Contact Information

Emergency Management Agency
22491 Mill Street
Defiance, OH 43512

Julie A. Rittenhouse
Public Safety Coordinator
EMA Director
Loss Control / Risk Manager
LEPC Co-Chair

Patty Ehlinger
Administrative Assistant
EMA Deputy Director
LEPC Secretary, Treasurer,
Information Coordinator,
Workers Comp Coordinator

Ronald Rethmel
Intermittent Maintenance

P: (419) 782-1130

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do under a Severe Weather Watch?
A WATCH indicates that a particular weather hazard is possible, i.e., that conditions are more favorable than usual for its occurrence. A watch is a recommendation for planning, preparation, and increased awareness. Be alert for changing weather, listen to the local media for further information, and think about what to do if the danger materializes. Plan ahead for where you and your family would seek shelter if a storm develops.

What should I do under a Severe Weather Warning?
SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY. A WARNING indicates that a particular weather hazard is imminent or is already happening. Please seek shelter immediately. Tune to your local media channel to monitor the situation from the safety of your shelter. As always, citizens are encouraged to review their emergency kits for fresh batteries, flash lights, water and other necessary items such as prescription medication. A list of suggested items to have in a family emergency kit is available from the Red Cross or your local EMA office.

I found some old cans of chemicals in my garage. What can I do with them?
First of all, try to determine, through markings on the containers or other clues, what types of chemicals are in the cans (i.e. - pesticides, old oil or gas, cleaning solutions, etc.) The best way to dispose of these old chemicals is to contact Defiance County Environmental Services at 419-782-5442. They can either assist you or direct you to a proper drop-off facility.

I noticed a strange smell outside my house, and it's coming inside now. Can you check it out?
Yes! However, you should always report any unusual odors immediately to your local / jurisdictional fire department.

I noticed a shiny substance of an unusual color on the creek down the road. Can you check it out?
Yes! Just as with an usual odor, you should report it immediately to your local jurisdictional fire department, or we would be happy to coordinate the effort. The Defiance County EMA and fire department will respond to investigate the unusual occurrence.

Is the county doing anything to plan or prepare for SARS?
Defiance County General Health District monitors the SARS situation on an on-going basis and receives up-to-date health alerts and information regarding SARS. As with any infectious/communicable disease, the health department provides on-going surveillance and monitoring of potential outbreaks within the county.

Should products recently purchased from China, Hong Kong or Taiwan be disinfected?
In regards to the products recently purchased from China, Hong Kong or Taiwan, there are no clear guidelines. The primary way that SARS appears to spread is by close person-to-person contact. Potential ways in which SARS can be spread include touching the skin of other people or objects that are contaminated with infectious droplets and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. It is also possible that SARS can be spread more broadly through the air or by other ways that are currently not known. There are some common-sense measures that you can take to prevent the spread of SARS that also apply to many infectious diseases. The most important is frequent hand washing with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rubs. In addition, you should avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands and encourage people around you to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Additionally, newly purchased utensils should be washed in hot soapy water (or put through the dishwasher) and rinsed thoroughly before using.

If the nation goes to Code Red, should we send our employees home, close the next day, etc?
NO, the county’s Local Emergency Planning Committee will meet immediately upon being raised to Severe or Red level status. The LEPC will determine necessary actions, if any, based upon “credible” threats / risks posed to the county, specific jurisdiction, neighboring county, or state, and will advise the public if specific actions need to be taken locally.

Should the business / individual prepare in any way for terrorism?
Absolutely, Yes. For years, prior to any terrorism acts domestically, it has been recommended to practice preparedness. Disaster Supply kits should consist of:

  • 3 day supply of water, 1 gallon per person per day
  • Non-perishable food, peanut butter, crackers, granola bars
  • Sleeping bag, blankets, pillows
  • Flashlight
  • Battery operated radio
  • Extra fresh batteries
  • Prescription glasses, medicines, etc
  • Special needs items

These are just a few of the items. For more information please contact the Defiance County Public Safety at 419-782-1130, Sheriff’s Office at 419-784-1155, or stop by your local Fire Department.

What is being done locally to prepare?
You can be assured that Defiance County is prepared! We are operating under the County Emergency Operations Plan. We conduct exercises per the requirements of the State and FEMA.DEFIANCE COUNTY EMERGENCY RESPONSE PERSONNEL ARE READY! Some of the things you can do to assist are:

  • Make sure your street address can be easily seen from the roadway
  • Practice fire drills with your family
  • Make sure every family member knows where to go if you are separated
  • Etc. These “common sense” activities will be of great value to everyone in any emergency situation.

Can I have some Potassium Iodide on hand in case there is a Nuclear Attack?
In regards to the distribution of Potassium Iodide, our local policy is to follow the policy of the Ohio Department of Health which specifies the distribution of Potassium Iodide to the general public that lives within the 10-mile Emergency Plan Zone. As Defiance County is not within the 10-mile radius of a nuclear power plant we will not be distributing Potassium Iodide. In the event of a nuclear accident in our area we would expect a shipment of Potassium Iodide for distribution to the general population.

LEPC phone # 419-782-1130

Defiance County Sheriff's Office 419-784-1155 or visit

Defiance County Health Department 419-784-3818.

Defiance County prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation or political beliefs. Defiance County is also an equal opportunity employer.

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