Minnehaha County, South Dakota
Amateur radio persons, better known as Hams, have been included in Emergency Management disaster planning. These persons have the responsibility of providing backup communications in the event of a failure of the government system. They are also a ready resource for supplementing communications at large disasters or emergencies.
With the computer and combination radio resource they provide, Minnehaha County can communicate to the outside world when needed. This group consists of forty volunteers who meet weekly to maintain the experience of the new trends. They have provided many hours to the community through severe weather watches, training meetings, and public relations service.
The Minnehaha County Emergency Management Dive Team consists of certified divers who train to stay proficient for quick response needed for river and lake rescue. They work very closely and train in special maneuvers with the Rescue Unit. Dive Team vehicles and the boats are shared with the Rescue Squad. In addition to responding to drowning emergencies, the Dive Team works with local law enforcement in water searches for crime evidence discarded in water.
They have been requested to assist in numerous search and water recovery efforts in other jurisdictions in the state and neighboring states.
Minnehaha County is looking volunteer divers of all levels, call, stop by the Emergency Management Office or fill out the online volunteer form.
The Minnehaha County Emergency Management Rescue Squad consists of dedicated volunteers who are on twenty-four hour call to assist rural fire departments with their firefighting efforts. The Rescue Squad is also called upon for search and rescue calls. They assist the Dive Team and rural fire departments with a mobile cascade system to fill air tanks. This group maintains boats and other specialty equipment such as tracked ATV’s and a UTV. The Rescue squad meets monthly.
The Rescue Unit maintains and operates rescue vehicles with first-aid and rescue tools of all kinds for extrication. The main first response, carries the Hurst tool, "Jaws of Life," hydraulic jacks, spreaders, air bags, and medical supplies needed at the vehicle accidents.
The Rescue Squad’s application period is always open. If you would like to join the Minnehaha County Emergency Management Rescue Squad, call, stop by the Emergency Management Office or fill out the online volunteer form.
The Minnehaha County Emergency Management Reserve Law Enforcement Unit currently consists of reserve law enforcement officers. The primary function of a reserve officer is to supplement and support career law enforcement officers. Each are certified by the South Dakota Law Enforcement Standards and Training Commission. Each officer is required to provide the community with no less than eight hours of duty time each month. Duty time is acquired by working with either the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office, Sioux Falls Police Department, Brandon Police Department, South Dakota Highway Patrol, or the Department of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. Each officer is also required to attend a three-hour training session each month. Officers also work requested time when an agency asks for assistance for a special event. Reserve officers have participated in assisting at parades, Sioux Empire Fair, marathons, holiday patrol, street dances, community events, bike patrol, tournaments, and dignitary visits such as Presidential details.
The Emergency Management Office holds training for new officers on a yearly basis with the entire training program running approximately five months. Classes are held accordingly with the requirements of the South Dakota Law Enforcement Standards and Training Commission. If you would like to join the Minnehaha County Reserve Law Enforcement, call, stop by the Emergency Management Office or fill out the online volunteer form.
The tornado spotters network is the largest group of volunteers the Office of Minnehaha County Emergency Management coordinates. The spotters network consists of persons from the Rescue Squad, Amateur Radio Club, volunteer fire departments, law enforcement, and citizens at large.
Volunteers respond when summoned for assistance to watch the weather. Their response is in their personal vehicles, and they drive several miles each watch with disregard to any damage that may occur because of hail and strong winds. The skilled training of the spotter is vital to the early warning and protection of Minnehaha County citizens.