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Ready Iowa?

Emergencies are a part of life. Fire, police, and emergency medical services may be delayed in an emergency or unable to respond. Whether it is tornadoes, flooding, winter storms, or an act of terrorism, emergencies can occur quickly and without warning. Although we cannot prevent emergencies, we can prepare for them.

Severe Weather Awareness Week 2023

March 27-31 is Severe Weather Awareness Week

The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD), National Weather Service (NWS), and Iowa Emergency Management Association (IEMA) have joined together to promote Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 27-31. 

“Iowa is no stranger to severe weather,” said HSEMD Director John Benson. “We frequently see tornadoes, flooding, straight-line winds and even derechos. So take the time now to prepare yourself and your family so you know what to do if severe weather is headed your way.”

Benson urges Iowans to take three simple steps to be better prepared:

  • Be aware of weather hazards by signing up for emergency notifications through Alert Iowa ( or use a NOAA Weather Radio or other type of alerting tool.
  • Make an emergency plan with your family. Think about where you will go and what actions you will need to take to stay safe if you are impacted by severe weather.
  • Build an emergency kit with items you and your family will need if you must evacuate your home.

For each day during Severe Weather Awareness Week a different subject will be highlighted:

  • Monday – Severe thunderstorms
  • Tuesday – Weather alerts
  • Wednesday – Tornadoes
  • Thursday – Family preparedness
  • Friday – Flash floods

The annual statewide tornado drill will take place on Wed., March 29, beginning at 10 a.m. during the weekly NOAA Weather Radio test. In the event of severe weather, the drill will be postponed to March 30 at 10 a.m. Additional information about the tornado drill can be found on local NWS websites.

About us

What We Do

The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) has been working to make Iowa more prepared for disasters since it began as the State Civil Defense Agency in 1965. The focus of emergency management and the hazards faced by Iowans may have changed in some ways since that time, but what hasn’t changed is our commitment to making our state more prepared for any emergency or disaster.  

Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the department, then a division under the Iowa Department of Public Defense, was directed by the governor to coordinate Iowa’s homeland security efforts. While this broadened our mission, our underlying priority of ensuring Iowa is prepared and ready to respond to any disaster drives all we do.

While the likelihood of a terrorist act being committed in Iowa is unknown, we will continue to be affected by floods, tornadoes, snow storms, plane crashes, and other natural and human-caused disasters. HSEMD approaches these and other emergency situations with an emphasis on maximizing resources by using and expanding upon current capacities and building core capabilities that ensure we are prepared for all hazards.

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Disaster & EMERGENCY Preparedness

Be Ready in 3 Steps



Make a Plan

Knowing what to do in the event of an emergency is key. Make sure everyone in your family knows the drill.



Build a Kit

Your emergency supply kit should have everything you need to sustain you and your family for 3-5 days. Use a checklist to create your own kit.



Be Aware

Learn about the hazards that can affect your community and learn how to get information about current weather and road conditions. 

READY IOWA has social media resources that you can share to promote preparedness in your home and community.