Emergency Management News

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Prepare for Flash Flooding

Prepare Now. Flooding Can Happen Anywhere.
Flash floods happen quickly; it is important to recognize whether or not you live in an area prone to flash flooding and how you can prepare in advance.

According to the National Weather Service, the causes of flash flooding include heavy rain, ice or debris jams, and levee or dam failure. These floods exhibit a rapid rise of water over low-lying areas. In some cases, flooding may even occur away from where heavy rain initially fell.

Follow these tips from Ready.gov to make sure you, your family, and your home are prepared for a flash flood:
  • Know your flood risk.
  • Make a flood emergency plan.
  • Consider buying flood insurance.
  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to get to higher ground, the highest level of a building, or to evacuate.
  • Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio for weather updates, emergency instructions, or evacuation orders.

For more flood safety information, download Prepareathon’s How to Prepare for a Flood guide.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Is the “Invisible Killer” in Your Home? #OKfire

Install and test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is the “invisible killer” because it is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration(USFA), more than 150 people in the United States die every year from accidental nonfire-related CO poisoning from household products, like generators. Other products include faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented, fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters, and fireplaces.

Breathe easy this winter and avoid CO poisoning with these USFA tips:
  • Install and maintain CO alarms in a central location outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of your home to provide an early warning of CO.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, and vents.
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.

Learn the symptoms of CO poisoning and other CO safety information on the USFA Carbon Monoxide Safety page.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Stay Safe: Wildfires Can Happen Anywhere, Anytime #OKfire

Wildfire Graphic
With several active wildfires affecting the Western United States, it is important to know how to stay safe with information and resources from Prepareathon™.

Wildfires can happen anywhere in the country and at any time of year. If you see a wildfire approaching, call 911 to report the fire. Do not assume that someone else reported it and follow these tips from Prepareathon’s How to Prepare for a Wildfire Guide:

If ordered to evacuate:
  • Leave immediately.
  • Help firefighters, if there is time before you leave. Some of the things to help include closing up the house and leaving lights on for visibility, as well as moving flammable materials to the center of the home, away from windows. You can also leave hoses connected to a water source, so they are available for the fire department.
  • Text SHELTER and your ZIP code (e.g., SHELTER 20472) to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area. Follow local media for more information on shelters.

If trapped in your home:
  • Call 9-1-1 and provide your location, if possible. Please be aware that during a major event such as a wildfire, emergency services may be overwhelmed, and a response may be delayed or impossible.
  • Turn on the lights to increase the visibility of your home in heavy smoke.
  • Keep doors, windows, vents, and fire screens closed.
  • Keep your doors unlocked.
  • Move flammable materials (e.g., curtains, furniture) away from windows and sliding glass doors.
  • Fill sinks and tubs with water to assist in dousing small smoldering fires, which may pop up.
  • Stay inside, away from outside walls and windows.

For more information on wildfire safety, review Prepareathon’s How to Prepare for a Wildfire guide, or watch the When the Fire Starts video. You can also read about California’s use of FEMA’s Wireless Emergency Alerts during the recent wildfires.  

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Prepare to Apply for a Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Award #OKfire

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, May 5, 2018
Protect your community from wildfire. Apply for a $500 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day grant through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, Saturday, May 5, 2018,  encourages communities to work together to address their wildfire risk.

From January 8 through March 2, 2018NFPA welcomes applications for one of 150 funding awards. Develop a plan now to work with with partners and identify wildfire risks in your community. NFPA’s Firewise USA site has resources you can use to understand your risk. To view past projects, visit the 2017 Success Stories.

For more information on wildfire preparedness, visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s Wildfire page

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Alerting has come a LONG way #IPAWS #Skywarn

Those that remember CONELRAD, will remember the Civil Defense diamonds on the AM radio dial on the dashboard of the car delivered standard from Detroit.  From there, came the transistor radio and the cry from the Civil Defense group to have a battery-powered radio in your disaster supply kits.

From the 50s through today, Alerting has come very far since ConelRad.  Has the public kept up?

Some will say yes.  Friends on Facebook and Followers on Twitter can get the latest news from the National Weather Service directly.

