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Emergency Management

Phone: 913-782-3038

111 S. Cherry St., Suite 100, Olathe, KS 66061

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Weather-Ready Nation

About Weather-Ready Nation:

Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) is a movement to unify communities in preparation for our nation's increasing vulnerability to severe weather.

  • Building this Weather-Ready Nation requires more than government alone; it requires innovative partnerships throughout our communities and across all segments of society. These partnerships are recognized by the WRN Ambassador designation.
  • WRN Ambassadors play a pivotal role by helping to build a community that is ready, responsive, and resilient to the impacts of severe weather.
  • "Weather-Ready" is more than just a designation; it's a commitment to promote awareness, safety, resiliency, and adaptability through the everyday actions and operations of your organization.


Weather-Ready Johnson County:

Johnson County Emergency Management is promoting a Weather-Ready Nation by educating the community on severe weather awareness and preparedness, conducting training exercises for weather spotters, and disseminating weather information via platforms like NotifyJoCo and social media. In addition, we are also partnering with the National Weather Service to educate organizations on WRN and recruit WRN Ambassadors.

How to become a WRN Ambassador:

WRN Ambassadors work to inspire others in their community and sphere of influence to be better informed and prepared for severe weather.  Ambassadors can encourage change in their community in a number of ways, including:

  • Promoting employee preparedness both at home and work
  • Demonstrating ways to integrate preparedness into every day life
  • Offering services and products that can help mitigate the effects of severe weather
  • Developing a Continuity of Operations Plan for your organization
  • Sharing your success stories

Click here to begin the process


Johnson County WRN Ambassadors:

  • City of Shawnee
  • Johnson County Emergency Management
  • United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

National List of current Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors

Vulnerable Populations

Senior Resources

Seniors & People with Disabilities

For the millions of Americans who have physical, medical, sensory or cognitive disabilities, emergencies such as fires, floods and acts of terrorism present a real challenge. The same challenge also applies to the elderly and other special needs populations. Protecting yourself and your family when disaster strikes requires planning ahead. This section will help you get started. Discuss these ideas with your family, friends and/or your personal care attendant, or anyone else in your support network and prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it, keep a copy with you and make sure everyone involved in your plan has a copy.


  • During an emergency, personal care attendants may not be able to make it to their patients. Make sure you have made arrangements with caregivers and/or are familiar with your personal care agencies emergency policy. This includes having emergency supplies on hand at home and having a support network that is aware of your situation.
  • If you have a service animal, make sure that it has a registered tag and that it is recognized by service professionals. This includes if the animal travels with you in a car or on public transportation – have a decal on the car window that indicates “Service Animal Inside".


  • Keep a separate supply of at least 7 days worth of any medication or critical medical supplies, such as oxygen. Check with your insurance and doctor to arrange this.
  • If you rely on electric medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, ventilators and oxygen compressors, talk to your medical supply company about getting batteries or a generator as a back up power source. Have their telephone number on speed dial.


  • If you or a family member have difficulty moving quickly and easily, make sure your neighbors are aware and that you have someone who can check in during an emergency. You might want tot give a trusted neighbor your contact person’s number.
  • Develop a support network with several people who will continue to follow up with you following an emergency. 


Pet Resources

Pets are often full-fledged family members, and any family emergency plan must include them to be truly complete. Many shelters will not permit animals (with the exception of registered service animals), so it is especially important that you have a plan for your pets in case of an evacuation.


  • Make sure your pets all have licenses and ID tags, microchip if at all possible.
  • Ask local shelters and animal clinics if they provide emergency foster care.
  • Arrange with neighbors to care for your pets if an emergency occurs while you are away from your home and cannot return.
  • Know your pets' hiding places so you can find them easily if you need to evacuate.
  • Transport pets in carriers or on leashes during an emergency; this makes them feel more secure.
  • You might want to develop a special “Go Bag” just for your pets – these are some of the items to include: (These items can be placed in a small garbage can with a lid and wheels)
  • A recent photo of your pet (pets) in case they get lost
  • Sturdy leashes and/or carriers
  • Pet food, water, and bowls
  • Cat litter and box
  • Pet toys
  • Contact information for a veterinarian
  • Medical information and records
  • Any necessary medication
  • Plastic bags for clean-up

Severe Weather Resources

Weather Safety

Extreme winter weather is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people in the U.S. each year, primarily due to traffic accidents, fires from improper use of heaters, overexertion and exposure.

