Emergency Management News

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Please celebrate responsibly.  

If you are hosting a New Year's Eve party, following a few simple rules could prevent a tragedy:
  • Plan ahead by naming a "designated driver." Make this your responsibility as the host.
  • Contact a local cab company to provide rides for your guests.
  • Serve non-alcoholic beverages as an option to your guests.
  • Stop serving alcohol to your guests several hours before the party ends.
  • Provide your guests with a place to stay overnight in your home.
If you are attending New Year's Eve parties and celebrations:
  • If you drink, don't drive.
    • Plan ahead and always designate a sober driver before the party or celebration begins.
    • If you are impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit, or get a sober friend or family member to come pick you up.
    • Or, stay where you are until you are sober.
  • Take the keys from someone if you think he/she is too impaired to drive.
The tragedies and costs from drinking and driving impaired don't just end with the potential death, disfigurement, disability, and injury caused by impaired drivers. Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired isn't worth the risk. The consequences are serious and real. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be significant.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What are the Fire Conditions?

Please be aware of Fire Weather conditions.

Relative Humidity from Oklahoma MesoNet

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Resolve to be READY

WASHINGTON - As 2011 - one of the most active years for disasters in
recent history - comes to a close and Americans get ready to ring in a
new year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is encouraging all
Americans to Resolve to be Ready in the by making a new year's
resolution to be prepared for emergencies.

As a recent report by the National Climatic Data Center highlights,
2011 has seen more billion-dollar natural disasters than any year on
record. This year alone, the U.S. experienced its first hurricane
landfall since 2008, the most deadly series of tornadoes since the
1950s, significant earthquakes and severe flooding - hazards that
impacted every region of the country. All of these events have served
as important reminders that disasters can strike anytime, anywhere,
and being prepared is one of the most effective things we can do to
protect our homes, businesses and loved ones.

Today, FEMA kicked off its annual campaign, Resolve to be Ready in
2012, which urges Americans to make preparedness a priority during the
holiday season by making a new year's resolution to be ready for
disasters or by thinking about preparedness tools for last minute gift

"One of the most important lessons we can take away from this year is
that disasters can impact all of us, no matter what part of the
country we live in," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "While we
can't control where or when they might hit, we can take steps in
advance to prepare for them - efforts that can go a long way toward
protecting our families, homes and business. Resolving to be Ready in
2012 could be the most important pledge you make this year."
By making a resolution to take a few simple steps in advance,
Americans can minimize the impact of an emergency on their families,
homes or businesses. To take the pledge, visit www.ready.gov/resolve
or www.listo.gov, which includes free information, checklists, and
guidelines about how to put together a kit, make a plan, and stay

Resolve to be Ready in 2012 is a nationwide effort to increase
awareness and encourage individuals, families, businesses, and
communities to take action and prepare for emergencies in the New
Year. This effort is led by FEMA's Ready Campaign in partnership with
Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council. For more information, visit
Ready.gov and CitizenCorps.gov or follow the campaign on Twitter using
the hashtags #ready2012 and #resolve.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to
ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and
improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to,
recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fire Safety Tips

From the United States Fire Administration, these timely tips can help with your Holiday safety.

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires

  • Christmas Tree Fire Hazards - Movie segments demonstrating how fast a live Christmas tree can become fully engulfed in flames. Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.
  • Selecting a Tree for the Holiday
    Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
  • Caring for Your Tree
    Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
  • Disposing of Your Tree
    Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or woodburning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

Holiday Lights

  • Maintain Your Holiday Lights
    Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
  • Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
    Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch.
  • Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended

Holiday Decorations

  • Use Only Nonflammable Decorations
    All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
  • Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace
    It can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers and may result in a chimney fire.
  • Artificial Christmas Trees
    If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

Candle Care

  • Avoid Using Lit Candles
    If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
  • Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree
    Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame - candles, lighters or matches.
Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Red Cross Holiday Safety Tips

Thanks to our friends at the American Red Cross, here's some holiday safety tips for you.

