Emergency Management News

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Winter Safety for Senior Citizens @MatureAmericans @AARP #OKwx

Older Adult Shoveling
Did you ever hear a parent tell a child to put on a coat before they catch a cold?  That’s because just being really cold can make you very sick, and it’s not limited to kids. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) says older adults can lose body heat fast—faster than when they were young. A big chill can turn into a dangerous problem before an older person even knows what’s happening. NIA has a brochure, Stay Safe in Cold Weather! with tips on how to stay warm when it’s cold. Here are a few of the tips they recommend:
  • Set your heat at 68 degrees or higher.
  • Dress warmly on cold days even if you are staying in the house.
  • Wear loose layers when you go outside on chilly days. Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.
  • Don’t stay out in the cold and wind for a long time.
  • Talk to your doctor about health problems that may make it harder for you to keep warm.
  • Find safe ways to stay active even when it’s cold outside.
  • Ask a neighbor or friend to check on you if you live alone.
  • If you think someone has hypothermia, call 911 right away. Cover him or her with a blanket. Don’t rub his or her legs or arms.

For more tips including keeping warm inside and how to talk with your doctor about staying safe in cold weather, check out the Stay Safe in Cold Weather Booklet from NIA. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Seven Years ago today #OKready

Emergency Management and Skywarn volunteer, Mart, W5KRG reported "1.2-inch ice 2.25 miles east on CR 156 off HWY 283" seven  years ago today in #AltusOK.

On Twitter, this tweet was one of a number on the first day:

The next day, @AltusReady tweeted:

RT : and Brewers in now open on generator power  to show what "Open for Business" looks like.

The National Weather Service Office in Norman remembers:

Amateur radio operators in the area were impacted, along with the public safety partners, with broken antennas, repeaters with no power, failing backup power systems, etc.

Media preview
On January 30, seven years ago, the +Federal Emergency Management Agency had received a signature from the +POTUS ㅤ and FEMA Region Six was continuing support for the City and County.

In the mean time, the +American Red Cross shelter remained open for warming, feeding, and sleeping as needed.  Thanks to the +The Salvation Army USA for cooking the food for folks.

On January 31, progress was shown with this tweet.

Also, this week, seven years ago, a faith-based group from New Mexico brought a generator to the area.  The Warren Community benefited from that device.  Churches such as +First Baptist Church and +First Methodist Church joined other faith groups in sheltering and feedig their flocks while  +Friendship Inn joined the  feeding effort.  The generator at the Emergency Operations Center failed.  FEMA provided the device and the +National Guard provided the transportation for it.

The City has learned a lot since then.  The utilities have been repaired and improved.  Communications systems were repaired and continue to be improved. 

What are you doing to be a part of the whole community that recovers from the next one?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Do you have Alert Altus from http://altusok.gov?

Get Real-Time Alerts This Winter

FEMA App Graphic
One in three people don’t know how to get real-time alerts and warnings ahead of a winter storm, according to the FEMA 2015 National Household Survey

Review these tips and make sure you’re alerted to critical information as soon as possible so you can take action to be safe.
  • Confirm your mobile device can receive Wireless Emergency Alerts.
  • Sign up for text and/or email alerts from your local jurisdiction.
  • Consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio.
  • If you don’t have a landline, check to see if your jurisdiction has options for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and mobile phones to be connected to Enhanced Telephone Notification (ETN) systems such as Reverse 911©.
  • Sign up for listservs and alerts for the workplace, schools, houses of worship, or other community organizations you’ll want to hear from in an emergency.
  • Download relevant hazard alerts and warnings apps like the FEMA App.
  • Create a list of all the alert systems available to you, and make sure everyone in the household receives the alerts as part of your household communication system.

Find more information on how to receive timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events with Know Your Alerts and Warnings from America’s PrepareAthon! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Your pets need care, #AgChat

Cold Weather Pet Care

Dog Winter Coat
If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.

