Ottumwa Fire Chief Tony Miller says the public safety plans are in place for RAGBRAI, and the city is prepared for virtually any situation that may pop up during the big ride.
Miller says the city is expecting around 20,000 additional people to be in Ottumwa next Thursday. It’s that sudden influx of people that has caused the fire department to put plans in place on how to respond to emergencies as they pop up.
“We just had a final meeting around 7 oclock this morning. There are so many people involved in this thing. Larry Seals and I are in charge of public safety. Larry has done a fantastic job getting stuff done. He deals with the traffic. It’s coming,” Chief Miller told the KBIZ Dialogue Program on Tuesday.
Additional firefighters will be on hand to take care of the expected increase in medical calls. Plans are also in place for how to respond to water rescues in the Des Moines River and the Lagoons in the Greater Ottumwa Park. The department has also prepared plans for hazardous material and severe weather incidents as well.
While the big day is still too far out for accurate weather forecasting, the Farmers Almanac says to expect a chance of Thunderstorms.
Miller says that in the event of severe weather, cyclist and others attending RAGBRAI festivities will be evacuated to one of five emergency shelters placed around the City of Ottumwa. Those shelters are located at Evans Middle School, Liberty Elementary School, Quincy Place Mall, The Ottumwa Fire Department Central Station and Bridge View Center. Buses will be available to quickly evacuate riders to a shelter if the need arises.