  1. Prepare your vehicle for traveling to grandmother’s house. Make an emergency kit and include items such as blankets or sleeping bags, jumper cables, fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type), compass and road maps, shovel, tire repair kit and pump, extra clothing, flares, tow rope.
  2. Drive your sleigh and reindeer safely. Avoid driving in a storm, but if you must, keep your gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing. Let someone know your destination, route and when you expect to arrive.
  3. Help prevent the spread of the flu. Wash hands with soap and water as often as possible, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.Use sanitizing wipes to disinfect hard surfaces such as airplane tray tables, luggage handles, cell phones, door handles and seat armrests.
  4. Prevent hypothermia by following Santa’s lead. Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing, which will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat.Wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears. Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
  5. Use a Red Cross-trained babysitter when attending holiday festivities. Red Cross-certified babysitters learn to administer basic first aid; properly hold and feed a child; take emergency action when needed; monitor safe play and actively engage your child; and some may be certified in Infant and Child CPR.
  6. Avoid danger while roasting chestnuts over an open fire. Stay in the kitchen while you are cooking and be alert. Keep anything flammable—such as potholders, towels or curtains—away from your stove top.Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared or carried.
  7. Be a lifesaver during the holidays and always. The Red Cross recommends at least one person in every household should be trained and certified in first aid and CPR/AED. Your local Red Cross chapter has conveniently scheduled courses and can have you trained and certified in a few hours. 
  8. Designate a driver or skip the holiday cheer. When you designate a driver who won’t be drinking, you help make sure a good party doesn’t turn into a tragedy. A good host ensures there are non-alcoholic beverages available for drivers. The designated driver should not drink any alcoholic beverages, not even one.
  9. When the weather outside is frightful, heat your home safely. Never use your stove or oven to heat your home. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
  10. Cut down on your heating bills without being a Grinch. Get your furnace cleaned by a professional; change the filters regularly. Make sure heat vents aren’t blocked by furniture. Close off any rooms you aren’t using and close heat vents or turn off radiators in those rooms. Use either insulating tape or caulking strips to surround your windows and door moldings. Put up storm windows or storm doors to keep the cold out.
  11. Don’t move a muscle, until they buckle. Each person in your vehicle should have their seatbelts securely fastened before driving off. Ensure children are buckled up and their car seats are installed appropriately based on their age and size. Children 12 and under should always sit in the back seat.
  12. Resolve to Be Red Cross Ready in the New Year. You can take one or more actions to prepare now, should you or your family face an emergency in 2010. Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.
Merry Christmas from your friends at Altus Emergency Management.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Taking Shelter from the Storm

The City of Altus does not provide community storm shelters.  In the past many citizens were injured due to traffic accidents, slick roads, wind, hail, and lightning while trying to get to a public shelter during severe weather.

In an effort to protect the citizens, the City of Altus recommends sheltering in place or with neighbors during an emergency. The best choice for sheltering would be a safe room or storm shelter of your own or with a neighbor.

The State of Oklahoma has a grant program to help citizens pay for installation of storm shelters or safe rooms. All residents in the State of Oklahoma are eligible to apply, but funds are limited.

Grants for installation of storm shelters or safe rooms are awarded prior to construction and shelters must be built to FEMA specifications.  Shelters already completed or under construction are not eligible. Registration for the grants may be done online at https://www.ok.gov/OEM/saferoom/app/index.php 

Information on FEMA specifications for storm shelter and safe rooms may be found at http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1536 Additional resources are on the National Safe Shelter Association web site http://nssa.cc/

Once your safe shelter is built, register with your local Fire Department. In the event there is a collapse or debris blown on top of your shelter so you can't escape, rescue personnel will know where to look.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What are the Fire Conditions?

Please be aware of Fire Weather conditions.

Relative Humidity from Oklahoma MesoNet

Saturday, November 12, 2011

There's a reason ...

This is why one registers their cellar location with your local fire department.

This home owner was briefly trapped in this cellar. Friends had to
cut the tree away from the door.

Do you own a cellar? Does your fire department know you have one?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What happens after a tornado?

A survey team from the National Weather Service and emergency management tour the area.

The National Weather Service is interested in data that can be used to help prepare warnings and better buildings. The Emergency Manager is interested in knowing if you are OK, if you have a place to stay, if you have insurance, and help you process what has happened to you.

Rick Smith, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, left, and Jeff Rector, Tillman County Emergency Manager, survey the scene around a damaged home near Tipton, Oklahoma.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Watching Disasters

Learn from the mistakes of others, because you won't live long enough
to make them all yourself is a popular saying in emergency
preparedness circles.