If left outdoors, pets can be susceptible to frostbite, hypothermia, become disoriented, or lost. Don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, either. Cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, follow this advice from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA):
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat, sweater with a high collar, or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
  • Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt, and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage.
  • Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy pet bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Thanks to @CNPAlerts for this @Click811 information

Identify pipeline locations
Call 811 before you dig to locate utility lines
Recognize and respond to gas leaks
How we are making our system safer

CenterPoint Energy is committed to the safe and reliable operation of our natural gas transmission pipelines and distribution system in your community. You probably live or work near a CenterPoint Energy pipeline, and being aware of pipeline locations, taking safety precautions before you dig, and recognizing the signs of gas leaks can help prevent safety hazards.

Since most pipelines are buried underground, pipeline markers are used to indicate their approximate location along the route. They cannot be relied upon to indicate the exact position of the pipeline. The markers, which can be found where a transmission pipeline intersects a street, highway or railway, display the following:

material transported in the line
the name of the pipeline operator
a telephone number where the operator can be reached in an emergency

pipeline markers, aerial markers, casing vent markers

Pipeline Marker - This marker is the most commonly seen. It contains operator information, type of product, and an emergency contact number.

Aerial Marker - These skyway facing markers are used by patrol planes that monitor pipeline rights-of-way.

Casing Vent Marker - This marker indicates that a pipeline (protected by a steel outer casing) passes beneath a nearby roadway, rail line or other crossing.

You can view and download maps of transmission pipelines in your county at npms.phmsa.dot.gov​.

Local distribution pipelines in neighborhoods are not typically identified with pipeline markers. A call to 811 will help identify the location of these pipelines. 811 is a free, national service to help protect home and​ business owners from unintentionally damaging underground utility lines while digging. Here’s what you need to know:

You or your contractor must call 811 at least 48 hours (two working days) before any digging project, no matter how small – it’s the law
Utility companies will mark the location of their underground utilities
Respect the markers and dig with care
Identification of private lines such as private electric drops, invisible pet fences, sprinkler systems, and gas grill lines are the responsibility of the property owner or contractor performing the excavation
Keep your ticket number for reference
811 Call before you dig.

What to do if you are digging and disturb a pipeline
Even if you cause what seems to be only minor damage to a pipeline, notify the pipeline company immediately. A gouge, scrape, dent or crease to the pipe or coating may cause a future break or leak. It is imperative that the pipeline company be notified so that it can inspect and make any necessary repairs to potential damage to the line. Many states have laws requiring damages to be reported to the facility owner and/or the One-Call Center by dialing 811. Do not attempt to make the repairs to the line yourself. If a line is ruptured or leaking, call 911 and the pipeline operator, if known.

Pipeline Access and Security
If you have a pipeline easement on your property, protect the pipeline by knowing the details of your easement agreement and avoiding activities that could endanger underground lines. Remember the following:

Pipeline rights-of-way must be kept free from structures and other obstructions to provide access to the pipeline for maintenance and in an emergency.
If a pipeline crosses your property, please do not plant trees or high shrubs on the right-of-way.
Do not dig, build, store or place anything on or near rights-of-way without first having the pipeline marked and the rights-of-way staked.
If you witness suspicious activity on a pipeline right-of-way, please report it to the authorities, or call your local CenterPoint Energy emergency number

Natural gas leaks can be hazardous. While natural gas is non-toxic, in high concentrations, it may cause dizziness or asphyxiation without warning. Natural gas vapors are lighter than air and will generally rise and dissipate; however, they may gather in a confined space and travel to a source of ignition. Under certain conditions, natural gas leaking into the atmosphere can result in flammable mixtures that can ignite, so keep ignition sources away from the apparent source of the leak.

look icon
Look for signs of a possible leak
   •  Persistent bubbling in standing water
   •  Discolored or dead vegetation around the pipeline area
   •  Dense white cloud or fog
   •  Slight mist of ice
   •  Unexplained frozen ground near the pipeline

listen icon
Listen for any unusual noise 
   •  Whistling, hissing or roaring sound

smell icon
Smell for an odor like rotten eggs
Distinctive, strong odor, often compared to rotten eggs or sulfur, of the odorant mercaptan, which is often added to natural gas

Some people may not be able to smell the odor, or in rare circumstances, the odor can fade. For more detailed information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/Safety.

