Office of Emergency Management

Lawrence County, Missouri

1 Courthouse Square, Mt. Vernon, MO    417-461-1077

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Contact:

Grant Selvey

Lawrence County Emergency Management Director

1 Courthouse Square, Suite 101

Mt. Vernon, MO 65712

417-461-1077

Floodplain administrator

Julie Stolting

20500 Highway W

Verona, MO 65769

417-291-2238

Cyber Security:

 

Cyber security defines programs, policies, equipment, and procedures to protect our technology infrastructure. Cyber security threats come in a variety of forms including: hacking into networks, physically damaging equipment, gaining unauthorized access to systems, and sabotaging systems with viruses or malware.

Increase in Cyber Security Threats

Threats to cyber security have been on the rise in recent years. National media covers major breaches in cyber security and share information about networks that have been accessed without permission, information that has been stolen, systems that have been compromised, etc. Additionally, local companies have experienced compromised networks leading to security breaches and potential dissemination of private customer data.

These types of security issues often result in new bank cards being issued or new accounts generated. On a daily basis there are people who work to undermine the integrity of our cyber security programs. It takes diligence to work with all of the moving components and people to assure we have manageable and appropriate measures in place.

https://us-cert.cisa.gov/ncas/tips

https://www.cisa.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month

https://www.cisa.gov/stopthinkconnect#

https://www.cisa.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month

 

Flooding:

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. They may occur from the result of:

  • Rain

  • Snow

  • Overflows of dams and other water systems

Floods develop either slowly or quickly. Flash floods can come with no warning. They can also cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings, and create landslides.

https://www.fema.gov/webform/flood-mapping

https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance

https://www.usgs.gov/mission-areas/water-resources/science/usgs-flood-information?qt-science_center_objects=4#qt-science_center_objects

https://www.ready.gov/floods

https://water.weather.gov/ahps/

https://www.weather.gov/safety/flood

 

Drought:

A drought is a period of abnormally dry weather that persists long enough to produce a serious hydrologic imbalance (for example crop damage, water supply shortage, etc.). 

Severity

The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration, and the size of the affected area. For example, drought for a crop commences when the soil is deficient in supplying moisture for particular physiologic stages. Thus drought is neither uniform for different crops nor even within areas as small as a farm or a single field.

Urban Drought

For the urban dweller, a drought commences when the reservoir or water source is low and restrictions in the use of water are required. A satisfactory definition requires that a demand by greater than the amount supplied at a particular time.

Preparedness

  • Practice water conservation measures in your home, business, and farm.  Encourage local government to adopt similar measures to manage and conserve the water supply.

 

Response

  • Be mindful of fire and burning bans; In dry conditions, wildfires are easily sparked by cigarettes and campfires.

  • During a drought, reduce your use of water, particularly for non-essential purposes like washing your car and watering lawns. Adhere to watering bans and restrictions.

 

Recovery

  • Continue to practice responsible water conservation.

  • Farmers who have lost crops can contact the Farm Service Agency to inquire about Disaster Assistance.

 

https://www.ready.gov/drought

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/drought.html

https://www.fsa.usda.gov/

Extreme Temperatures:

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), extreme temperatures in Missouri are characterized by issuance of wind chill warnings and advisories in the winter months and by the issuance of excessive heat warnings or heat advisories in the summer months. 

Extreme Cold

The NWS issues a wind chill advisory for Missouri when widespread wind chill of 40 degrees below zero or lower with winds at least 10 miles per hour (MPH) are expected.  People exposed to extreme cold are susceptible to frostbite in a matter of minutes.  Areas most prone to frostbite are uncovered skin and extremities, such as hands and feet.  Hypothermia is another threat during extreme cold.  Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce.

Cold weather can also affect crops. In late spring or early fall, cold air outbreaks can damage or kill produce for farmers, as well as residential plants and flowers. A freeze occurs when the temperature drops below 32°F. Freezes and their effects are significant during the growing season. Frost develops on clear, calm nights and can occur when the air temperature is in the mid-30s. Each plant species has a different tolerance to cold temperatures.

Extreme Heat

The NWS issues a heat advisory for Missouri when, during a 24-hour period, the heat index ranges from 105 to 114 degrees during the day and remains at or above 80 degrees at night.  An excessive heat warning is issued when, during a 24-hour period, the heat index reaches 115 degrees or more during the day and remains at or above 80 degree at night.

