaster

Course Overview

The Emergency Management Institute is pleased to announce the newly revised independent study course, IS-394.a Protecting your Home or Small Business from Disaster. The course replaces IS-394 Mitigation for Homeowners.

Course Objectives:

The purpose of this course is to provide a foundation of knowledge that will enable participants to:

  • Describe different types of natural disasters

  • Describe hazards that pose a risk to their home or small business

  • Explain how protective measures can reduce or eliminate long-term risks to their home and personal property from hazards and their effects

  • Explain how protective measures for small businesses secure people, business property, and building structures and prevent business loss from a natural disaster

Primary Audience

The primary audience for IS-394.a, like its predecessor, is small business owners, homeowners, and individual citizens. It is presented in a non-technical format and includes protective measures that can reduce the negative consequences of disasters on homes or small businesses. (Click here to view this free course)

Rochester Alert

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Enroll to receive emergency alerts to your cell phone, home phone, text message and/or email.  It's free!

Emergency Alerts:  How you want them...when you need them

Learn more about Rochester Alert by reading Frequently Asked Questions

Active Shooter: What You Can Do

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers independent study course for your personal response to an active shooter incident.   This course is available to you at no charge, and will take less than one hour to complete, and you will receive a certificate free-of-charge.

Course Overview: 

An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and other populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.

All employees can help prevent and prepare for potential active shooter situations. This course provides guidance to individuals, including managers and employees, so that they can prepare to respond to an active shooter situation.

This course is not written for law enforcement officers, but for non-law enforcement employees. The material may provide law enforcement officers information on recommended actions for non-law enforcement employees to take should they be confronted with an active shooter situation.

Independent Study Course: IS-907 Active Shooter - What You Can Do

Flood Insurance - Do you need it?

Flooding is the #1 natural hazard in the United States.  The flood protection program by the City of Rochester greatly reduces the threat of river & stream flooding for city residents.  Still, the National Flood Insurance Program and the City of Rochester Emergency Management Division wants residents to know that while homeowners insurance won't cover against flooding, you can protect your home and property by purchasing a flood insurance policy.  To purchase a flood insurance policy, contact a local insurance agent.

Here is helpful information to guide you with a decision:

Learn about Flood Insurance Misconceptions, such as Does my homeowners insurance policy cover flooding?  Am I eligible for flood insurance?  Can I get flood insurance if I am renting?  Can I get flood insurance before floodwaters reach my house?  If I live in a low-risk zone, do I really need flood insurance? (and other answers)

Home contents coverage for residents living in high-risk areas

Flood Insurance: What it covers and What it doesn't

Take a look at this flood scenario (interactive video) to see different flood causes.  Or check out this measurement tool to see how much a flood could cost you.

Finally, we want you to know that every lender is required to identify the need for flood insurance as part of any property purchase.  New housing development is required to provide protections against the 100 year flood zone (rivers and streams).  If you want to learn more about flood risk your area, contact the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department.  Also, a wealth of information can be found at FloodSmart.gov - the official site of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Propane Shortage in Minnesota

Minnesota, along with many northern states, is suffering a shortage of propane gas supplies.  To address this shortage, Governor Dayton declared a State of Peacetime Emergency In The State of Minnesota.  The peacetime declaration allows the Governor to waive restrictions on drivers who deliver propane to suppliers throughout the State.  It also allows State agencies to offer assistance to Minnesota residents.  The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has been activated, and updated information on the propane shortage is available on the SEOC website.

Help is available.  You do not have to go this alone.  The Minnesota Department of Commerce is able to help by contacting the Energy Assistance section. Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) established a hotline to help you find money to pay for heating costs.  Recently, the financial threshold for emergency assistance has been expanded to 60% of median income households. If you are forced to make choices between paying for heat, or paying for medicine, call the Propane Shortage hotline. Emergency assistance is available for you.

Call the Energy Assistance Hotline (800) 657-3710 for information or assistance.  Many residents are calling every day.  The hotline is available from 9:00 am - 4:30 pm, and you can leave a message to have someone call you back.  Call the hotline to find out about money for heating, such as paying for propane refills, or to learn how to help your neighbor.

Safe Heating Tips from Rochester Fire Department

The propane shortage is projected to be a long-term problem due to very cold weather. Your safety is important. So is your health. Rochester Fire Department suggests these safe heating tips for your home.

Kerosene Heaters

·                   Kerosene heaters are legal in Rochester, and must be used in well-ventilated area.

