Emergency Management Program Development

Delivered in a four-part series over a calendar year, the Emergency Management Program Development course provides a comprehensive overview of the statutory requirements and professional duties of today’s emergency manager.

Annual Association Conference

Join Us at our Annual Conference at Camp Okoboji in Wahpeton.

Be Prepared

Make sure you’re prepared for when disaster strikes! Learn more about creating a kit below.

Our Mission

The Iowa Emergency Management Association exists to advance the professional interests of its members and to assist Iowans in preserving life and protecting property in the face of any hazard.

Association News

IEMA encourages Iowa Legislators to support Senate File 41 and House File 146

SF41 & HF126 are Acts relating to the budgeting of local emergency management agencies that will provide secure funding for this legislatively enacted essential service in a manner that will provide equitable services across all political subdivisions consistent with its legislative intent and authority under Chapter 29C.

Download PDF: SF41 HF126 Talking Points v3 01-30-23

What the Bills Do

  • Ends the 37-yearfunding authority debate & battles over financial control of emergency management that jeopardizes the lives and safety of Iowans.
  • Provides the direct reference demonstrating that the commission is already a municipality for local budgeting under Chapter 24 definitions. (§24.2(5))
  • In addition to already being a certifying board (§24.2(2)),the Act designates the commission as a levying board to levy their own countywide special levy pursuant to Chapter 24. (§24.2(4))
  • Requires the commission to be identified separately on tax statements like schools, airport authorities, and other entities, providing accountable “truth in taxation”.
  • Maintains existing financial processes and responsibilities for the receipt and expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

What the Bills Mean

  • Appropriate services, as determined by county and municipal government elected leaders, will be funded without improper, uninformed unilateral funding reductions.
  • Solidifies the commission as an independent authority, operationally and financially, as legislatively intended under Chapter 29C.
  • Funding decisions remain with the Chief Elected Officials from jurisdictions within counties to ensure fiscal responsibility, prudency, and authoritiesunderlaw.
  • Reduces levy rates on County and/or Municipal levies while enhancing transparency and accountability with taxpayers.
  • Revenues and expenses are still processed through County Treasurer’s and Auditor’s Offices for additional fiscal accountability.

Why You Should Support the Bills

  • Iowa is ranked 4th in the Nation as most impacted by disasters; sustainable EM programs are essential to Iowa’s life safety and economic security priorities.
  • Your jurisdiction’s ability to respond and recover from disasters is jeopardized if a single political subdivision can unilaterally manipulate program funding that limit required services and programs.
  • There is no legal basis for one political subdivision to impose its financial will and agenda above other commission member jurisdictions. *
  • Truth in taxation is a public priority and government responsibility; SF41 and HF126 create true transparency.
  • The Acts reduce government political in-fighting that destroys public confidence in government’s ability to effectively respond to and recover from disasters.

SF41 & HF126 DO NOT create a new tax. It designates the commission as the levy authority identifying to the public their funds allocated for emergency & disaster preparedness, response, recovery, & mitigation. Current methods bury this use of taxpayer funds within levies of the county board of supervisors or multiple jurisdictions.

Foundational Authorities Supporting SF41 and HF126

What’s the actual problem?

Over time, contrary interpretations to various code sections and unique political environments at the local level have created scenarios for nearly four decades where emergency management commissions have programmed, adopted, and certified their budgets. This budget is provided, under many circumstances, as a “special levy” to be generated under the County General Supplemental Levy as authorized in chapter 29C. At times, when local relationships and priorities could not be forged, boards of supervisors have unilaterally defunded emergency management budgets. The authority for this occurrence has become highly contested and unless corrected in context with the following foundational authorities, as SF41 and HF126 does, commissions will have no control over destabilized funding that puts Iowans at risk.

The General Assembly has codified a process for emergency management and security in the state. That process is established under a commission comprised of allpolitical subdivisions within a geographic county to establish, determine, administer, and conduct its legally identified mission and purpose on behalf of the political subdivisions represented on the commission. The intent of the law, especially in context of the identified powers andauthoritieswithinconstitutionally-based provisions and implementing laws, is to be and remain an autonomousjoint government entity that sits as the protective umbrella over all jurisdictions for the purpose of emergency management.

The Iowa Constitution provides counties the power and authority, not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly, to determine their local affairs of government

Iowa Code provides for implementation of those powers and authorities by stating “a county may, except as expressly limited by the Constitution of the State of Iowa, and if not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly, exercise any power and perform any function it deems appropriate to protect and preserve the rights, privileges, and property of the county or of its residents, and to preserve and improve the peace, safety, health, welfare, comfort, and convenience of its residents.

The General Assembly has provided one such law related to disasters, Chapter 29C. This law clearly demonstrates a commission’s intended autonomy that is subverted by the described problem, essentially stripping the commission of its authority and ability to effectively and efficiently carry out the provisions of Chapter 29C.

Autonomous Authority from Political Subdivisions

§29C.9(1) –The county board of supervisors, city councils, and the sheriff in each county shall cooperatewith the department to establish a commission to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

§29C.9(6) –The commission shall determine the mission of its agency and program and provide direction for the deliver of the emergency management services of planning, administration, coordination, training, and support for local governments and their departments…

Autonomy over Outside Budgetary Approval

§29C.17(1) –…The commission shall be the fiscal authority and the chairperson or vice chairperson of the commission is the certifying official.

§29C.17(2) –… the local emergency management agency’s approved budget shall be funded by one or any combination of the following options, as determined by the commission…

§29C.17(6) –Subject to chapter 24, the commission shall adopt, certify, and provide a budget, on or before February 28 of each year, to the funding entities determinedpursuant to subsection 2.

IEMA Legislative Priorities for 2023

Fact sheets for the Association’s 2023 Legislative Priorities

29C Emergency Management & Security

IPERS Protected Status for All Public Safety Professionals

Expand Iowa Sales Tax Holiday for Emergency Preparedness



State & Federal Emergency Management Resources

Association Districts

The Iowa Emergency Management Association has divided Iowa into six districts. Each district appoints two active members to represent that district on the Executive Committee of the Association – one as the primary representative and the other as the alternate. The district reps are responsible for conducting district meetings and relaying information between the members of their district and the Executive Committee.

Be Ready When Disaster Strikes

Get a Kit

basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Local maps
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • First aid kit
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter, or solar charger

Make a Plan

Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to think about the following situations and plan just in case. Consider the following questions when making a plan:

  • How will I let loved ones know I am safe?
  • How will my family/household get to safe locations for relevant emergencies?
  • How will my family/household get emergency alerts and warnings?
  • How will my family/household get in touch if cell phone, internet, or landline doesn’t work?
  • How will family/household get to a meeting place after the emergency?

Be Informed

Emergency preparedness is not only for Californians, Midwesterners, and Gulf Coast residents. Most communities may be impacted by several types of hazards during a lifetime. Americans also travel more than ever before to areas with different hazard risks than at home.

Knowing what to do before, during, and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. Use this site to learn about potential emergencies that can happen and how to prepare for and respond to them.


Preparedness Resources

Sponsoring Members