Familiarize yourself with the following terms to stay alert and prepared:

  • Winter Weather Advisory - cold, ice and snow are expected.
  • Winter Storm Watch - severe winter weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible within the next day or two.
  • Winter Storm Warning - severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin.
  • Blizzard Warning - heavy snow and strong winds will produce a blinding snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill.
  • Frost/Freeze Warning - below freezing temperatures are expected.

Winter storm tips:

  • Make sure your emergency supply kit is stocked and winter storm ready.
  • Buy rock salt to melt ice on walkways and sand to improve traction.
  • Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off.
  • Keep emergency heating equipment and fuel (a gas fireplace, wood burning stove, kerosene heater, or fireplace) so you can keep at least one room of your house warm enough to be livable.
  • If you have a fireplace, store a supply of firewood.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply. Insulate walls, attics, doors and windows.
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic.
  • Do not overexert yourself or work outside for extended periods of time.

Flooding - Flooding caused by heavy rains is dangerous and can occur without warning (Flash floods). Floods are particularly dangerous because they can wash away vehicles and mobile homes and cause extensive damage to property. Individuals who can't swim, the elderly and those in need of special assistance are particularly vulnerable to drowning. Also a serious threat during a flood, are downed power lines. Those could fall into pools of water and cause electrocutions in homes and on public streets.

Before a flood:

  • Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home. Check with your local emergency management to determine if you are in a floodplain area.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding
  • Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into your home.
  • Construct barriers (levees, beams, sandbags, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the building.
  • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
  • Keep an adequate supply of food, candles and drinking water in case you are trapped inside your home.

During a flood:

  • Seek higher ground. Do not wait for instructions.
  • Be aware of flash flood areas such as canals, streams, drainage channels.
  • Be ready to evacuate. If time allows bring outside furniture indoors. Move essential items to upper floors.
  • If instructed, turn off main valves and switches. Avoid electrical equipment if you are wet.
  • If you must leave your home, do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. Use a stick to test depth.
  • Do not try to drive over a flooded road. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and seek an alternate route.

After a flood:

  • Avoid floodwaters. Do not let children play in the water.
  • Be aware of areas where water has receded. Roadways may have weakened and could collapse.
  • Avoid down power lines and muddy waters where power lines may have fallen.
  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Discard food that may have been contaminated.
  • Check on sewage systems. If damaged, these can be a serious hazard.

Tornados - Storms can develop quickly and can occur with little to no warning. Heavy winds and lightning caused by storms can cause extended power outages, uprooted trees, landslides, and downed or broken utility lines. Additionally, heavy rains can cause flash floods.

Tornado Safety Tips


  • Have a pre-designated safety spot.
  • Go to the lowest level possible in a structure.
  • Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.
  • Avoid windows and glass.
  • In a basement stay under the center support beam, a stairwell or heavy piece of furniture for protection from falling debris. Stay out of corners; debris often collects in corners.
  • If you have no area below ground level, use a hallway, closing doors off to outside rooms. A small interior room (bathroom or closet) away from outside walls and windows would be preferable to large rooms or rooms with outside walls.

Outside or in homes of modular construction:

  • Get to a safe shelter if possible. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car. If caught in the open, leave a vehicle and go to a low-lying area such as a ditch or ravine. Lie flat and cover your head.
  • Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned

While watching the weather, listen for:

  • Tornado Watch
  • Tornado Warning
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning

During the storm:

  • Avoid handling metal, electrical equipment, telephones, bathtubs, water faucets and sinks, because electric current from lightening can travel through wires and pipes
  • If you are outside, take cover in a stable facility. Avoid taking shelter under trees
  • Tune in to local TV/radio channels for emergency advisories and instructions
  • Avoid walking through water that has seeped in your home - it may contain hazardous materials
  • If you are asked to evacuate your home, disconnect all electrical appliances
  • Avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines.

After the storm:

  • Assess your immediate environment
  • Report fallen trees, flooded streets or damaged public utilities to proper department
  • Stay tuned to local weather stations for updated information

Extreme Cold - Kansas City is becoming famous for its cold winters. The already cold weather can be made to feel even colder with wind-chill factors that can drive temperatures well below zero, causing possible frostbite or hypothermia.

In extreme cold:

  • Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing
  • Wear mittens instead of gloves
  • Wear water-repellant clothing
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs
  • Wear a hat
  • Make sure small children, infants and the elderly stay warm. They are much more vulnerable to the cold weather.
  • Take advantage of city public park facilities and heated stores and malls.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Where possible, try and keep one room in your home heated to 70 degrees.
  • Eat high energy foods and drink warm beverages.
  • Beware of over-exertion; shoveling snow or pushing disabled cars can be very demanding, and should only be done by individuals in good health.