  • Heat and humidity take a toll on the body

  • Know the signs of heat illness

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water

  • Stay indoors until the coolest times of the day

  • NEVER leave children or pets in parked, unattended vehicles

 

https://www.weather.gov/

 

Fire:

Fire is a state, process or instance of combustion in which fuel or other materials is ignited and combined with oxygen, giving off light, and flame. A wild fire is an uncontrolled fire spreading through vegetative fuels, posing danger and destruction to property. While some wildfires start by natural causes like lightning, humans are the cause in four out of five wildfires. Debris burns, arson or carelessness are the leading causes of wildfires. As a natural hazard, a wildfire is often the direct result of a lightning strike that may destroy personal property and public land areas, especially on state and national forest lands. The predominant danger from wildfires is the destruction of timber, property, wildfire and injury or loss of life to people living in the affected area or using the area for recreational facilities.

Preparedness 

  • Install fire/smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and purchase multi-purpose (Class ABC) fire extinguishers for your home and vehicle. Don't forget to check detectors and fire extinguishers monthly. Change batteries twice per year.

  • Review emergency evacuation procedures in your home and workplace. Identify emergency exits and where the fire extinguishers are located.

  • When traveling, choose a hotel or motel that is on the U.S. Fire Administration's "Hotel/Motel Fire-Safe List." This ensures that the hotel is properly outfitted with smoke detectors and automatic sprinklers systems.

 

Response

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth.

  • Do not use elevators.

  • Heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling. Stay below the smoke at all times.

  • If the door is hot, open it. Escape through a window. If you cannot escape, hang a white or light-colored sheet outside the window, alerting fire fighters to your presence.

  • If the door is hot, open slowly and ensure fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape route. If your escape route is blocked, shut the door immediately and use an alternate escape route, such as a window. If clear, leave immediately through the door. Be prepared to crawl, the air is clearer and cooler near the floor. 

  • If you are trapped in debris, do not light a match. Cover your mouth to prevent inhaling dust. Whistle or tap to get the attention of rescuers.

  • Stay low to the floor and exit the building as quickly as possible. stop to retrieve possessions.

  • When approaching a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the lower, middle and upper parts of the door. use the palm of your hand or fingers to test for heat: burning those areas could impair your ability to escape a fire (i.e., ladders and crawling). 

 

Recovery

  • Contact your insurance company to have damage assessed and to file a claim.

  • Emergency shelter and assistance is available from the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

  • Seek immediate medical attention for treatment of smoke inhalation, burns or other injuries.

 

https://www.ready.gov/home-fires

https://dfs.dps.mo.gov/

 

Hazardous Materials:

Hazardous materials are chemical substances, which if released or misused can pose a threat to the environment or health of a community. These chemicals are used in industry, agriculture, medicine, research and consumer goods throughout Lawrence County.

Types of Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials come in forms of:

  • Combustible substances

  • Radioactive materials

 

Dangers

A hazardous material spills or releases can pose a risk to life, health and property. An incident can force the evacuation of few people, a section of a facility or an entire neighborhood or community, resulting in significant economic impact and possible property damage and loss of life. Spilled materials can be costly to clean up and may render the area of the spill unusable for an extended period of time. Hazardous materials incidents are generally associated with transportation accidents or accidents at fixed facilities.

Transportation Risks

Hazardous materials are conveyed by road, rail, and pipeline, each presenting differing levels of risk of unwanted release of the hazardous materials. Transported products include hazardous materials moving from producers to users, moving between storage and use facilities, and hazardous waste moving from generator to treatment and disposal facilities.

Road

The road system in Lawrence County provides a network to transport both hazardous and non-hazardous materials throughout the region and between local communities. Risk of hazardous materials events vary based on the classification of the road and its proximity to people and property. The risk of a major event is most severe in the populated portions of the County and along state highways.

According to the most recent findings at the Missouri Department of Transportation, more than half of all accidents involving hazardous materials have occurred on the state roadways. Roads are a major concern in Lawrence County, due to the lack of information available regarding what is traveling on the road systems on a daily basis.

