Emergency Management News

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?