Once known as Civil Defense, emergency response planning became vital to the City of Red Wing in the early 1970s when Northern States Power Company (Xcel Energy) constructed a nuclear power generating facility on Prairie Island within the city limits. National agencies overseeing nuclear energy issues fashioned requirements for contingency planning, reporting, and response to incidents at nuclear power facilities.
These requirements drove the need to develop an agency within city government to create and modify plans, communicate with County, State, and Federal agencies involved in responses to events, coordinate responses to emergencies, and develop and participate in incident exercises and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evaluated scenario responses.
Because of the planning and exercises for nuclear emergencies, the City of Red Wing has become more prepared to deal with other risks such as:
Mass casualty incidents
Other events requiring an immediate and coordinated response
The Office of Emergency Management also provides assistance to local businesses, schools, churches, and transportation hubs in creating emergency plans and providing training to their staff.