Emergency Management


Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force an evacuation of a community or confine residents to their homes. Communities can and do cope with disasters by preparing in advance and working together as a team. Canyon County emergency management and our first line responders are continually planning and working proactively to help ensure the safety of Canyon County residents in the case of an emergency or disaster.


The goals of emergency management are to save lives, prevent injuries and protect animals, property, and the environment if an emergency occurs. Canyon County Emergency Management (CCEM) is responsible by Idaho statute for carrying out emergency management and coordination functions, disaster mitigation, planning, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts in the event of an emergency in the county. CCEM is also responsible for maintaining an emergency operations center, located in Caldwell, to provide a coordinated emergency response. A key tool in emergency response is the ability to alert local residents as quickly as possible about emergency conditions. The primary component used to alert Canyon County residents is the Emergency Alert System (EAS) which is broadcast over local radio and television stations. Canyon County also has a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). CCEM provides coordinating support to this organization which holds monthly meetings around the county. CCEM supports and coordinates Citizen Corps activities across the county. The Citizen Corps affiliates include USA on Watch-Neighborhood watch, CERT-Community Emergency Response Teams, Fire Corps, MRC-Medical Reserve Corps, and VIPS-Volunteers in Police Service.

What is Emergency Management?

County emergency management agencies across the nation are responsible for coordinating the emergency and disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recover efforts of the county. Mitigation is defined as “sustained action that reduces or eliminates long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards and their effects.” It describes the ongoing effort at the federal, state, local and individual levels to lessen the impact of disasters upon our families, homes, communities, and economy. Canyon County and incorporated cities within the county developed and approved a Multi-Jurisdictional All Hazard Mitigation Plan in 2013 pdf. This plan was updated in 2021:

Preparedness means to have plans or preparations already made for reacting promptly and effectively to save lives and help response-and-rescue operations, before an emergency. Preparedness includes having evacuation plans, designating a family meeting place after an emergency, and having a disaster supply kit.

Response begins as soon as a disaster is detected or threatens. It involves mobilizing and positioning emergency equipment and personnel and getting people out of danger. It also means providing needed food, water, shelter, medical services, and bringing damaged services and systems back online. Local responders, government agencies and private organizations take action.

Recovery is the effort to restore infrastructure and social and economic life of a community to a normal, or even safer situation, following an emergency or disaster. Recovery can be short-term or long-term.


Individual and Family Emergency Preparedness

The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare NOW for a sudden emergency. Learn how to protect yourself, your family and your home. Cope with disasters by planning ahead.

The following information will assist you in getting started. Discuss these ideas with your family, then create a family emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it! You can get more information by viewing the Disaster Preparation Handbook. If you have special needs in an emergency, this handbook has useful information on preparedness for people with mobility or visual disabilities, hearing impairment and other special medical needs.

You can also become better prepared to respond to disasters and emergencies through training. FEMA offers over 100 free on-line training courses through their Emergency Management Institute (EMI). This training can help you, your family, your neighborhood and our community be better prepared when if disaster strikes.

For further training opportunities, please contact the Canyon County Office of Emergency Management. Remember you may be traveling when you experience some type of emergency. Be prepared while away from home. Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle. Don’t forget your pets. You need to take the necessary precautions to protect them during an emergency.

Here are some steps you can take to prepare yourself and your family for a disaster in our area:

First,you need to know what disasters are most likely to occur in your area. Certainly here in the Treasure Valley, we don’t have to worry about hurricanes or tsunamis. We can, however, experience very high winds,flooding, earthquakes, hazardous material spills, severe winter storms, and wild fires. Next, your family needs to develop an emergency plan, including a family communication plan.

Once you have it developed, you need to review it frequently with your family and practice it, especially on how to safely exit your home in case of a fire.

– Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
– Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur.
– Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
– Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two separate escape routes from each room.
– Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity.
– Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
– Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1.
– Keep family records in water and fire proof containers.
– Instruct household members to tune your radio to local radio and television stations for information.
– Pick an out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated during a disaster. (It is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
– Pick two meeting places: One near your home, in case of a fire. A second outside your neighborhood, in case you can not return home after a disaster.

Once you have your emergency plan developed, then you need to make sure you have emergency supplies on hand. Time and time again, experience shows that it will take at least 72 hours for emergency workers to get into neighborhoods. An essential part of your emergency preparation should be to assemble the supplies you and your family might need to shelter in place or quickly evacuate. Store your emergency kits in an easy-to-carry container, such as a backpack or duffel bag. If you are asked to evacuate, you can put your emergency kits in your car.

Here are some things you should consider in your 72-hour kit:
– A supply of water (one gallon per person, per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Replace every six 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.
– First aid kit and prescription medications.
– An extra pair of glasses.
– A battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
– 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.
– Phone numbers for emergency contacts.
– Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
– A whistle (used to call emergency workers to your location).
– A charged extra battery for your cell phone.
– Cash and credit card.

Red Cross Preparedness Fast Facts

Local Emergency Planning Committee

The idea that the more informed the community is, the better prepared they will be to cope with potential hazardous materials problems led to the passage of the Federal SARA Title III Community right-to-know Act. Under this federal law, each state was required to set up a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) composed of persons with technical expertise in the emergency response field.