  • Be sure your heater is in good working condition.
  • Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup.
  • Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over.
  • Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
  • Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel.
  • Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.
  • Never fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling.

Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors).

  • Keep young children away from space heaters—especially when they are wearing night gowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
  • When using a fuel burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.
  • Use a carbon monoxide detector and keep in the area of the kerosene heater

Wood Stoves and Fireplaces

Wood stoves and fireplaces are becoming a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize their fire hazard.

To use them safely:

  • Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly.
  • Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36”) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
  • Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be laboratory tested.
  • Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants
  • Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.
  • Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.

Furnace Heating

·                   It is important that you have your furnace inspected to ensure that it is in good working condition.

  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  • Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists.
  • Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
  • Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.
  • Is the chimney solid, with cracks or loose bricks?
  • All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.

Other Fire Safety Tips

·                   Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.

  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit.
  • Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry an amp load. TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
  • Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space. Use hot water or a laboratory tested device such as a hand held dryer for thawing.
  • If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all the windows open easily and use home escape ladders were recommended.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located.
  • Be sure every level of your home has a working CO and smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean them on a monthly basis.
  • Plan and practice a home fire escape plan with your family.

·                   Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.

Hoover Jedi First Lego League - How to Prevent Hypothermia

The Hoover Jedi First Lego League team participated in the Nature's Fury competition.  This group of 4th and 5th grade team members decided to create an education video on How to Prevent Hypothermia.  You can watch the animated video here.

Why are Sirens Sounding?

Winter Siren Test Schedule Begins October 2, 2013

Siren Test Day is Wednesday morning in Rochester. Sirens are a way to alert you to go indoors and seek shelter.  A siren system is used to alert people outdoors of tornados, or other life-threatening conditions.  When you hear a siren, go indoors and tune to local news for more information.  Another source for updated information is Rochester Alert website.

Fall/Winter test schedule:  Partial 1 minute test first Wednesday morning (October - March).  Growl test on remaining Wednesday mornings at 10 am.

What is a growl test? Is the siren broken?

During late fall and winter, a "growl" test is performed 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Wednesdays.  A growl test momentarily starts the siren, and quickly shuts down.  It might seem like the siren is broken, but if heard during late fall/winter, it's just a growl test.

Siren system test is every Wednesday morning at 10 am.  Testing the system allows us to make sure sirens will work when needed. 

Summer test schedule:  Full 3 minute test first & third Wednesday mornings (April - September) at 10 am.

From April through September, a full 3 minute siren test will be heard the first & third Wednesday mornings, weather permitting.  This is a routine test to ensure the sirens operate when needed.  On the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Wednesdays, a quick "growl" test happens. Questions? Contact usSiren

Weather Radio

Consider using a weather radio.  An emergency weather radio is like a smoke alarm, and will alert you in times of bad weather.  Emergency information will be picked up 24 hrs/day, you can hear them inside (sirens are made to warn people outdoors), and the emergency message will come directly from the National Weather Service.  There are many types of emergency weather radios to choose from - consult this handy guide from NWS La Crosse

Today, an emergency weather radio send alerts for many different emergencies.  In Rochester, you could receive an alert for a train accident with a chemical leak.  Authorities can send messages to the weather radio to let you know if it is best to stay inside (and out of toxic air), or get out before things get worse.  Non-weather emergency messages are important, and make the emergency weather radio a valuable tool.

Identity Theft: Reduce Your Risk of Becoming a Victim

Up to 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Although nothing can guarantee that you won't become a victim, there are things you can do to help minimize your risk, including:
  • Guarding your Social Security number.
  • Shredding documents with personal information before disposing of them.
  • Using intricate passwords.
  • Verifying a source before sharing any personal information.
  • Being on the lookout for online scammers and thieves.
  • Keeping your purse, wallet, and personal information secure.

The best way to detect identity theft is to monitor your accounts and bank statements each month and check your credit report regularly. Learn more about how to detect identity theft.

If you discover that you are a victim of identity theft, take steps to respond and recover as soon as possible. You can find forms, sample letters, and other tools from the Federal Trade Commission. 


Mission Statement

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 effect of hazards

How can you help us achieve our mission?

Keep informed.  Sign up for Rochester Alerts to receive breaking news alerts and notifications.  Browse our Public Information section (Rochester Alert website) to prepare for emergencies. Contact us to improve this site and deliver the information you need.

Information on Current Disaster

Read Active Alerts:

Rochester Alert website - View current alerts and press release information here
Map of active alerts View currents alerts on a map of Olmsted County (may open slowly)

Current Weather Hazards from National Weather Service

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