Emergency Management News

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.