As Altus residents observed this weekend, earthquakes DO happen in Oklahoma.
The Earthquake zone in Oklahoma is generally along I-35 but the Meers
area has a dormant fault nearby. Dormant means it could shift any day

At http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/earthquake/preparedness_home.shtm,
the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers these tips:

Make your home safer to be in during earthquakes and more resistant to
earthquake damage by assessing its structure and contents. Depending
on when and how it was designed and built, the structure you live in
may have weaknesses that make it more vulnerable to earthquakes.

Common examples include structures not anchored to their foundations
or having weak crawl space walls, unbraced pier-and-post foundations,
or unreinforced masonry walls or foundations.

If you own your home, find and correct any such weaknesses, yourself
or with professional help. If you are a renter, ask what has been done
to strengthen the property against earthquakes, and consider this
information in deciding where to rent. If you are building or buying a
home, make sure that it complies with the seismic provisions of your
local building code.

What is in your home can be as or more dangerous and damage-prone than
the structure itself. Any unsecured objects that can move, break, or
fall as an earthquake shakes your home are potential safety hazards
and potential property losses. Walk through each room of your home and
make note of these items, paying particular attention to tall, heavy,
or expensive objects such as bookcases, home electronics, appliances
(including water heaters), and items hanging from walls or ceilings.

Secure these items with flexible fasteners, such as nylon straps, or
with closed hooks, or by relocating them away from beds and seating,
to lower shelves, or to cabinets with latched doors. Ensure that
plumbers have installed flexible connectors on all gas appliances.

Please ... Please ... Please do not call 911, UNLESS it is an emergency.
http://www.911.gov/whencall.html offers that an emergency is any
situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire
department or ambulance. Examples include:

A fire
A crime, especially if in progress
A car crash, especially if someone is injured
A medical emergency, such as someone who is unconscious, gasping for
air or not breathing, experiencing an allergic reaction, having chest
pain, having uncontrollable bleeding, or any other symptoms that
require immediate medical attention

It's also a good idea to know the number to your emergency services
should 911 be jammed or otherwise not working.

If you don't study disasters, when you travel to areas where those disasters are real, will you know what to do?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What are the Fire Conditions?

Please be aware of Fire Weather conditions.

Relative Humidity from Oklahoma MesoNet

Saturday, October 1, 2011

To WAR with STP

Last month was National Preparedness Month.

The question this month is are YOU more prepared this month than last?

It's been said, "Preparedness is a lifestyle".  It's a mindset.  The generations before us were more likely to be prepared AND they were more likely to help one another.  The Amish barn raising is an example.  When an Amish family has a disaster, ex. house fire, the COMMUNITY comes together to help the family.

Take aways for National Preparedness Month continue to be:

1.  Make a plan.  Get with your local emergency manager or American Red Cross to identify hazards one faces locally.  Any member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee would be able to help as well.

2.  Build a kit that supports the plan.  Don't forget communication.  Don't forget pets, including large animals.  Don't forget medicine.

3.  Practice the plan.  How will you know it will work?  Does Johnny know where to go after a house fire when you are not home?  What if you can't evacuate to Detroit, as your plan suggests?

4.  BE involved!  The subject "WAR with STP" has been a topic for many months.  When ALL Respond (WAR), it's with STP ... Same Ten People.  Do you know your Neighbors and are you in a Neighborhood Watch Program?  Are they ready for the next ice storm, tornado, flood, earthquake?  Are you aware that the American Red Cross and Salvation Army have local opportunities to serve?  Are you a member of your Local Emergency Planning Committee? Can you help change the STP?

Last month was National Preparedness Month.  However, preparedness is a daily action.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

National Preparedness Day

Preparedness is not something one does one month out of the year.

Preparedness is something you make a part of your daily life.

In order to be really prepared, one must make a conscious decision that "I will prepare" and follow that with definitive steps to become prepared.

One of the barriers to this, however, is knowing where to start.  It's a giant elephant to some that overwhelms their effort to begin.

Do One Thing is an effort to overcome that challenge.  With Do 1 Thing you can take small steps that make a big difference in an emergency.

The disaster supplies kit calendar on the City of Altus web site is another way to carve out manageable steps to disaster resilience.

National Preparedness Month may be winding down but your job is not over.

Please Prepare.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Community Emergency Response Team

One of the overlooked initiatives of the Citizen Corp program is the Community Emergency Response Team effort.

These groups, often neighbors that already know one another or churches that worship together or civic groups that have an interest in helping their fellow man, complete a basic disaster education program.  The program is not to replace professionals in rescue.  The program is really designed to protect the rescuer, i.e. to teach the student how to know when to not become a victim.

