Emergency Management


This vision of Emergency Management is that Cowley County, KS will be a community of cities and citizens who are disaster aware and disaster prepared.

MissionCowley County Emergency Management

To save lives, protect property, and reduce the impacts of disasters through the mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery phases of Emergency Management.

Outdoor Warning Sirens

Cowley County Emergency Management is responsible for testing and facilitating maintenance of the sirens for the following areas: Cities of Winfield, Atlanta, Burden, Cambridge, Dexter, Rock, and Udall along with Strother Field and the Winfield City Lake. If you have questions about any of these sirens, call (620) 221-0470. For maps of siren locations and coverage, click:  Siren Location/Coverage Map.

The City of Arkansas City is responsible for testing and facilitating the maintenance for the sirens in the City of Arkansas City, Parkerfield and IXL. If you have any questions about these sirens, call (620) 441-4454. For a map of siren location and coverage, click:  Siren Location/Coverage Map.

Regular weekly testing of outdoor sirens begin on the Tuesday of Severe Weather Awareness Week in March. Sirens will be tested every Tuesday at noon (weather permitting) through the month of June. For the months of July through November, sirens will be tested only on the first Tuesday. If that day does not work due to weather conditions, the test will be moved to the next week. There will be no regular tests during the months of December, January and February (unless done solely for maintenance purposes).

Different jurisdictions have different guidelines when it comes to siren activation. Cowley County is responsible for activating the sirens for the areas listed above. The specific guide for siren activation can be found here: Siren Activation Guide.

For a guide for siren activation of those controlled by the City of Arkansas City, contact them directly.

If you have further questions, please check out our Siren FAQ page. If that does not fully answer your questions, please call or email our agency.

Community (Public) Shelters

Severe weather is a threat to our citizens at any time during the year. However, the threat of severe weather including high winds, hail and tornadoes is most prominent during the spring and early summer seasons.

Every year, citizens ask about public storm shelters available to them prior to and during severe weather events.  Cowley County Emergency Management does not operate, own, maintain,  or open any public shelters prior to any severe storm. We encourage citizens to locate alternative sheltering locations by contacting their neighbors, family, friends, co-workers, etc. The time to make that plan is well before the storm so when there is a threat of severe weather, those plans can be carried out.

However, some communities across Cowley County have designated storm shelters that are open to the public before and during severe weather. Cowley County has absolutely no control over these shelters to include when they are open, how long they are open, when they are closed, who can be in the shelter or how people can be sheltered. Cowley County is not responsible for any damages that occur inside a shelter, to a shelter, or any injuries or harm that may occur during this process. These shelters are a courtesy of the owner and it is up to them to establish guidelines or policies as to how they will be operated and they assume all liability and risk.

We are aware that many citizens are looking for these places. However, Cowley County cannot force any business, church or other organization to open their doors to allow for public sheltering. Even if a location is opened, there is no guarantee that we will be made aware of it to pass it along to the public. If a jurisdiction, organization or business does open a public shelter, that is completely their decision and their policies and rules must be followed.

Below are two links containing information about community shelters that has been provided to Cowley County Emergency Management. The first is a list of shelters along with owner/contact name and contact information. The second is a map with the locations of the shelters.  We encourage anyone that may want to use a public shelter to locate the shelter closest to your home, make contact with the hosting agency and learn the specific policies about that shelter.

Community Shelters List

Community Shelters Map

Sheltering should be taken care of at the personal level. It is your responsibility to locate a safe place to shelter long before any severe weather strikes. When creating your personal sheltering plan, keep in mind the time it takes to travel to a public shelter and the risk associated with being outdoors during severe weather.

We at Emergency Management encourage everyone to plan early, have a preparedness kit, be informed and practice regularly so that you and your family are safe when severe weather strikes.


Storm Fury on the Plains

Severe Weather season is upon us again once again.  The annual Storm Fury on the Plains is scheduled for Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 2:30pm or 6:30pm at the Cowley Cinema 8 Theatre.  The public is invited and free to attend. There is no registration. To access the full flyer, click here.

Severe Weather Awareness Week

Severe Weather Awareness Week is scheduled for March 5-9, 2018.  As we approach severe weather season, please take time to review and practice your plans. Click here to view the Severe Weather Awareness Week packet for information from 2017 and safety tips for the upcoming severe weather season.


Categorical Risk in Severe Weather

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK issues Convective Outlooks for severe thunderstorms for Days 1, 2, 3 and then 4-8. Each category is assigned a name and a color: Marginal (green), Slight (yellow), Enhanced (orange), Moderate (red) and High (magenta).

The chart below should help explain the categories in more detail (click on image to make it larger).

Helpful Web Links

Homeowners Guide to Lightning Safety:

Preparing for Disasters in Your Home: What to Buy, What to Skip:
Emergency Preparedness and Pets:

Important Legal Documents for Disaster Preparedness:

Emergency Preparedness for Seniors:

How to Organize and Prepare for Disasters:


Cowley County Emergency Management is proud to call Cowley County a StormReady® County. The designation was last renewed (for the sixth time) on November 7, 2017.