Safe heating tips:

  • Electric heaters can be hazardous and should be used with extreme caution to prevent shock, fire and burns. Follow the usage instructions carefully and keep clothing and blankets clear of any heating elements.
  • Be very careful in using fireplaces, making sure flues are clear. Proper ventilation is essential and charcoal should not be used indoors at all!
  • Gas ovens and burners should never be used to heat your home.

Safe use of the car in cold weather:

  • Make sure your car is in good operating condition before using it in extreme cold.
  • Keep water out of your gas tank by keeping the tank as full as possible.
  • Maintain a storm kit in your car with such items as blankets; extra clothing; jumper cables; a flashlight; high-calorie, non-perishable food; and matchers or a lighter.
  • Drive with care and plan your trip. If cold, snowy or icy conditions exceed your ability or your car's ability, don't travel.

Schools and Child Care

Emergency Preparedness for Schools and Child Care

Schools are a large part of our community in Johnson County. With 20-25% of the community in and out of schools each day, no other institution has more interface, which is why we have identified them as one of five key groups to engage at a deeper level. The preparedness level of schools, along with businesses, community organizations, large venues, and vulnerable populations, has a direct impact on the preparedness of the whole community and is important to the people they serve. Additionally, each has unique needs and considerations, warranting a tailored approach to emergency preparedness for each group. For example, children make up the majority of the population in schools, making schools especially vulnerable to the impacts of disasters.

Johnson County Emergency Management has developed a targeted community outreach initiative to more closely engage specific areas of our community, as mentioned above. For each of the identified groups, we have organized a meeting that brings together similar organizations along with representatives from emergency management and public safety. The purpose of these meetings is to:

  • Strengthen relationships between emergency management and community partners,
  • Increase awareness regarding preparedness levels and specific needs,
  • Share information about existing preparedness efforts, available resources, and best practices, and
  • Identify opportunities to work together in strengthening the culture of preparedness in our community.

Some of these groups are very broad and therefore it makes sense to break them down into smaller groups. We have divided "schools" into four subgroups: public schools, private schools, higher education, and child care/early education. After initial meetings with each subgroup, many have had subsequent meetings. See below for key considerations identified at the meetings.

If you are an individual or organization that represents the "schools and child care" group and you would like to join this conversation, please contact us and let us know how you would like to be involved.

Key Considerations for School Emergency Preparedness:

Key elements of a successful school preparedness program:

  • Coordination - School leadership, emergency management, first responders, and other community partners continually working together to address preparedness in schools
  • Communication - Establishing and maintaining open lines of communication among crisis response team members, community partners, staff, students, district personnel, parents and the media before, during and after an incident
  • Planning & Training - Important to have clearly stated plans and procedures and ensure all stakeholders are aware of their role in implementing them
  • Exercises & Drills - Maintaining an exercise schedule and ensuring plans and procedures are continuously evaluated

Concerns regarding school emergency preparedness in Johnson County:

  • Lack of awareness regarding other relevant emergency plans and programs
  • Lack of communication/coordination between school districts and community partners
  • Prioritization of preparedness efforts (planning, training, exercising)
  • Lack of available funding to address preparedness in schools

Potential solutions to close the gaps:

  • Find ways to enhance communication between schools and the emergency services community to heighten awareness, share best practices, and identify opportunities for future collaboration
  • Have Johnson County Emergency Management continue to bring schools together on a regular basis to heighten awareness, coordinate activities, and enhance preparedness efforts
  • Find opportunities for school representatives to participate in ongoing community planning/trainings/exercises
  • Establish a mechanism to ensure emergency management can provide preparedness and response information with schools when needed
  • Identify ways to solidify support from organizations’ leadership in strengthening the culture of preparedness

Resources for School Emergency Preparedness:

Resources for Child Care Emergency Preparedness:

Johnson County Emergency Management Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

Internship Program:

Johnson County Emergency Management is interested in internship applications from individuals that are looking at the emergency management career field from both the academic and career advancement aspects.  Internships should have a firm start and end date before the intern begins.   