Rail

Missouri is home to an extensive rail system.  Railroads are essential to the state’s economy and the region’s economic competitiveness. Missouri has the 10th largest number of railroad miles in the United States with approximately 4,800 miles of track, 2,500 miles of yard track and about 7,300 public and private highway-rail crossings. Twenty freight railroads operate in the state, carrying the fourth largest amount of freight tonnage in the nation.  Kansas City and St. Louis are ranked as the second and third largest rail transportation centers in the nation, respectively. Overall, the state’s rail system moves the equivalent of more than 21 million truckloads per year.

https://www.modot.org/railroads-general-information

 

Pipeline

Lawrence County has six major pipelines running through it. The exact locations of these pipelines are on file at the Lawrence County Commission Office, located at:
1 Courthouse Square, Suite 101

Mt Vernon, MO 65712

http://call811.com/811-In-Your-State/Map/State/Missouri

https://echo.epa.gov/

https://missouripoisoncenter.org/

 

Infectious Disease / Bio-Terrorism:

Infectious Disease

Despite medical breakthroughs and technology, infectious disease continues to pose an important public health problem. Many infectious diseases are preventable and are controllable. Prevention and control of infectious diseases involve collection of accurate assessment data (such as surveillance data for specific conditions), outbreak detection and investigation, and development of appropriate control strategies (both short and long term) based on specific epidemiologic data. These activities require close collaboration between clinical providers (especially infection-control practitioners within hospitals), clinical laboratories, state and local health departments, and federal agencies. Furthermore, a need exists for continued education of industry (particularly food producers and food-service industries), health-care students and providers, along with research to improve immunization, diagnostic methods, and therapeutic modalities.

Bio-Terrorism

Bio-Terrorism is biological agents that are organisms or toxins that can kill or incapacitate people, livestock, and crops. A biological attack is the deliberate release of germs or other biological substances that can make you sick. There are three basis groups of biological agents that could likely be used as weapons: bacteria, viruses and toxins. Biological agents can be dispersed by sprayed them into the air, person-to person contact, infecting animals that carry the disease to humans and by contaminating food and water. 

Dealing with Infectious Disease / Bio-Terrorism

The following information is from the Ready.gov campaign.

Preparedness

  • Maintain good health by eating a balanced diet, exercising and getting adequate sleep.

  • Receive immunizations as advised by health officials. According to your risk factors, these may include a flu vaccine, hepatitis and tetanus.  

  • Reduce your exposure to mosquitoes by using insect repellent and covering bare skin.

  • Take commonsense measures to prevent disease outbreaks: wash hands frequently, cover your cough and avoid contact with blood or bodily fluids, and stay home when you are sick.

 

During a Pandemic

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, by physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

  • When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

 

During a Biological Threat

  • Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but still allow breathing. Example include two to three layers of cotton such as a t-shirt, handkerchief or towel.

  • Depending on the situation, wear a face mask to reduce inhaling or spreading germs.

  • If you become aware of an unusual and suspicious substance, quickly get away.

  • Listen to the radio or television or check the internet for official news and information including signs and symptoms of the disease, area in danger, if medications or vaccinations are being distributed and where you should seek medical attention if you become ill.

  • Wash yourself with soap and water and put on clean clothes.

 

Recovery

  • The basic public health procedures and medical protocols for handling exposure to biological agents are the same as for any infectious disease. It is important for you to pay attention to official instructions via radio, television, and emergency alert systems.

  • Pay close attention to all official warnings and instructions on how to proceed. The delivery of medical services for a biological event may be handled differently to respond to increased demand.

 

https://health.mo.gov/

http://www.lawrencecohealth.com/

 

Tornadoes:

Tornadoes are the most violent of all storms. A tornado is defined as a rapidly rotating vortex or funnel of air extending ground ward from a cumulonimbus cloud. When it drops to the ground it can create significant damage and loss of life.

Enhanced Fujita Tornado Scale

Tornado damage severity is measured by the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Tornado Scale, which assigns a numerical value of 0 to 5 based on wind speeds. The letters EF may proceed the number (e.g. EF, EF1, EF2). Most tornadoes last less than 30 minutes, but can exist for more than an hour. The majority of tornadoes are classified in the EF0 and EF1 category.

 

Tornadoes are mostly likely to occur during warm humid spells during the spring and summer months but have occurred as early as March and as late as November in Minnesota. Most tornadoes occur during the warmest part of the day - late afternoon or early evening; over 80% of tornadoes occur between noon and midnight.

 

Preparedness

Know the terms used to described tornado threats and the steps you should take to prepare:

  • Tornado Watch means tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, or both, are possible.  Stay tuned to radio and television reports in your area.  Keep watch on the sky.