To be a StormReady® community, we commit to complying with the following guidelines:

1) Communication:

  • Established a 24 hour warning point (WP)
  • Establish an Emergency Operations Center (EOC)

2) NWS Information Reception:

  • Have 4 separate ways for the EOC/WP to receive NWS alerts

3) Hydrometeoroligcal Monitoring:

StormReady® 5th Renewal Certificate of Achievement

  • Have 3 separate ways to receive hydrometerological data

4) Community Preparedness:

  • Have a minimum of 3 weather safety talks annually
  • Train spotters and dispatchers biennially
  • Host an annual NWS spotter training

5) Administrative:

  • Have a formal hazardous weather operations plan
  • Biennial visits by the Emergency Manager to the NWS
  • Annual visit by NWS official to community


As of January 31, 2018, Kansas has the following StormReady® deisgnations:

  • 31 Counties
  • 7 Communities
  • 4 Government/Military Sites
  • 3 Colleges/Universities
  • 1 Commercial Site
  • 4 Supporters

Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador

Cowley County is the first County in the South Central Region to become a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador. As an Ambassador, we serve a role in affecting societal change-helping build a nation that is ready, responsive, and resilient to the impacts of extreme weather and water events. As an Ambassador, we are committed to:

  • Promoting Weather-Ready Nation messages
  • Engaging with NOAA personnel on potential collaboration opportunities
  • Sharing our success stories of preparedness and resiliency
  • Serving as an example by educating employees on workplace preparedness

For more information, click on this link: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/

In September of 2017, Cowley County Emergency Management was named an “Ambassador of Excellence” by the NWS Headquarters. The nomination was submitted by the NWS Office in Wichita for going above and beyond the normal call of duty.

Volunteer Assistance


Emergency Management Volunteers are requested and used in a variety of ways throughout the year. We are asking that anyone who is asking for volunteer assistance, please fill out the Volunteer Assistance Request Form and return to our office. This will help us have a better understanding of the needs and helps us obtain the correct trained volunteers.

Click here for the form.

Please drop the form off at our office or email it to emergencymanagement@cowleycounty.org

Severe Weather Presentations

Cowley County Emergency Management, in conjunction with the Cowley County Emergency Auxiliary is pleased to announce that we are willing to provide Severe Weather presentations to anyone making a request. These presentations are free and can be delivered on-site to schools, classes, public organizations, civic groups, etc. If you are interested, please call the Emergency Management office at (620) 221-0470 to schedule a presentation.

Emergency Management Annual Reports

Cowley County EM staff completes an annual report to highlight activities and accomplishments throughout the year.

2012 Annual Report

2013 Annual Report

2014 Annual Report

2015 Annual Report

2016 Annual Report

2017 Annual Report

Kansas Emergency Management Association (KEMA) Newsletters known as “The KEMA Perspective”

November 2012                         November 2013             August 2016

February 2013                           April 2014

April 2013                                  August 2014

August 2013                              June 2015

Replacing Important Documents

Following a disaster, one of the many stressors is trying to replace lost documents. Click here for a list of documents with information to replace them.

Cowley County Emergency Operations Plan

The Cowley County Emergency Management “EOP” is printable in a PDF format which requires Adobe Reader. The documents presented below contain the majority of information contained within the Cowley County Emergency Operations Plan, but the file archives and attachments referred to within these documents are not accessible within this website.

South-Central Region Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan

The Cowley County Emergency Management Agency has completed an extensive update of the 2009 Hazard Mitigation Plan. The Cowley County Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee has analyzed the overall risk and impact from past hazards on area residents, property, and critical infrastructure. That information was considered in evaluating and updating past mitigation policies and initiatives to prevent future disaster losses, in particular for natural hazards.  Adoption is currently pending for the 2014 version of the plan.  Until formal adoption takes place, both versions of the plan will be made available.

South-Central Region Hazard Analysis Plan

The South Central Region Hazard Analysis Plan is a 19-County plan meant to identify the potential for hazards facing a community. Hazards identified are natural, technological and national security related. Counties involved in the plan are: Barber, Barton, Butler, Comanche, Cowley, Edwards, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, Kiowa, Marion, McPherson, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Sedgwick, Stafford, and Sumner.

Social Media Disclaimer

Any information on the Emergency Management website or the affiliated services included (RSS Feeds, Twitter or Facebook) will be updated as time allows.

These are simply meant to be additional tools from which you can gather information. Please do not use these tools as your only source. Continue to refer to local media outlets for more information.

Websites and Social Networking sites are NOT to be used to report any information such as emergencies or other issues that require immediate assistance. If you have an emergency, do not use these tools – call 911. RSS Feeds, Twitter and Facebook are only meant to disseminate information to the end user.

Opinions expressed by visitors on our Social Media sites do not necessarily reflection the opinions of the department or Cowley County.

Comments or postings will be monitored and Cowley County has the right to remove or deny any postings which may or may not include the following examples: obscenities, off-topic comments, libelous remarks, and personal attacks.

For more info, please read the Social Media Terms of Use.