Emergency Management FAQ

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General Questions
How do I arrange to get my Weather Radio programmed?

Please contact Iowa County Emergency Management at (608) 930-9541 or icem@iowacounty.org to arrange a time that you can bring your Weather Radio in to be programmed. The process generally takes 10-15 minutes.

How do I arrange for Iowa County Emergency Management to do a training or presentation?

Please fill out the Request for Training and/or Presentation Form in the Emergency Management menu. 

What are the outdoor warning sirens used for and when are they tested?

Outdoor warning sirens are maintained by the local municipalities but activated by the Iowa County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center. We sound sirens for Funnel Clouds, Tornadoes, and Fire Department activations. Some communities sound the sirens at noon every day but Sunday and the tornado sirens are tested bimonthly on the first and third Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m. These tests are performed March through October.

Who should I contact if an outdoor warning siren is not working?

Contact the local fire chief or the municipal clerk’s office for the jurisdiction.

How do I become a Weather Spotter?

Iowa County Emergency Management hosts a Weather Spotter class every spring. Notice of the training will be published in the Dodgeville Chronicle and on the ICEM Facebook page as well as website.

What does it mean to be a “Storm Ready Community?”

Iowa County Emergency is working to fulfill all the requirements of becoming a National Weather Service Storm Ready Community. There a number of requirements regarding how we receive severe weather information, disseminate weather information to the public and what we do to prepare the community for severe weather events.

Who do I report my storm damage to?

If you are reporting damage to a primary home, please click on the Damage Reports action button and provide the requested information. If you are a farmer reporting outbuilding or crop damage, please call the Farm Service Agency of Iowa County to report it.

Smart 911 Questions
What triggers a Smart 911 message?

Depending on the type of incident we will send messages when there are incidents occurring that may pose a significant threat to the public’s safety. We do take into consideration the type of incident, time of day, location, and level of hazard. During Law Enforcement Incidents, we send messages as requested by Law Enforcement. Hyper-Reach is not to be considered a “news” service but rather a “Public Safety Alert” service.

Radio Etiquette & Communications Questions
How should I talk on the radio?

Hold the mic directly in front you with the mic facing you and 4-6 inches away from your mouth. Talk in a normal voice. DO NOT YELL INTO THE MIC!! This simply does not help. Be aware of your surroundings when talking on the radio and avoid unnecessary background noise. Give your message in plain language so everyone fully understands what you are talking about. We have gotten into some strange habits with ten codes many times not even saying "10". A conversation on the radio should be much like a conversation in person just shortened. When someone says something to you, reply with an acknowledgement. (Copy, Unit # then "Copy", Copy That etc…) When announcing yourself on the radio use you municipal identifier (Dodgeville Engine 1 to….) and continue to use this when initiating any conversation. Use it also when giving an initial reply. (Dodgeville Engine 1 to Ridgeway Fire 1 ---- Ridgeway Fire 1, Go ahead). This assures that everyone knows who they are talking to. These guidelines apply to all disciplines. If you listen to radio traffic that is not using these guidelines, you will hear a lot of unnecessary radio traffic.

How should I communicate with other units or Dispatch?

When needing to speak with another unit or a dispatcher, it is always best to call for their attention first before going on with your message. Example: 781 to Iowa Comm - wait for their response, then go ahead with your message. Iowa County's Dispatchers answer all phone calls coming into the Sheriff’s Office. More often than not they are involved in another conversation when you call in. Never assume they are just waiting for you to say something.

How should I scan and use the Trunking System?

A reminder to all users of the Iowa County Public Safety Communications System. If you set your radio to scan multiple talkgroups, you will likely miss pieces of conversations. You cannot have a priority talkgroup and because scanning a trunking system requires more processes for the radio to perform, if you are scanning, you are taking a chance that you will miss radio traffic. If you really need to scan, I would suggest you purchase a scanner with a 12v converter and mount it in your vehicle. If you are interested in scanning surrounding counties, with the exception of the new DaneCom system, all are analog on their primary frequencies. A standard analog scanner or analog (but narrowbandable) mobile radio would work for this

What can I do if I'm having problems transmitting?

If you find yourself having problems transmitting or receiving on a scene, take a look up. If you are under power lines, you will want to move from that area. Generally 15 to 20 feet is enough. Power lines can produce enough interference to prevent your 5 watt portable from transmitting or receiving or both successfully

What are the channels like FG Blue, White, Red, etc... for?

What are the channels like FG Blue, White, Black, Gold, Gray, NATSAR, WEM CAR, VTAC11 etc... for? - These are called simplex channels or incident management channels. These channels allow radios to talk to each other directly rather than having to talk through a repeater site and then to another radio. Doing this frees up the repeater channels for radio traffic that is covering a large area. Additionally, it can provide for better communications especially with portable radios since the portable radio does not have to push the signal to a tower site. Simplex channels are very limited in their range but can be very effective for incident management. Generally, dispatch does not hear these channels. Only those radios that are within a few miles of the radio that is transmitting will hear the message.

What Are the Hybrid Channels For? i.e. PS1LAW1, PS2FIRE1

The hybrid channels match up with a respective talkgoup and are designed to provide coverage in the far northern and far southern areas of the county. (i.e. IOLAW1 & PS1LAW1 interface with each other). In other words you will hear what is going on in the corresponding talkgroup and you will talk into that talkgroup. These channels will be especially important when using portable radios to speak with dispatch or other incoming units. Why did we do this? MONEY! We simply did not have the funds to make all sites digital trunking. However, we now have a system that is using current technology and can justify spending dollars on enhancements in the future. As it stands the system has met its coverage goal. Users of the system need to take the time to learn how to use it. We continue to work out some bugs as well. If you suspect a problem with the system please notify dispatch so it can be addressed immediately.

What is the GATEWAY channel?

The GATEWAY channel operates on all five tower sites simultaneously. The frequency that radios in the field receive on for the GATEWAY channel is the same frequency Iowa County uses for paging. This is why you will receive pages when your radio is set to this channel. Another frequency has been added to the GATEWAY system to allow field units to talk back to dispatch or to other field units. The Gateway Channel is unique in that it is a completely separate system from the digital trunking/hybrid system. Because of this the GATEWAY channel gives the communications system some redundancy as well as helping to provide coverage. Dispatch monitors the GATEWAY channel constantly. GATEWAY should be your third choice when fighting a coverage issue. Digital Trunking 1st Hybrid 2nd GATEWAY 3rd GATEWAY is also an excellent way for out of county field units to communicate with dispatch or other county field units. Field units will find that they will be interrupted by paging on this channel. Reminder to Command Officers. If you are working with units that are using the Gateway channel, you can request a patch between Gateway and IOFIRE1 to hear and talk to those units directly from the talkgroup.

What is the IOTRVL talkgroup for?

This talkgroup is programmed to work on all tower sites on the states WISCOM system. It is a talkgroup assigned to Iowa County and can be used by Iowa County Public Safety agency personnel to communicate with the Iowa County Communications Center or with another field unit when traveling in other parts of the state. Conversations on this talkgroup should be short and kept to only those that are necessary.

General Information
Phone Numbers
(608) 930-9540
Fax: (608) 471-1067
Emergencies: Dial 911
109 E. Leffler St.