  • Tornado Warning means tornadoes have been sighted or indicated by radar.  You should take shelter immediately.

  • Know the locations of designated shelter areas in public facilities, such as schools, public buildings and shopping centers.

  • Have emergency supplies on hand during tornado season.  See the "Get a Kit, make a Plan" page for your recommendations.

  • Be sure everyone in your household knows in advance where to go and what to do in case of a tornado warning is issued.

  • Sign up for alerts at: http://mo-monettlawrenceco.civicready.com/

  • Sirens will sound in Lawrence County for tornado warnings if NWS has issued a warning or if a trained spotter reports rotation, funnel cloud or tornado within or tracking towards the area.

 

Response

  • Whenever severe thunderstorms threaten your area, listen to the radio or television newscasts for the latest information and instructions.

  • When a tornado has been sighted, stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.  Protect your head from falling objects or flying debris.

Take cover immediately, whenever you are:

  • In a house or small building, go to the basement or storm cellar.  If there is no basement, go to an interior part of the structure on the lower level (closest, interior hallways).  In either case, get under something sturdy (such as a heavy table) and stay there until the danger has passed.

  • In a school, nursing home, hospital, factory or shopping center, go to pre-designated shelter areas.  Interior hallways on the lowest floor are usually safest.  Stay away from windows and open spaces. Cooperate with the staff and authorities - they have been training about how to deal with emergencies.

  • In a high-rise building, go to small, interior rooms or hallways on the lowest floor possible.

  • In a vehicle, trailer, or mobile home, get out immediately and go to a more substantial structure.  If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine or culvert with your hands shielding your head.

  • DO NOT attempt to flee from a tornado in a car or other vehicle.  

 

Recovery

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.

  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.

  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.

  • Stay out of damaged buildings and homes until local authorities indicate it is safe.

  • Use extreme caution during clean-up of building and around debris.

 

https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes

https://www.weather.gov/

 

 

Thunderstorms:

Thunderstorms are the most common summer storm in Lawrence County, occurring primarily in the months of May through August. Thunderstorms are always accompanied by lightning and often have strong wind gusts and heavy rain. They can even generate hail and tornadoes.

Straight-Line Winds

A wind storm, is any storm that produces winds in excess of 58 miles per hour, excluding tornadoes. Straight-line winds can and do occur in all months of the year; however, the most severe windstorms usually occur during a severe thunderstorm, in the warm months of the year. These can also inflict damage to buildings and in some cases overturn high profile vehicles. Downburst winds can cause as much damage as a small tornado and are frequently confused with tornadoes because of the extensive damage they cause.

As these downburst winds spread out, they are often referred to as straight-lined winds. They can cause major structural and tree damage over a relatively large area.

Sirens will sound in Lawrence County for severe thunderstorm warnings with winds in excess of 75 miles per hour or golf ball or larger size hail.

 

Preparedness

  • Be sure everyone in your household knows in advance where to go and what to do in case of a thunderstorm warning is issued.

  • Have emergency supplies on hand during thunderstorm season.  See the Get a Kit, make a Plan (PDF) for recommendations.

  • Know the locations of designated shelter areas in public facilitates, such as schools, public buildings and shopping centers.

  • Sign up for alerts at: http://mo-monettlawrenceco.civicready.com/

 

Key Terms

Know the terms used to describe thunderstorm threats:

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch means be prepared, severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties.

  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning means take action, severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicted by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Take shelter in a substantial building.

 

Response

  • When a thunderstorm has been sighted, stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.

  • Whenever severe thunderstorm threaten your area, listen to the radio or television newscasts for the latest information and instructions.

Location-Based Responses

Take cover immediately if a storm is approaching your area:

  • In a , go to small, interior rooms or hallways on the lowest floor possible.

  • In a , go to the basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement, go to an interior part of the structure on the lower level (closest, interior hallways). In either case, get under something sturdy (such as a heavy table) and stay there until the danger has passed.

  • In a , go to pre-designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest floor are usually safest. Stay away from windows and open spaces. Cooperate with the staff and authorities - they have been training about how to deal with emergencies.

  • In a, get out immediately and go to a more substantial structure. If there is not shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ravine or culvert with your hands shielding your head.

 

Recovery

  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.

