April 17–21 is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota, an event to refresh, remind and educate residents about seasonal threats from severe weather – and how to avoid them.
Roseville prides itself on being a calm and peaceful community, but our team of professional first responders are regularly training and preparing for all types of emergencies including natural disasters.
Roseville Fire Chief David Brosnahan, who also serves as the city’s emergency manager, explains how the city prepares for emergencies and tips to be safe in severe weather.
How specifically has Roseville prepared for emergencies?
Roseville has an Emergency Operation Plan (EOP). The EOP is a guiding document that we share with Ramsey County Emergency Management. The mission of this plan is to establish and maintain an emergency operational capability to save lives, prevent further injury, secure critical infrastructure, provide for continuity of government, and to mobilize resources to recover from any emergency.
The EOP details what agencies will do during a disaster. It also lays out crucial details including incident command implementation, command center location, and activities and specific plans by department.
We are working with Ramsey County to update the existing EOP. We are working to finalize a new EOP by spring. The overhaul process has taken about a year to complete.
How does Roseville’s emergency planning compare to other communities?
Roseville is the only FEMA compliant city in Ramsey County. This means all of our staff have varying and specific levels of emergency preparedness training commensurate with their job duties and/or role within the city. Our city trains staff on at least an annual basis in emergency planning and response.
During the last decade, our city leadership has trained on significant weather events, including winter and summer storms, active shooter incidents, hazardous materials, and train derailments. Roseville is home to several industrial facilities including the Magellan Pipeline Tank Farm. Our EOP includes specific planning and procedures for those facilities.
We are entering tornado season. Do you have any tips to stay safe?
First, get inside to a safer location if you are outside. Once inside, go down to the basement area in the center of the home, away from any windows. Cover up, if at all possible. Use a blanket or sheet to protect yourself from debris or other items that may hit you or come into contact with you.
If possible, have a basic safety kit in your area of refuge. This can include bottled water, flashlight, batteries, first-aid kit, and non-perishable food. In a significant emergency, you want to have access to items that can help sustain you and keep you safe for 12-24 hours.
In an emergency, where can residents find out more information quickly?
Weather Underground is a prominent smartphone application that can be used for severe weather information, as well as local news media. Also check the City of Roseville’s website and social media accounts for localized updates.
What do the sirens mean? What should I do?
The City of Roseville has 10 severe weather sirens. Their purpose is to alert people outdoors to take immediate shelter. Sirens will go off if there is a tornado warning, a severe thunderstorm with hail greater than 1 inch in diameter, and winds greater than 70 mph.
Oftentimes, we get feedback that people are unable to hear the siren in their homes, which is truly not their purpose. If you’re inside your home, we recommend using the television, radio, smartphone weather apps, or weather radio for weather-related updates.
The sirens can be individually activated by the Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center, so it is not an all-or-nothing alert for all of Ramsey County. This is done in an effort to truly alert those in the path of severe weather. If there is severe weather going through other areas of Ramsey County that will not immediately impact Roseville, our sirens may not activate. So, if one does activate, please take it very seriously!
Learn more at CityofRoseville.com/Fire