Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
The Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is responsible for coordinating emergency planning, disaster preparedness and response training for the City of Milwaukee and our partners in the adjoining five-county region known as the Milwaukee Urban Area Security Initiative. Our mission is to create a multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary network of government agencies and community stakeholders in order to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from major disruptive events, thereby mitigating impact on southeastern Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Heat Awareness
Heat can kill. That's why Wisconsin Emergency Management and the National Weather Service are reminding people of the dangers associated with extreme heat and to promote community safety and health.
In 2012, Wisconsin had confirmed 24 heat related deaths, most occurred during five days of Excessive Heat Warnings from July 2-6. The heat index rose to 105 F degrees for 48 hours with night time lows of 75 F. It was the second hottest and third longest heat wave in Wisconsin. None of the victims had air conditioning and did not seek shelter at one of the many cooling centers which opened around the state.
In 2011, excessive heat claimed five lives and injured more than 100 people in Wisconsin during the July 17-21 heat wave. Once again none of those victims had air conditioning. The combination of the warm temperatures and high humidity caused the heat index to rise between 100 F and 117 F degrees.
In 1995, two major killer heat waves affected most of Wisconsin resulting in 154 heat-related deaths and over 300 heat-related illnesses.
Summer heat waves have been the biggest weather-related killers in Wisconsin for the past 50 years, far exceeding tornadoes, severe storms and floods combined. Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. People at higher risk of a heat-related illness include:
- Older adults
- Infants and young children
- People with chronic heart or lung problems
- People with disabilities
- Overweight persons
- Those who work outdoors or in hot settings
- Users of some medications, especially those taken for mental disorders, movement disorder, allergies, depression, and heart or circulatory problems
- People who are socially isolated and don’t know when or how to cool off – or when to call for help
Oklahoma Tornadoes: One Simple Sentence for Tornado Safety
Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the recent tornadoes that hit Oklahoma. These tragedies serve as a reminders to all of us to be aware of our surroundings and to be prepared in the event that a tornado touches down in your area. Please follow the following link http://www.livingontherealworld.org/?p=899 to learn how one simple sentence can save your life and the lives of family, friends, and loved ones.
Listen, Act, and Live! 2013 Wisconsin Tornado, and Severe Weather Awareness
Listen, Act and Live! Those words could protect you and your family during severe storm season. Listening to warnings and seeking shelter immediately will save lives. That’s why Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), ReadyWisconsin and the National Weather Service (NWS) have teamed up for Wisconsin’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness campaign of 2013.
Did you know that…• Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes annually. • Last year, only 4 tornadoes were reported in Wisconsin by the NWS. The strongest tornado in 2012 hit near Patch Grove in Grant County on September 4. No fatalities or injuries were reported.• In 2011, 38 tornadoes in Wisconsin were confirmed by the NWS, the fourth highest number on record. On August 19, a man was killed when a tornado with winds of 105 mph struck Marinette County. • The peak tornado season in Wisconsin is April to August, but tornadoes can occur any time of year, like the January 7, 2008 storms near Kenosha.
Link to PDF release-
For more information regarding tornadoes and tornado preparedness, please visit the FEMA tornado link: http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes
LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK JUNE 23-29, 2013
“When Thunder Roars…Go Indoors!”
Every year, lightning kills more than 50 Americans and injures hundreds of others leaving them with lifelong pain and in some cases permanent neurological disabilities. Here in Wisconsin, 25 people have been killed and 208 injured as a result of lightning since 1982. You can protect yourself and your family by knowing these simple lightning safety facts and tips:
- If you hear thunder, you are in danger. Don't be fooled by blue skies. If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to pose an immediate threat. Don't wait, seek shelter immediately. Remember: When Thunder Roars…Go Indoors!
- A fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing offers the best protection. Sheds, picnic shelters and covered porches DO NOT protect you from lightning.
- If a building is not available get into a hard-topped metal vehicle and close all the windows.
- Stay inside a safe building or vehicle for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder.
- Don't use a corded phone except in an emergency. Cordless and cell phones are safe to use.
- Keep away from electrical equipment and wiring.
- Because water pipes conduct electricity, don't take a bath or shower or use other plumbing during a storm.
- Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles. Lightning tends to strike taller object in an area.
- Get an Emergency Weather Radio. It will broadcast the latest forecast for thunderstorms. Remember, any thunderstorm, whether it is severe or not, can produce deadly lightning.
Act fast if someone is struck by lightning:
- Lightning victims don't carry an electric charge and are safe to touch and need urgent medical attention. Cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death.
- Call 911 immediately.
- Give CPR if the person is unresponsive or not breathing. Use an Automatic External Defibrillator if one is available.