Volunteer Program:

The volunteer program is designed to be a long term opportunity to help further Johnson County Emergency Management's mission of building a better prepared, more resilient community.  Opportunities would include assisting Emergency Management staff at community outreach events and assisting the Emergency Operations Center during a disaster.  We would encourage anyone who is expressly interested in storm spotting to visit the Johnson County Emergency Communications Service, Inc. (ECS) website at www.k0ecs.org for spotting opportunities.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at 913.782.3038

Volunteer and Internship FAQ:

  • Are any internship opportunities paid?
    • Currently we offer a paid summer internship that is targeted at college students at professionals transitioning into the emergency management field. The position is expected to open in Febuary or March of 2020.
  • How often are internship opportunities available?
    • Opportunities are available throughout the year. 
  • Do I have to be in the Kansas City Metro area to volunteer?
    • No. While certain projects may require the volunteer to be present in the office, many may not. Preference will be given to interns that can have a regular presence in the office.
  • What is the screening process?
    • All volunteers and interns will have to complete a screening process through Johnson County.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

If you have ever found yourself wanting to help in the aftermath of a disaster but were not sure how to get involved, please take a moment to explore these opportunities to become a trained volunteer before disaster strikes. The best way to volunteer after a disaster is to affiliate with a reputable organization before a disaster; this will help ensure you are appropriately trained and supported to respond in the most effective way. There are several organizations who offer training in a variety of disaster preparedness, response, and recovery activities. The list below offers a few examples and is not an exhaustive list of the opportunities available at each organization.

  • American Red Cross Disaster Volunteer Opportunities
    • Disaster Services: Provide food, shelter, comfort and care for families affected by major disasters such as fires, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes.
    • Disaster Action Team: Respond to single-family fires with a disaster action team supervisor.
    • Community Disaster Education: Educate individuals and groups on how to be prepared before a disaster occurs.
  • Kansas KC Metro Animal Response Team
    • Mission: We are dedicated to building a strong, functional team of volunteers who can respond to the needs of pets at a time of disaster, and providing education within our community about the importance of disaster preparedness for pets.
  • Kansas Agriculture Emergency Response Corps
    • The Kansas Agriculture Emergency Response Corps (KAERC) will be comprised of volunteers who will be trained and prepared to respond rapidly and efficiently to an agricultural emergency. KAERC volunteers will work alongside the Kansas Department of Agriculture in response and recovery situations.
  • Community Emergency Response Teams
    • The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
  • The Salvation Army Disaster Relief Services
    • The Salvation Army offers training courses on their core disaster relief services such as canteen operations, donations management, emotional and spiritual care, and disaster social services.
  • Kansas City Regional Community Organizations Active in Disaster (KC Regional COAD)
    • The purpose of the KC Regional COAD is to bring together community organizations at all levels who are, or desire to be, active in disaster, including relevant businesses and government agencies, to foster more efficient and effective services to people affected by disaster in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area through cooperation, coordination, communication and collaboration.


What is JoCo72?

JoCo72 is your hub for emergency preparedness. You’ll find information about what to do in an emergency, simple steps to get connected, and useful guides to help you get prepared. Share JoCo72 with a friend—and help your loved ones and your community get prepared.


Why 72?

In a serious emergency, community services will be impacted, so a basic rule of thumb is for people to be able to take care of each other for 72 hours before help arrives. That’s just three days—think of it as a long weekend—or nine meals.

Individuals and Household Preparedness

Emergency Planning for Individuals & Households

Johnson County Emergency Management has compiled a number of planning and preparedness documents to assist citizens with household emergency planning. These templates and web-sites provide the basics of disaster plans for the individuals and families. When developing any type of plan, our office recommends using an “all hazards” planning approach. Plan for the worse case scenario and if an incident occurs, you can scale down or up your response and recovery efforts.

Individual & Family: Emergency Prepared Neighborhood Workbook

When disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. A spill of hazardous material could mean immediate evacuation. A winter storm could confine your family at home. An earthquake, tornado or any other disaster could cut off basic services — gas, water, electricity and telephone — for days. After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will not be able to reach everyone immediately. Help could come in hours, or it may take days. Will your family be ready? You’ll cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes. In this booklet, we offer simple guidelines that will help you and your family prepare for emergencies

MEMC Preparedness Guidebook - English 

Shelter in Place Guidelines

If a hazardous chemical emergency occurs in your neighborhood, the most important thing to remember is to take action immediately. During a hazardous chemical emergency you should go inside and stay put. This procedure is called "Shelter in Place" or "SIP". You should use a single room in your house such as the bathroom or bedroom. If possible, pick a room with a toilet, phone access (cell is acceptable), water and a radio/TV. For a complete guide for developing a Shelter in Place plan for your office, download one of the documents below or call our office and ask that we mail you a copy.