Schools, churches, and businesses have adopted CERT training as a way to insure their facilities have a way to help and recover.

If your group is interested in CERT training, the Oklahoma Department of Homeland Security will provide free instruction to those who submit the application.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What are the Fire Conditions?

Please be aware of Fire Weather conditions.  There is now a burn ban.

Relative Humidity from Oklahoma MesoNet

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Communication, in a disaster, is the first thing to fail.

Phone lines are overloaded.  Radio channels are jammed.  Cell phone towers run out of juice.

However, there's one group that seems to be what FEMA Adminisatrator Craig Fugate calls "the last line of defense".  That's the amateur radio operator.

Hams have had a long history of disaster help.

From the Muskogee Amateur Radio Club helping at the fifth deadliest tornado in Oklahoma history to the local Skywarn program providing annual severe weather training to the local club practicing the annual Field Day event with the American Radio Relay League, ham radio continues to be THE way an area resident can communicate with one another.

Won't you take time this year to find a local club?  Classes are offered periodically.

This National Preparedness Month tip asks "will you bet your life on the communications you have right now?"

Thursday, September 8, 2011


In this second week of National Preparedness Month, what is your focus?

Oklahomans are known to be a resilient bunch.  May 3, 1999 tornado, the Murrah Bombing, the Woodward tornado are just three extreme examples of disasters in this State.

Emergencies happen every day though.  Kitchen fires, auto wrecks, lawnmower mishaps are just three everyday events in America.

The Emergency Management saying "It's not a matter of IF; it's a matter of WHEN" comes every day with an encouragement to:

1.  Make a Plan
2.  Build a kit to support the Plan
3.  Practice the PLAN

Then one is in a position to help others.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How will you get your warning?

Folks in the area are blessed with so many ways to get weather information.  Since this is National Preparedness Month, lets review those channels.

KWHW is the Emergency Alert System primary station for the area.  That means they help get EAS alerts out to others, such as CableOne.  That alone is a lot of work.  KWHW staff work hard at that system working for their downstream partners and ultimately the residents and vistors to the area.  Like many radio stations, their broadcast is available on the Stream.

The local cable system also pushes out EAS alerts automatically.  In other words, when the National Weather Service issues a warning for Jackson County, the alert comes over the TV set, regardless of which channel one is watching.

The EAS is included in IPAWS ... Integrated Public Alert and Warning System ... which should allow anyone anywhere in the USA to get critical information they need to make the right decision at the right time.

What IPAWS Will Do

  • IPAWS will allow the President of the United States to speak to the American people under all emergency circumstances, including situations of war, terrorist attack, natural disaster, or other hazards.
  • IPAWS will build and maintain an effective, reliable, integrated, flexible, and comprehensive alert and warning system.
  • IPAWS will enable Federal, State, territorial, tribal, and local alert and warning emergency communication officials to access multiple broadcast and other communications pathways for the purpose of creating and activating alert and warning messages related to any hazard impacting public safety and well-being.
  • IPAWS will reach the American public before, during, and after a disaster through as many means as possible.
  • IPAWS will diversify and modernize the Emergency Alert System (EAS).
  • IPAWS will create an interoperability framework by establishing or adopting standards such as the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP).
  • IPAWS will enable alert and warning to those with disabilities and to those without an understanding of the English language.
  • IPAWS will partner with NOAA to enable seamless integration of message transmission through national networks.
Residents can monitor the National Weather Service information on the webTwitter, and Facebook.

Also, each of the media pages linked to this blog also have weather information.

Beyond that, the Altus Skywarn Association continues to work hard providing weather information to the local emergency management office and the National Weather Service.  Their new Echolink-connected repeater on 444.650 mHz is available to scanner listeners who can hear them talking to the National Weather Service, area storm spotters, and occasionally stations overseas.  The new system gives weather updates periodically through the day. The Association also works hard to train members about weather and technology.  The group has a Facebook page as well.

The City of Altus has a Community Alert System called Blackboard Connect.  Registered folks can get a phone call, a text message on their cell phone, and an email to their inbox, as well as an automatic Tweet.

Finally, the National Weather Service transmitter in Jackson County has been upgraded to a higher power device.  This radio broadcasts 24-hours per day, seven days per week providing listeners to weather information.  Specially designed receivers are available at local stores.  Sitting quietly on the night stand, the radios alert when the weather service issues a warning.

