Emergency Operations Center 2417 Emma St. Ottumwa, IA 52501

EMA Mission

The mission of the Wapello County Emergency Management Agency is to develop a comprehensive and integrated community system that coordinates emergency management resources to protect lives, property and the environment through developing mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities for all hazards that may impact our county.

We strive to build a safer future through effective partnerships of local government, emergency services, private sector, volunteer agencies and citizens through coordinating resources, expertise, leadership, and advocacy through a comprehensive risk-based emergency preparedness program. It is our commitment to help residents in our county to be prepared for any emergency situation that may impact our daily life.

What does an Emergency Manager do?

We often get asked what the function of the EMA is in a community. Watch this short video to learn the answer.

Four phases of Emergency Management


Mitigation refers to those activities which may reduce the occurrence of an emergency or the effects of a natural or man-made disaster. Large amounts of damage can be prevented if the time is taken to anticipate and plan for these events. The impact of a disaster can be lessened as well as the speed of the response and recovery processes if planning is completed.

Hazard Assessents

Infastructure Improvements

Public Education

2021 Hazard Mitigation Plan


Preparedness actions exist prior to an emergency to support and enhance disaster response. Evaluating which disasters are most likely to occur in Wapello County and formulating written plans outlining the response to each event is the first step. All emergency response personnel from all disciplines are then trained on these plans using test exercises designed as a trial for the effectiveness of the plans. Preparedness activities include issuing forecasts and warnings, mandatory evacuations, coordination and contingency planning, local emergency operations plan, budgeting and purchasing equipment, recruiting personnel and training exercises, performing vulnerability analysis and educating the public. Another important aspect of preparedness is community awareness. It is vital that our residents know what hazards may affect their community and how to prepare for the effects. Wapello County EMA offers a wide range of classes for individuals, civic groups, community associations and day care providers.

Emergency Response Plans



Community Outreach


Response activities address the immediate and short-term effects of an emergency or disaster. These activities are designed to provide emergency assistance to victims of the event and reduce the likelihood of secondary damage. These activities include activation of an emergency operations center, issuing public communications and warnings, setting up a mobile communications unit, performing damage assessment, offering individual assistance and providing temporary housing or shelter.

Incident Stabilization

Property Preservation

Emergency Notifications

Operational Coordination

Community Lifelines


Recovery continues until all systems return to normal, or near normal. Short-term recovery returns vital life support systems to minimum operating standards. Long-term recovery from a disaster may go on for years until the entire disaster area is completely redeveloped, either as it was in the past or for entirely new purposes that are less disaster-prone.

Debris Management

Health & Social Services

Economic Recovery

Another way to look at what we do behind the scenes