What to do if you suspect a natural gas leak

If you see, hear or smell the signs of a natural gas leak, your first concern should be for your personal safety and the safety of those around you. CenterPoint Energy investigates suspected natural gas leaks at no cost to you.

Leave the area immediately on foot! Do not use electric switches, telephones (including cell phones) or anything that could cause a spark. If outside, move in an upwind direction away from the leak or vapor cloud and maintain a safe distance.
Go directly to a safe location, and then call 911 and CenterPoint Energy. Do not use email or the internet to contact CenterPoint Energy about a leak, and never assume someone else has reported the leak.
Alert your neighbors and warn others to stay away from the leak. Abandon any equipment being used in or near the area of the leak.
Never try to repair a natural gas leak yourself. Leave all repairs to a trained technician.

CenterPoint Energy owns and operates over 120,000 miles of main and service lines that deliver gas to communities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. In Minnesota, we operate eight propane-air peak shaving facilities, one liquefied natural gas facility and one underground storage facility. Every year, we invest millions of dollars in our natural gas system to address safety, reliability, and growth. We have also invested in highly sensitive drive-by leak detection technology that enhances our leak detection capabilities.

CenterPoint Energy monitors the operations of our pipelines from our control centers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our pipelines are designed, installed, tested, operated and maintained in accordance with all applicable federal and state requirements. We maintain our safety record by routine inspections, corrosion protection, maintenance and testing programs, employee training and public education.

Due to their proximity to populated or environmentally sensitive areas, some portions of our pipeline systems have been designated as High Consequence Areas. These areas are subject to increased inspection and maintenance measures, known as an Integrity Management Program. More details on CenterPoint Energy's integrity management programs can be found at centerpointenergy.com/en-us/residential/safety/pipeline-safety.

CenterPoint Energy's actions during an emergency
In a natural gas emergency, CenterPoint Energy immediately dispatches personnel to the site to help handle the emergency and provide information to public safety officials to aid in their response. Our personnel will restrict the flow of gas as needed to protect people, property and the environment.

CenterPoint Energy’s natural gas transmission and distribution businesses have been serving customers for more than a century. We work and live in the communities we serve according to our values of safety, accountability, initiative, integrity and respect. We will continue to embrace new technologies that allow us to run our systems more efficiently, more effectively, more reliably and more safely.

For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/Safety. If you have questions, please contact CenterPoint Energy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Are you Weather Aware? #WRN

What Do Winter Weather Watches & Warnings Mean?

Snow Storm
Do you know the difference between a storm watch, warning, or advisory? It can mean all the difference in the time you have to prepare for the storm with at least three days of food, water and emergency supplies to stay at home and keep off the roads.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issues watches, warnings and advisories for all winter weather hazards. Here’s what they mean and what to do. Use the information below to make an informed decision on your risk and what actions to take.
  • Winter Storm Watch: Be Prepared. A watch means that severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow or sleet or an ice storm, may affect your area, but where, when and how much is still uncertain. NWS issues a watch to provide 12 to 36 hours notice of possible severe winter weather. A watch is intended to provide enough lead time for you to prepare.
  • Winter Storm Warning: Take Action! NWS issues a warning when its scientists forecast 4 or more inches of snow or sleet in the next 12 hours, 6 or more inches in 24 hours, or 1/4 inch or more of ice accumulation. Travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations. Delay your travel plans until conditions improve.
  • Winter Weather Advisory: Be Aware.  An advisory informs you that winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If you exercise caution, advisory situations shouldn’t become life-threatening.
  • Blizzard Warning lets you know that snow and strong winds will combine to produce a blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.

Remember to listen to your local officials’ recommendations and to a NOAA Weather Radio, which broadcasts alerts and warnings directly from the National Weather Service. Learn more by visiting the NWS Winter Storm Safety page.