Emergency managers have been asking for people to have three ways to get warnings and other weather information.

Yes, the sirens will sound in accordance with the County Emergency Operations Plan.  Emergency managers are quick to say that the out-door warning devices are just that.  They are designed to cause one to go inside to find out what's happening on your AM radio, FM radio, all-hazards weather radio, television, email, cell phone, amateur radio, Twitter, or favorite internet web site.

That's at least eight ways area residents can get weather information.  Please pick three.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Learn Disaster Communications

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2011 - Recent weather events such as Hurricane Irene, the earthquake on the East Coast and other natural disasters highlight the need for Americans to prepare for emergencies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, the Ad Council and Google Crisis Response are collaborating to launch a new preparedness web resource, Get Tech Ready, on behalf of the Readycampaign.

Released just before the start of National Preparedness Month, this new resource educates individuals and families about how using modern-day technology can help them prepare, adapt and recover from disruptions brought on by emergencies or disasters.

A recent American Red Cross survey showed that the internet, including online news sites and social media platforms, is the third most popular way for Americans to gather emergency information and let their loved ones know they are safe.  

"As technology becomes more a part of our daily lives, people are turning to it during emergencies as well. We need to utilize these tools, to the best of our abilities, to engage and inform the public, because no matter how much federal, state and local officials do, we will only be successful if the public is brought in as part of the team," FEMA Administrator, W. Craig Fugate.

"During Hurricane Irene, we saw people using new technologies in many ways, whether it was thousands of people downloading our new shelter finder App or others using our Safe and Well site and social media to let their friends and family know they are OK, " said Gail McGovern, President and CEO of the American Red Cross. "People now have more varied resources available at their fingertips that they can use before, during and after emergencies."

Get Tech Ready provides Americans with tips on how to use technological resources before, during and after a crisis to communicate with loved ones and manage your financial affairs. Preparedness tips on the website include:
  • Learn how to send updates via text and internet from your mobile phone to your contacts and social channels in case voice communications are not available;  
  • Store your important documents such as personal and financial records in the cloud or on a secure and remote area or flash or jump drive that you can keep readily available so they can be accessed from anywhere; and
  • Create an Emergency Information Document using the Ready.gov Family Emergency Plan template in Google Docs or by downloading theReady Family Emergency Plan to record your emergency plans.  

"Get Tech Ready is a resource that will truly help people in the US and around the world understand how they can use widely available technology to prepare for potential crises," said Nigel Snoud, Product Manager, Google Crisis Response.  "We're thrilled to be working with FEMA, the American Red Cross, and the Ad Council on this public service project."

"We are delighted to collaborate with FEMA, Google and the American Red Cross to expand our Ready messages through this new web site to educate more Americans about the vital need to get prepared in advance of an potential emergency," said Peggy Conlon, president & CEO of the Ad Council. "The web site will provide access to critical resources to Americans addressing the importance of using technology as part of their individual and family preparedness plans."

Launched in 2003, National Preparedness Month is designed to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies throughout the year. The Ready campaign was also launched in 2003 by FEMA in partnership with the Ad Council. Since its launch, media outlets have donated more than $900 million in advertising time and space for the PSAs. The new PSAs will air in advertising time that will be entirely donated by the media.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit http://www.redcross.org/ or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
The Advertising Council
The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies. The Ad Council addresses issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.

FEMA does not endorse any non-Federal government organizations or products.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Current Fire Weather Information

Please be aware of Fire Weather conditions.  There is now a Governor's burn ban.

Fire Weather Information from the National Weather Service

Relative Humidity Map from Oklahoma MesoNet

Friday, July 29, 2011

Weather Radio Project

Residents of Altus and Jackson County will no longer be able to get 75% reimbursement for weather radios, according to area emergency
management officials.

"Grants have beginnings and endings," said Jerry Gibson, Jackson
County Emergency Management. "The time has run out on this grant."

Just over 125 area residents have made use of the program, according
to Lloyd Colston, City of Altus Emergency Manager.

The grant provided 75% of the cost of a new weather radio designed to
alarm when the National Weather Service office in Norman issued a
warning. The area transmitter is located south of Altus.

Persons desiring to buy their own weather radio are encouraged to do
so. The radio, properly programmed, sits quietly on the night stand
listening to the programming that is broadcast 24 hours per day.

