Emergency Management News

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Are you Open for Business?

Disaster Preparedness Exercises For Your Business

Every business should have a disaster preparedness program and conduct exercises to determine how quickly operations will be restored following a disaster. Conducting program exercises help improve the overall strength of a disaster plan and the ability of employees to perform their roles and responsibilities.
The Ready campaign outlines several types of exercises that can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your disaster preparedness program, including:
  • Walkthroughs, workshops, or orientation seminars – Basic training for team members are designed to familiarize employees with emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications plans, and their roles and responsibilities as defined in the plans;
  • Tabletop exercises – Discussion-based sessions where employees review their roles during an emergency and their responses to a particular emergency situation;
  • Full-scale exercises – Take place on location using the specific equipment and personnel that would be called upon during a real disaster event. These exercises are conducted by public agencies and often include participation from local businesses; and
  • Functional exercises – Allow personnel to validate plans and readiness by performing their duties in a simulated operational environment. Activities for a functional exercise are scenario-driven, such as the failure of a critical business function or for a specific hazard.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Join the Youth Preparedness Faith-based Webinar #AltusOK #teamJesus

Learn how to connect faith-based and community organizations to tools and resources for youth preparedness activities during this special webinar hosted by the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division, the Department of Education Center for School Preparedness, and Save the Children.
Title: Getting Youth Involved In Emergency Preparedness
Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Time: 2:00 – 3:00 pm (EDT)
How to Join the Webinar:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Plan now for the Sales Tax Holiday

State sales tax holidays are the perfect opportunity to ensure your disaster supply kit is up-to-date or purchase other items which may help you during a disaster. With hurricane season approaching, there is no better time to stock up on preparedness supplies.
Taking advantage of state sales tax holidays is just one more incentive to stock up on bottled water, extra batteries, and items for your disaster supply kit. Many states also offer sales-tax-free school supplies – backpacks can make helpful “go bags” during an emergency or disaster. Upcoming sales tax holidays for other states include:
  • Texas – May 23-25 and August 7-9
  • Virginia – May 25-31 and August 7-9
  • Louisiana – May 30 – 31
  • Georgia – July 31-August 1 and October 2-4
  • Alabama – August 7-9
Don’t miss out! Use this opportunity to save a few extra dollars and make sure you and your home are prepared! View the full list of 2015 state sales tax holidays today! Don’t see your state on the list? Check with your local Citizen Corps Council to see if your state, county, city, or town is sponsoring an upcoming sales tax holiday. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

FEMA Joins Home Depot Hurricane Preparedness Workshops

On May 30, 2015, Home Depot conducted hurricane preparedness workshops to help homeowners prepare for hurricane season. The free workshops were held at more than 700 Home Depot locations around the country.
Several Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional offices participated in the workshops, including FEMA Regions II, III and IV, who supported 23 events.  Home Depot provided tables with displays promoting hurricane preparedness information and materials from FEMA, the Ready campaign, and America’s PrepareAthon! Many of the displays showcased emergency equipment, such as flashlights, lanterns, batteries, first-aid kits, water, generators, dust masks, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that could be purchased at the store.  
Home Depot offered a virtual workshop for customers who could not attend so they could learn what to do before and after a hurricane.

Friday, June 12, 2015

FEMA announces Youth Council Members

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce the members of the 2015-2016 National Youth Preparedness Council (Council). The six new Council members are:
  • FEMA Region III: Angelo DeGraff (Maryland);
  • FEMA Region VI: Ty Zaunbrecher (Louisiana);
  • FEMA Region IX: Kiahna Lee Espia (Guam);
  • FEMA Region IX: Divakar Saini (California);
  • FEMA Region X: Hailey Starr (Washington); and
  • FEMA Region X: Megan Stutzman (Oregon).
The returning Council members are:
  • Council Chairperson: Obie Jones (FEMA Region VI, Texas);
  • Vice Chairperson: Weston Lee (FEMA Region VIII, Utah);
  • FEMA Region I: Bridget Smith (Connecticut);
  • FEMA Region II: James Collins (New Jersey);
  • FEMA Region III: Sahara Duncan (Pennsylvania);
  • FEMA Region IV: Matthew Mayfield (Alabama);
  • FEMA Region IV: Jonathan Salazar (Florida);
  • FEMA Region V: Isaiah Garcia (Michigan); and
  • FEMA Region VII: Austin Witt (Iowa).
Created in 2012, the Council brings together youth leaders from across the country that are interested in advocating on behalf of preparedness and making a difference in their communities.
To learn more about the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council, please visit:www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness-council.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Protect Your Identity During Disasters

The disaster recovery process is often a gradual one that takes a lot of time and effort.  While safety is a primary concern, you should also be mindful of another aspect of disasters – identity theft scams. Scammers use the confusion of disasters to take advantage of those in need.  
Though it can be hard to monitor everything that is taking place in the midst of an emergency, Equifax offers a few helpful rules to protect your identity, including:
  • Stop your mail from being delivered! Mail can contain important and personal information. Leaving it in your mailbox for an extended amount of time leaves it vulnerable to thieves; 
  • Check your credit report as soon as you can after a disaster to inspect for suspicious activity;
  • Protect your virtual assets. Only use secure, password protected Internet connections to check bank accounts, email, or other potentially sensitive websites; and
  • Make a plan to protect your documents! 
You can use the Be Smart. Protect Your Critical Documents and Valuablesguide from America’s PrepareAthon! to get started.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Elmer tornado on Radar #Skywarn

May 16 was an exciting day for storm chasers in Southwest Oklahoma!

The radar screen shots from the National Weather Center's Dr. Daphne LaDue show what National Weather Service forecasters see in Norman.

The top image shows the velocity of the red winds rushing away from the radar while the greens and blues show wind rushing toward the radar.  The bottom image is the classic selectivity showing the class hook echo.

There are radar limitations.  As close as the radar is to that storm, radar does not reach the ground.  At Altus, the height is over 1000 feet.  Thus, the Olustee tornado, while radar indicated, did not have a tornado at the ground, according to Skywarn reports from Olustee and Duke spotters.

Radar is a good tool for weather, but it's not the only tool for weather.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Potential Flooding

As with any disaster, preparation can save lives and reduce losses. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for floods by:
  • Creating and practicing a Disaster Plan: Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where you would meet and who you would contact in case of flooding. Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit. Be prepared to evacuate your family and petsat a moment’s notice. Listen to area radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress.
  • Downloading the FREE Red Cross Flood App: The free mobile app, available for Android and iPhone platforms, will walk you through what to do before, during and after floods. You can set it to provide alerts when there is a NOAA Flood Watch or Warning in your area.
  • Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Have supplies in case you have to shelter-in-place or evacuate. Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents and other emergency items for the whole family.
  • Heeding Flood Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information. A flood WATCH means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area. A food WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  •  Relocating During Flood Warnings: Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, stop, turn around and go another way. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
  For more information on flood preparedness, visit www.redcross.org
We urge you to share these Red Cross flood preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.