- If possible, move the victim to a safer place. Lightning can strike twice. Don't be a victim.
- Lightning occurs in all thunderstorms; each year lightning strikes the United States 25 million times.
- Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially tall isolated objects.
- Most lightning victims are in open areas or near a tree.
- The energy from one lightning flash could light a 100-watt light bulb for more than 3 months.
- The air near a lightning strike is heated to 50,000°F-five times hotter than the surface of the sun!
- The rapid heating and cooling of the air near the lightning channel causes a shock wave which results in thunder.
- Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground.
- Fact: The metal roof and sides protect you, NOT the rubber tires. When lightning strikes a vehicle it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don't lean on the vehicle doors during a thunderstorm.
- Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike you should lie flat on the ground.
- Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being hit by a ground current. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm keep moving toward a safe shelter.
- Myth: If thunderstorms threaten while you are outside playing a game it is OK to finish before seeking shelter.
For additional information about lightning safety and awareness go to http:readywisconsin.wi.gov. You can also contact your local public health department, county emergency management director or the National Weather Service.
- Fact: Many lighting casualties occur because people do not seek shelter soon enough. No game is worth death or lifelong injuries. Seek shelter immediately if you hear thunder. Adults are responsible for the safety of children.
Lightning, Safe Shelters & Indoor Safety
A safe shelter is a building with electricity and/or plumbing or a metal-topped vehicle with windows closed. Picnic shelters, dugouts, small buildings without plumbing or electricity are not safe.
Key Indoor Safety Tips
* Stay off corded phones. You can use cellular or cordless phones.
* Don't touch electrical equipment or cords.
* Avoid plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower or wash dishes.
* Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
* Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.
Bring in Your Pets
Dog houses are not safe shelters. Dogs that are chained to trees or on metal runners are particularly vulnerable to lightning strikes.
Protect Your Personal Property
Lightning generates electric surges that can damage electronic equipment some distance from the actual strike. Typical surge protectors will not protect equipment from a lightning strike. The American Meteorological Society has tips for protecting your electronics from lightning. Do not unplug equipment during a thunderstorm as there is a risk you could be struck.
How Lightning Enters a Structure
There are three main ways lightning enters structures: a direct strike, through wires or pipes that extend outside the structure, and through the ground. Once in a structure, lightning can travel through the electrical, phone, plumbing, and radio/television reception systems. Lightning can also travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring
This is a reminder that emergencies can strike anywhere and without warning. In addition to having an emergency kit to sustain yourself and your family members for at least 72 hours, here are a few tips on what to do during and after an earthquake:
If indoors, drop to the ground; take cover by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and hold on until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
If outdoors, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
Follow the direction of local officials when making the decision to return home. Return home only when local authorities have said it’s safe.
For more information on earthquakes and earthquake preparedness, please visit the FEMA earthquake link: http://www.ready.gov/earthquakes
Flood and Swiftwater Awareness - What You Can Do To Reduce The Risk
April 8, 2013
With spring on the way, now is the time to get you and your family prepared for flood season. As snow melts and the rainy months approach, water levels may rise in the Milwaukee area. The July 2010 flooding resulted in millions of dollars in property losses and damage to thousands of homes and businesses in Milwaukee County. Although the federal government was able to offer more than $45 million in flood recovery assistance to residents and small businesses, we cannot and should not depend on government assistance to help us if we do not do what we can, in advance, to reduce the impact of possible flooding.
What can you do to keep yourself safe? Most importantly is, stay away from any moving floodwater if at all possible. Every year, people perish because they tried to drive through flooded streets or wade too close to moving water. Water is a force of nature not to be underestimated. Water four feet deep can easily wash a car away. Additionally, do not walk around flooded streets. Many times, the pressure of water moving through storm water systems will lift manhole covers off. Depending on water depth, there may be no indication that a manhole cover is not in place. If someone was to step through an open, flooded manhole, the sheer pressure and speed of the water would pull them in instantly. Citizens as well as emergency first responders have been seriously injured and killed this way. While it may seem fun to a child, do not let them roam around in flood waters for any reason.
How can you protect your property and valuables during a flood? Simple steps like moving personal items off the basement floor, elevating washers, dryers and using waterproof storage bins can help prevent some of the dangers of flooding. Utilizing sand bags is another great option for protecting your home and property. For more prevention tips, and to find out if your home is at increased risk for flooding, follow the link to the Ready Wisconsin website at http://readywisconsin.wi.gov/flooding/default.asp
FEMA and Emergency Preparedness Updates
For FEMA updates regarding disaster preparedness, mitigation, and recovery please visit FEMA's website at http://www.ready.gov/
For Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) please visit WEM's website at http://emergencymanagement.wi.gov/