The Altus Skywarn Association has been helpful in programming radios
for area residents.

For more information about weather radios, visit
http://www.weather.gov/nwr/ while persons desiring more information
about emergency management may visit http://altusem.us

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Safe Room Rebate Program

Applicants of the safe room rebate program are encouraged to be patient.

The program is still functioning as the City continues to work with the State and Federal partners to insure its completion.

NO construction can begin until letters are received from the City.

Thanks to all who have applied.  No NEW applicants are being accepted.  Please continue to monitor the blog for later updates.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

FCC seeks Input for 911 service

Washington, D.C. -- The Federal Communications Commission today took an
important step to revolutionize America's 9-1-1 services for consumers and
first responders by adopting a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking public
comment on how Next Generation 911 (NG911) can enable the public to obtain
emergency assistance by means of advanced communications technologies
beyond traditional voice-centric devices.

The FCC has undertaken this proceeding in response to a recommendation in
the National Broadband Plan seeking to harness the life-saving potential
of text messaging, email, video and photos from mobile and landline
broadband services. Despite the fact that there are more than 270 million
wireless consumers nationwide and that approximately 70 percent of all
9-1-1 calls are made from mobile hand-held devices, today's 9-1-1 systems
support voice-centric communications only and are not designed to transfer
and receive text messaging, videos or photos. In some emergency
situations -- especially in circumstances where a call could further
jeopardize someone's life and safety -- texting may be the only way to
reach out for help. In addition, many Americans, particularly those with
disabilities, rely on text messaging as their primary means of

The sharing of timely and relevant videos and photos would provide first
responders with on-the-ground information to help assess and address
emergencies in real-time. For example, these technologies could help
report crimes as they are happening thus giving law enforcement officials
an increased advantage when responding.

The NOI asked a comprehensive set of questions that address a number of
issues related to the deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1 services,
including, but not limited to:

• The technical feasibility and limitations of text messaging video
streaming and photos;
• Consumer privacy issues, particularly related to the sharing of personal
electronic medical data;
• Development of technical and policy standards;
• Consumer education and awareness; and
• Inter-governmental coordination and coordination within the public
safety community.

Action by the Commission, December 21, 2010, by NOI (FCC 10-200).
Chairman Genachowski, and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and
Baker. Separate statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, and
Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker. PS Docket No. 10-255.
For additional information about the NOI, please contact Patrick Donovan,
Policy and Licensing Division, FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security
Bureau, at 202-418-2413 or via email: Patrick.Donovan@fcc.gov.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Weather Radio Grant

Altus --- The City of Altus Emergency Management office announced a Weather Radio rebate program, funded by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State of Oklahoma Emergency Management office.

The program will reimburse Jackson County residents 75% of the cost of a weather radio, according to Lloyd Colston, Altus Emergency Management director. "In other words, a $30 radio will cost $7.50, after the rebate is paid."

"It could save your life and your family's life," said Jerry Gibson, director of
Jackson County Emergency Management, speaking to the benefit of the weather
radio. "It's like a smoke detector for weather."

Funds are limited. Citizens are encouraged to act quickly. Local vendors such
as Radio Shack and United Grocery Stores have radios in stock. The rebate
program only pays for radios with Specific Area Messaging Encoder technology
such as described at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrsame.htm, explained Gibson.

Inside the home, it is difficult, if not impossible to hear the sirens.
Emergency managers encourage multiple means of getting warnings. Weather
radios, cell phone, pagers, email, and sirens are just some of the tools in the

In order to participate in the rebate program, Jackson County and City of Altus
residents must first buy the radio, obtain the reimbursement form, complete the
form, and submit it, with the receipt, for payment by the City.

The form is available at the American Red Cross office, the Salvation Army
church building, Jerry Gibson's office at the Jackson County Courthouse, at City
of Altus City Hall, or online at http://ow.ly/pYgX

Once the form is received, it will be submitted to State emergency management
officials for payment. This is a pass-through grant, explained Colston. The
money will come back to the City of Altus, which will then approve the claim for
payment to the resident.

Those who need help with programming their new radio can get that help from the Altus Skywarn Association, the local weather watch group. Those who need help can leave their radio with the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or the local emergency management officials who will have the radio returned after programming is completed.

For more information, visit http://altusem.us or call 580.482.8333 for Colston
or 580.482.0229 for Gibson.