They established emergency planning districts and oversaw the formation of Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCS). By an act of the Idaho legislature, the name of the State Emergency response Commission was changed to “Idaho Bureau of Hazardous Materials” (BHM), effective July 1, 1997. The BHM now resides under the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security. If you need to file a Tier II report you will need to send a copy to Canyon County Emergency Management, your local fire department, and the State of Idaho Homeland Security.

Canyon County expanded its LEPC to include all hazards in order to provide more comprehensive and useful emergency planning information to the residents. The Canyon County LEPC meets quarterly at different locations around the county. Please contact our office for information regarding our next planned meeting location. At these meetings we discuss All Hazard emergency planning, hazard mitigation, steering and reports from our sub-committees and stake-holders.

The LEPC is a focal point in the community for information and discussion about emergency planning, training and exercising. Membership in the Canyon County LEPC is a matter of choice, concern and commitment. The common element among members is the desire to promote public safety through personal involvement in the community.

– Elected Local and State Officials
– Law Enforcement
– Emergency Services
– Transportation agencies
– Utility Companies
– Local Environmental Agencies
– Fire Services
– Health/Hospital
– Education
– Broadcast/Print Media
– Business and Industry
– Community Groups
– Government Agencies
– Concerned Citizens
– Citizen Corps partners

All-Hazard Mitigation Plan

Canyon County and a coalition of local government planning partners adopted an updated all-hazard mitigation plan in 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions about Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning

Question: What is hazard mitigation, and what is a Hazard Mitigation Plan?
Answer: Hazard mitigation is defined as any sustained action taken to permanently eliminate or reduce long-term risks to human life and property from natural hazards. A Hazard mitigation Plan is prepared by local governments in response to the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-390). These plans act as a keyway to federal funding afforded under the Robert T. Stafford Act. These plans meet statutory requirements that include:

  • Organizing resources
  • Assessing Risk
  • Engaging the public
  • Identifying Goals and Objectives
  • Identifying actions
  • Developing plan maintenance and implementation strategies

Question: What is the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000?
Answer: The federal Disaster Mitigation Act (DMA) of 2000 (Public Law 106-390), commonly known as the 2000 Stafford Act amendments, was approved by Congress on October 10, 2000. This act required state and local governments to develop hazard mitigation plans as a condition for federal grant assistance. Among other things, this legislation reinforces the importance of pre-disaster infrastructure mitigation planning to reduce disaster losses nationwide. DMA 2000 is aimed primarily at the control and streamlining of the administration of federal disaster relief and programs to promote mitigation activities. Prior to 2000, federal legislation provided funding for disaster relief, recovery, and some hazard mitigation planning. The DMA improves upon the planning process by emphasizing the importance of communities planning for disasters before they occur.

Question: Does the State of Idaho have a State Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan?
Answer: Yes. The State of Idaho is also required to respond to the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 by developing a plan. In fact, if the state does not have a plan, no local governments within the state are eligible for any of the grant programs normally available as a result of developing a HMP. By law, the local plans are to be consistent with the recommendations of the state plan. This plan can be viewed at: https://ioem.idaho.gov/preparedness-and-protection/mitigation/state-hazard-mitigation-plan/

Question: What hazards will the mitigation plan address?
Answer: At a minimum, the plan must address the natural hazards of concern that could impact the County planning area.  It may also include a select number of technological or human caused hazards. It should also be noted that there are many secondary hazards that are directly attributable to these primary hazards that will also be addressed by the plan as part of the analysis of the primary hazard of concern.

Question: Will Global Warming/Climate Change be addressed in the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan?
Answer: Yes. While climate change will not be viewed as a stand-alone hazard in this plan, there will be detailed discussions of the potential impact of climate change on those applicable hazards of concern.

Question: How will my jurisdiction benefit by participating?
Answer: By participating in this planning effort and adopting the updated plan, your community will be eligible to pursue funding under any of the five (5) FEMA hazard mitigation grant programs. These programs provide millions of dollars worth of grant funding annually for risk reduction measures identified in these plans. Additionally, if your community participates in FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) program, this plan may have direct impact on reducing the cost of flood insurance within your community.  

Question: Does it cost my jurisdiction anything to produce this plan?
Answer: Seventy five percent of the cost associated with the preparation of this plan is being provided by a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Planning grant. The remaining 25% of the cost is an “in-kind” contribution from the steering committee, planning team and the planning partners this plan will cover. “In-kind” contribution means non-monetary contributions such as: staff time, facilities, printing cost, etc.

Question: When will the plan be finished?
Answer: It is anticipated that this plan update process will take 12 to 14 months to complete, at which time it will be submitted to Idaho Office of Emergency Services and FEMA for their review and approval. This schedule is contingent upon many factors that can impact schedule and timeline. The timeline for submittal will be continuously updated throughout the process as planning milestones are completed.

If you have questions or need assistance with emergency management, planning and preparedness, please contact:

Christine Wendelsdorf
Emergency Management Coordinator
1115 Albany St Caldwell, Idaho 83605

Office: 208-454-7271

Headshot of Christine Wendelsdorf

Christine Wendelsdorf


1115 Albany St Rm.137
Caldwell, ID 83605


P 208-454-7510



Weekdays 8am – 5pm
(excluding holidays)


Non-Emergency Dispatch




ATTORNEYS: If you have a client in custody within our facility and would like your calls to or from your client to be without charge and protected from recording and or monitoring please contact classifications at 208-455-5977.