Contributed photo
Local emergency and city personnel spoke at an emergency management summit recently.

Otter Tail County hosted the 9th Annual Emergency Management Summit: Operation Prep Kit on Thursday, April 20. The summit hosted over 50 professionals from around the region to network with one another, learn new skills and interact to share preparedness resources and shared experiences.

This year’s Summit focused on the disaster continuum, from emergency response to short and long-term recovery, and kicked off with a first responder panel sharing details about their immediate priorities and actions. Participants included Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Reed Reinbold, Fergus Falls Police Sergeant Connor West, Fergus Falls Fire Department Safety Training Officer Dan Lipson, Perham Health’s Director of EMS and Emergency Management Jim Rieber, Bjorn Ringdahl of Ringdahl Ambulance Services, Inc., Ottertail City Maintenance Coordinator and Emergency Manager Justin Lohse, and Otter Tail County Dispatcher and Battle Lake Rescue Squad member Derek Mansker.

Patrick Waletzko, Otter Tail County Emergency Manager, highlighted tools responders and communities may use to gain situational awareness about an incident and how people have been affected, including the Damage Self-Report Form, Smart911, and Rave Facility. These resources are also available for the public on the County’s website.

Chief Deputy Reinbold also provided A.L.I.C.E® training to attendees. The presentation instructed the audience on ways to respond to a violent incident with confidence. Reinbold has shared this training with several local school districts, churches, and businesses as well.

“This training allows for responses individuals are comfortable with and adds a few more preparedness options to practice and keep in mind if ever needed,” said Reinbold.

Julie Anderson, Douglas County Emergency Management Director, shared details of the devastating tornados that hit Douglas County on May 12 and 30, 2022. She provided tips for damage assessments and recovery work from a county government perspective.

The event was capped with a “Putting it All Together” interactive exercise designed to collaborate, network, and share ideas to continue building community resilience to emergencies across the county.

“The Emergency Management Summit has always been an excellent event to connect and engage regional partners – new and old – to collaborate and prepare for whatever may lie ahead. And this year was no exception,” Waletzko said.

Visit for more information on emergency preparedness.