  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.

  • Stay out of damaged buildings and homes until local authorities indicate it is safe.

  • Use extreme caution during clean-up of building and around debris.

  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.

 

https://www.weather.gov/safety/thunderstorm

 

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/thunderstorm.html

 

 

Lightning:

While straight-lined winds and tornadoes are also a significant hazard associated with severe thunderstorms, lightning is probably the most frequent hazard, and the hazard that causes the most loss of life. Lightning occurs to balance the difference between positive and negative discharges within a cloud, between two clouds and between the cloud and the ground. For example, a negative charge at the base of a cloud is attracted to a positive charge on the ground. When the difference between the two charges becomes great enough a lightning bolt strikes. The charge is usually strongest on tall buildings, trees and other objects protruding from the surface and consequently such objects are more likely to be struck than lower objects.

Preparedness

Anticipating Lightning

  • Lightning always accompanies thunderstorms, so your first line of defense is to keep an eye and ear to the sky.

  • If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.

  • There are no official lightning watches or warnings.

  • Many thunderstorms with lightning occur without being designated as "severe".

  • Lightning can strike as far as ten miles from the base of a thunderstorm.

 

Response

If you are outside:

  • If there is no shelter, find a low-lying, open place that is a safe distance from trees, poles, or metal objects.

  • If you are in a car, keep the windows closed.

  • If you feel your hair stand on end in a storm, drop into the tuck position immediately. This sensation means electric charges are already rushing up your body from the ground.

  • Squat low to the ground, hands on knees, head tucked between them. Do not lie flat on the ground.

  • Take cover in the best shelter you can find.

If you are inside:

  • Avoid using the phone, telephone lines can conduct electricity.

  • Close the blinds and shades of your windows, then keep away from them.

  • Stay away from faucets, sinks and bathtubs.

  • Unplug all appliances, including air conditioners, before the storm hits.

https://www.weather.gov/safety/lightning-tips

 

Hail

How Hail Forms

Hail is formed when strong updrafts within cumulonimbus clouds carry water droplets above the freezing level or when ice pellets in the cloud collide with water droplets. The water freezes or attaches to the ice pellets and begin to freeze as a strong updraft wind tosses the pellets and droplets back up into colder regions of the cloud. Both gravity and downdrafts in the cloud pull the pellets down, where they encounter more droplets that attach and freeze as the pellets are tossed once again to higher levels on the cloud.

https://www.weather.gov/

Ice Storms

Ice Storms may include freezing rain, drizzle and sleet. Freezing rain, probably the most serious of the ice storms, occurs during a precipitation event when warm air aloft exceeds 32 degrees Fahrenheit while the surface remains below the freezing point. When precipitation originating as rain or drizzle contacts physical structures on the surface, ice forms on all surfaces creating problems for traffic, utility lines, and tree limbs.

Ice storms can create dangerous travel conditions and power outages. Pay attention to local safety messages for travel advisories and road conditions.

Have you thought about alternate heat sources if the power goes out? Take the time now to determine what you need to do during winter power outages.

https://www.weather.gov/

 

Water Supply Contamination

Water supply contamination is the introduction of point and non-point source pollutants into public ground water, public or private wells, and/or surface water supplies. Although minimal, water supply contamination does pose a threat in the County. Microbiological and chemical contaminants can enter water supplies. Chemicals can leach throughout soils from leaking underground storage tanks, feedlots and waste disposal sites. Human waste and pesticides can also be carried to lakes and streams during heavy rains and snow melts. 

 

https://www.epa.gov/ccl/types-drinking-water-contaminants

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/public/water_treatment.html

 

 

Terrorist Attack

Terrorist attacks are human-caused hazards that are intentional, criminal, malicious uses of force and violence to perpetrate disasters against people or property. They can be actions intended to intimidate or coerce a government of the civilian population to further political or social objectives - which can be either domestic or international, depending on the origin, base and objectives of the terrorist organization.

Forms of Terrorism

Hazards can result from, but are not limited to:

  • Arson, incendiary, explosive and armed attacks

  • Cyber terrorism

  • Industrial sabotage and international hazardous materials releases

  • Use of weapons of mass destruction, including biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological weapons

 

The stark reality is that potential terrorist threats are limited only by the perpetrators and as a result terrorism is quite difficult to prevent.

https://www.fbi.gov/

https://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/terrorism.html#About