Emergency Alerts


NotifyJoCo is a mass notification system designed to keep Johnson County residents, businesses, and others informed of emergencies, including weather warnings, water main breaks, public safety alerts, and natural disasters. Local authorities in partner communities use NotifyJoCo to alert you and keep you informed.

NOAA Weather Radio

Unlike outdoor sirens, all-hazards radios save lives by alerting people who are indoors when severe weather approaches. They can also alert people in homes, schools and businesses to other types of emergencies. These radios provide constant, useful and up-to-date weather information. They are equipped with a special alarm tone that will sound an alert and give immediate information in a life-threatening situation.

Outdoor Warning System

Johnson County’s outdoor warning system consists of 184 sirens placed strategically throughout the county as an early warning device to alert citizens of potential danger. While the outdoor warning system is an effective method of notifying those outdoors, it is only one component of a comprehensive emergency warning system including the use of the use of NOAA weather radios, the Emergency Alert System, and emergency notifications from local media. Through the Project Community Alert program these radios are available through local Price Choppers. Click here to find the one closest to your home.



ECS is the appointed R.A.C.E.S. (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) organization for Johnson County Emergency Management. ECS is a volunteer organization that provides a service to local government. ECS is the official storm spotting organization for Johnson County Emergency Management.

ECS Inc. is a 501(c)6 organization.

ECS Training Requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold at least a Technician Class Amateur Radio License
  • Pass an online NWS Storm Spotter and County Protocols test every two years
  • Attend National Weather Service Training every 2 years
  • Attend County Protocols Training every 2 years
  • Have certificates in FEMA Courses 100, 200, 700, and 800
  • Pass a Criminal Background check
  • Have a radio that has a minimum output of 25 watts to an externally mounted quarter wave antenna


Community Preparedness Survey

In an effort to gain a better understanding of the community's preparedness level, the local perceptions on risk, and identify motivators and barriers to individual preparedness, Johnson County Emergency Management conducted a countywide emergency preparedness survey in 2014. The survey was administered by ETC institute and the results include completed surveys from 956 households and at least 150 completed surveys from each of the six County Commission Districts.  The results have a 95% level of confidence with a precision of at least +/- 3.2%.

Final Report

Presentation Slides


The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

New classes are staring all the time!

Local CERT Contacts:

Olathe Fire Department:

Johnson County Fire District #1:

City of Shawnee:

City of Overland Park:

Businesses and Organizations

Every organization needs an emergency response plan to ensure they are prepared for emergencies. 

Johnson County Emergency Management has reviewed and compiled a number of disaster-planning documents and links that your organization may find useful. These materials provide the basics of disaster planning for businesses and organizations. These resources are meant to provide a starting point for individuals that are interested in developing their organization's disaster response & recovery plans. We encourage all who utilize these materials to analyze their organization's specific needs carefully when considering the planning guidance provided. Please contact our planning staff at [email protected] or 913-782-3038 with any questions.

Developing and maintaining Emergency Operations Plans (CPG-101)

Ready Business - This site outlines commonsense measures business owners and managers can take to start getting ready.

Prepare My Business - The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Agility Recovery Solutions are working together to encourage all small businesses to have a recovery plan in place. Working together, SBA and Agility are educating all businesses on the importance of recovery planning to remain open to service the needs of all communities.

DHS Business Ready Booklet - A commitment to planning today will help support employees, customers, the community, the local economy and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.

Ready Business outlines common sense measures business owners and managers can take to start getting ready. It provides practical information to help you plan for your company’s future. These recommendations reflect the Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Standard (NFPA 1600) developed by the National Fire Protection Association and endorsed by the American National Standards Institute and the Department of Homeland Security.

Pandemic Business Planning - In an influenza pandemic, businesses and other employers have a key role in protecting employees' health and safety as well as limiting the negative impact to the economy and society. Companies that provide critical infrastructure services, such as power and telecommunications, also have a special responsibility to plan for continued operation in a crisis and should plan accordingly. As with any catastrophe, having a contingency plan is essential.

Emergency Planning Exercises - FEMA Private Sector Division, Office of External Affairs recently began a new series of tabletop exercises as a tool to help private sector organizations advance their organization’s continuity, preparedness and resiliency. The series is a part of the Division’s vigilant efforts to incorporate the private sector across all stages of FEMA’s emergency management mission, to support FEMA’s capabilities, and to enhance national preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation of all hazards.

Additional Links:

FEMA - Private Sector Division
CDC - Emergency Response Resources
Small Business Administration
Institute for Business & Home Safety