Emergency Management

During a disaster it is of the utmost importance that people protect themselves first. In the list below there are some helpful hints that could aid in alleviating the effects of a disaster on you and your family. Your local emergency management office can assist you with any of these planning needs and offer help and information regarding a wide variety of of emergency planning.

Family Emergency Plan

Winter Weather Survival

Winter Storms are common for this part of the United States. They can bring hazards such as blinding snow, freezing rain and ice, dangerous wind chills, power outages and travel disruptions. It's imperative that you prepare accordingly for these hazards to endure the cold of winter safely. The following recommendations may help you prepare for the winter weather season.

Storm Damage Reporting


  • Tornadoes
  • Funnel Clouds
  • Wall Clouds
  • Water Over Roadways
  • Electric Lines/Poles Down

Be as accurate as possible for the location of these hazards (street address, approximate direction and distance from landmark or address, etc.) If reporting a tornado or funnel cloud, take a few seconds to observed the cloud structure to see if it is rotating, extending from cloud to ground, or if there is a debris field under the funnel. Never hesitate to contact law enforcement if unsure.

Storm Damage Reporting
Submit storm damage information (with or without photos)
Please include your name, address, contact information (phone number and address), estimated value of losses/repairs (***This information will be collected to determine the severity and scope of damage assessment information.***)

  • Wind/Hail/Tornado Damage to Structures/Trees/Utilities
  • Water Damage to Structures and/or basements
  • Any other damages

Fire Safety

  • Plan two escape routes out of each room.
  • Teach family members to stay low to the ground when escaping from a fire.
  • Teach family members never to open doors that are hot. In a fire, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand. If it is hot, do not open the door. Find another way out.
  • Install smoke detectors. Clean and test smoke detector once a month. Change batteries at least once a year.
  • Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken household members in case of a fire.
  • Check electrical outlets. Do not overload outlets.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher. (5 pound, ABC type)
  • Have a collapsible ladder on each upper floor of your house.
  • Consider installing home sprinklers

Disaster Supplies Kit

  • A supply of water (one gallon of water per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every three months.
  • A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
  • A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • A first aid kit and prescription medications
  • An extra pair of glasses.
  • A battery powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
  • Credit cards and cash
  • An extra set of car keys
  • A list of family physicians
  • A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices such as pacemakers.
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.

Home Hazard Hunt

In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard. Below are things to look for prior to a disaster or emergency.

  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
  • Fasten shelves securely.
  • Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Hang Pictures and mirrors away from beds.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs.
  • Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides and flammable products away from heat sources.
  • Place oily rags or waste in covered metal cans.
  • Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors and gas vents.

If You Need to Evacuate

If the need to evacuate ever arises or is ordered by local officials, the following information may be helpful during such an event.

  • Listen to a battery powered radio for the location of emergency shelters. Follow the instructions of local officials.
  • Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Lock your house.
  • Use travel routes specified by local officials.

Car Kit

With the harsh winter climate in Iowa, it is likely that at some point while traveling in your vehicle you may become stranded. There are other times when you may experience other types of emergencies also.The following list can help you prepare for such and event.

  • Battery powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
  • Blanket or Sleeping Bags
  • Booster Cables
  • Fire Extinguisher (5 pound, ABC type)
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter.
  • Maps
  • Shovel
  • Tire repair kit and pump
  • Flares

Contact Hancock County Emergency Management

875 State Street
P.O. Box 70
Garner, Iowa 50438

(641) 923-2702 (Garner office)

(641) 585-1942 (Forest City office)

(641) 843-8202 (cell)

June 18, 1994 Garner, Iowa Tornado

On June 18, 1994 an F1 tornado affected the City of Garner. That afternoon the tornado entered the Northeast side of Garner at the County Club while a wedding reception was being held inside. The pictures below were taken and provided by Michelle Penning and Dianne Dethmers Paca.