McKenzie County Emergency Management – Working For Safety

McKenzie County Emergency Management is here for you in the event of an emergency or disaster. Emergency manager Karolin Jappe has been on the job for 10 years now working with other agencies in the county and its neighbors, responding to emergencies and disasters, but also training others to be prepared. If needed, Jappe can also call on her neighboring counties for help as well as the state DES for assistance if the disaster becomes quite large and she needs more resources than are available. So far, she has only had to call out resources from her neighboring counties.

“Our job is keeping people safe to the best of our abilities and being there for them if something tragic happens such as losing their home to a fire or having been flooded by a river or some other natural disaster. We work with 11 fire departments including two from Montana. She pays attention when there is a fire, and responds appropriately, staying away if not needed, or taking the mobile air trailer to the scene if necessary. “I self-dispatch according to need,” she said.

Although Emergency Management does not provide medical services, Jappe works to make sure the ambulances and four Quick Response teams in the area are up to snuff and have everything they need to carry out their duties. Jappe and her staff also spend time exercising and training with oil companies, in case of a disaster.

A critical part of Emergency Management is first of all having a plan. Prevention and preparation are key to any disaster. Then responding to disasters such as fires, floods, tornados and sometimes severe summer or winter weather. Emergency managers are known to be the resource center for many things. They work closely with our fire departments and law enforcement on many scenes and if needed find resources they may need or that the people and businesses affected may need.

Jappe said she spent two months in the Fairview Fire Hall during the floods of 2019, coordinating assistance for the many people in the flooded area. “The fire chief just let me more or less move in and use his office while trying to help the residents who were affected by the flooding. When something like this happens that is when I work very closely with Richland County DES director Brandon Roth. Brandon has been great to work with and we each have our strengths that seem to compliment each other. We both have a hard time seeing state lines. It’s all about the people we serve.”

She has also written many grants for things like storm shelters, mobile air trailer, EOC (Emergency Operations Center) trailer and grants for equipment for some of our volunteer fire departments need that they cannot afford.

But all in all her biggest concern is reaching families and teaching them about how to be prepared for any disaster, be it tornado, fire, flood or any other natural disaster. As part of that outreach, Jappe and her assistant will be in all of the schools in McKenzie County this month reading the book “Tommy the Tornado” to elementary students, and stressing that they take the book home to share with their parents about the importance of being prepared and to have a family plan in case of a disaster hitting close to home.

Her office has also hosted disaster preparedness discussions at various churches and hopes to host many more, as her big concern is all about reaching more families and educate them about potential disasters and how they can get better prepared. Annually, McKenzie County hosts the annual Skywarn class. This year it will be held on April 30, in Watford City at the middle school. Anyone wishing to become a storm spotter is encouraged to attend. The hour-and-a-half class will begin at 6 p.m.

For more information on McKenzie County Emergency Management, we strive hard to keep our Facebook page up to date with the latest information. This last year, the office also created a Spanish Emergency Management Facebook page as we have a large Spanish population that we do not want to forget about.


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