Almost every Radio and TV station has applications for free download that provides the latest breaking news.  Newspapers have joined in with their own apps and banners on their news sites.

At night and asleep, folks are startled awake by the National Weather Service All-Hazards radio system and the Federal Emergency Management Wireless Emergency Alerts.

Even the City of Altus as Alert Altus and, through it, the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System

Many amateur radio repeaters have the ability to interrupt with automatic weather reports from the NWS All-Hazards system mentioned above.  Those dedicated volunteers also participate in the area Skywarn programs.

All these efforts and more are the reason the City of Altus is listed in the NWS StormReady program.

Those that say No point to the plethora of Fake Weather social media sites that spring up to show sharks floating in neighborhood streets, fake radar sites showing the eye of hurricane over Indianapolis, and self-proclaimed meteorologists raising unnecessary alarm.

... and we still can't warm Suzy running the Hoover in her basement while listening to her IPOD.

As one County Commissioner once said "There's always room for improvement".

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Get Tech Ready

FEMA App Features
How would you find out if there was an alert in your area? While watching television or listening to the radio may be effective, mobile technology and the Internet have become one of the quickest and most popular ways for Americans to receive emergency information instantly. 

Smartphone alerts and warning apps can make it easier than ever for families, businesses, and individuals to effectively prepare for and recover from disasters. Visit the Ready Campaign’s Get Tech Ready page for tips, such as:
  • Sign up to receive preparedness tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) text message program: text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA).
  • Download the FEMA App to access disaster preparedness tips, obtain weather alerts for up to five locations, and look for open Disaster Recovery Centers along with open shelters. 
  • Store your important documents such as personal and financial records on a secure flash or jump drive that you can keep readily available.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones by having preparedness at your fingertips. Learn more at www.ready.gov/get-tech-ready.  

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Is Your Family Financially Prepared for a Natural Disaster?

Emergency Financial First Aid Kit
Developing plans and participating in drills are essential emergency preparedness activities. Taking steps to be financially prepared for an emergency is a critical activity in any planning effort.

The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a joint publication from Operation Hope, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, contains information for you to prepare now for a financial emergency. The guide includes information on obtaining insurance, planning tips and resources to help you manage your finances, and accessing important records to help you recover more quickly should you be affected by a disaster.

Financial Preparedness Resources

Financial preparedness is one of the many ways to participate in Prepareathon. Register your preparedness actions today atwww.ready.gov/prepare.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Hazards of Shoveling Snow #OKice

Person Shoveling Snow
Snow shoveling can be a chore and it can also be hazardous. 

According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, more than 10,000 people visit emergency rooms each year due to overexertion and injury while nearly 100 people die every year from heart attacks brought on by shoveling snow. Stay healthy and safe by taking these precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold.
  • Dress warmly and work slowly. Your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so don’t overdo it. Take breaks every few minutes and stretch by standing up straight.
  • Push the snow. Don’t lift. If you must lift, use your legs not your back.
  • Stay dry. Wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm. 
  • Many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways, and porches. Keep your steps and walkways as clear of ice as possible by using rock salt or another chemical de-icing compound. Sand may also be used on walkways to reduce the risk of slipping.
  • When shoveling, remember to keep snow and ice three feet from fire hydrants so firefighters can quickly access them in case of fire.
Find more winter safety information in the America’s PrepareAthon! How to Prepare for a Winter Storm guide.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Six Ways to Protect Pets in Winter

Wipe Your Dog's Paws Graphic

If it’s too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your pet. Remember to bring animals inside. 

Make sure your four-footed family members stay safe and warm by following these simple guidelines from The Humane Society:
  • Remember to bring your pets inside. Do not leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. 
  • Exposed skin on noses, ears, and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Even during short walks, short-haired dogs can become cold quickly and may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater. 
  • Rock salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet and may be toxic if ingested. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.  Use pet-safe products whenever possible. 
  • If there are feral or stray cats in your area, they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. Learn more
  • Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. Bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine. 
  • If you encounter a pet left in the cold, politely let the owner know you're concerned. If someone you raise these concerns with continues to neglect their animals, follow these steps to report wintertime neglect.
For more information, visit the Humane Society or find Cold Weather Guidelines for Large Animals and Livestock on www.ready.gov.