Archive for February, 2012

James Spann and warnings

February 23, 2012

TV Meteorologist James Spann says NEVER rely on outdoor sirens for warning … and he’s right.

The outdoor sirens in Altus are used for specific events according to the Emergency Operations Plan drafted by your Local Emergency Planning Committee and adopted by your local elected officials.

They are outdoor warning devices.  They are not designed to warn you when you are inside with the windows shut with the TV turned up loud so you can hear it over your MP3 player plugged into the ears.  They won’t warn you if you can’t hear the ambulance, police car, or fire truck behind you.

THREE ways to get warnings in the area … please pick three ways … Here’s some ideas.

The City has Blackboard Connect.  Make sure you ask for the SMS or Email alerts.

There’s the amateur radio Skywarn group.  There is no charge to listen with your scanner and some groups feed their signals out to

There’s the TV stations, radio stations and even newspapers are publishing electronic information.  See the media list on this page.

The National Weather Service has the all-hazards radio station located just south of Altus on a high hill with a tall tower on it serving North Texas and Southern Oklahoma.  Receivers can be obtained by a number of local vendors.  Get Specific Area Messaging Encoder (SAME) receivers, if you want to sleep at night.

Give me three ways to get an alert because, really, do you LIVE outside?

What are the Fire Conditions?

February 18, 2012
Please be aware of Fire Weather conditions.  

Fire Weather Information from the National Weather Service
Relative Humidity Map from Oklahoma MesoNet

February 17, 2012
With Spring Storm season just around the corner, Citizens should become aware of information they need to be informed and prepared.
Warnings are issued in Altus in the following manner.
  1. NOAA Weather Radio with Specific Area Messaging Encoder are alarmed by the National Weather Service to give AUTOMATIC audible and, for the hearing impaired, a visual alert.
  2. Sirens around the City will sound as activated by Emergency Management or 911 personnel, when there is a reason to sound the siren. There is NO all clear signal. If the Citizen hears a siren and is outside, the Citizen should quickly move inside. If the Citizen hears the siren and is inside, the Citizen should NOT go outside.
  3. Cable Television Override provides an audible message to subscribers of Cable Television.
  4. Citizens with cellular phone and/or paging service with email capabilities are encouraged to subscribe to services such as offered by EmergencyEThe Oklahoma Emergency Management service, or MyStateUSA.
  5. Citizens are encouraged to listen to local radio stations and area television stations for updates on local storm conditions. A portable, battery-powered AM radio, FM radio, or television set is a must-have for the personal disaster kit.
Warnings versus Watches
Warnings are issued when time is short. Watches are issued for hours at a time.
Clicking the Weather link on the Emergency Management web page will give the Citizen both the current conditions and any watches or warnings in place for the area.
Personal Disaster Kit
After preparing a plan using as a guide, the Citizen should put personal disaster supplies in a kit. The Calendar on the EM web page gives the Citizen a systematic approach to building this kit.
As always, your emergency management department, including a cadre of dedicated volunteers, stands ready to assist the Citizens with answers to questions about mitigation, response, recovery, and preparedness for disasters, both man-made and natural.

Applications being accepted for the 19th Annual Corporate Engagement Award of Excellence

February 9, 2012

The Corporate Engagement Award of Excellence is one of the oldest and most prestigious award programs honoring outstanding Employee Volunteer Programs. The award recognizes companies that have made workplace volunteering a central part of their business operation by putting structures, policies and evaluation in place to allow employees to give their time and talent to their communities.

Winning companies will be selected based on their ability to demonstrate exemplary evidence of the Principles of Excellence for Workplace Volunteering and will be featured throughout the National Conference on Volunteering and Service June 18-20, 2012 in New Chicago.

As a participant with the President’s Volunteer Service Award program we realize you may also partner with for- profit corporations that do great work for you. Please share this announcement with companies that you would like to see considered for this award.

The 2012 Corporate Engagement Award of Excellence honorees will be announced in June 2012.
We look forward to hearing about your great employee volunteer programs. Should you have any questions or require assistance please contact Melanie Stevenson at or call 404-574-5378.

Deadline for applications is March 19, 2012 11:59 EST
To learn more about the award or to complete an application please visit

National Severe Weather Workshop

February 9, 2012

In just a very few days, members of the severe weather community, including emergency management, Skywarn members, and local, State, and National meteorologists will converge in Norman for the National Severe Weather Workshop.

Each year, the workshop focuses on the best practices of weather forecasting and Community alerting.

Members of the Altus Skywarn Association and local emergency managers have attended in the past.

Will you be attending this year?  What do you hope to learn?

What are the Fire Conditions?

February 8, 2012

Please be aware of Fire Weather conditions.

Relative Humidity from Oklahoma MesoNet

Oklahoma Burn Ban Information


February 7, 2012

The Science and Technology Directorate within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is hosting
a Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) Forum on February 21, in Las Vegas. This CMAS Forum
provides stakeholders nationwide with a unique opportunity to discuss CMAS research, development,
and testing in advance of CMAS deployment in April.

The CMAS Forum is designed to address current and future-state initiatives to advance CMAS
capabilities nationwide. Information gathered will guide efforts for future CMAS planning, including
standards development and emerging technologies. The CMAS Forum will take place at the Las Vegas
Convention Center, Room S226, in conjunction with the International Wireless Communications Expo,
from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM PST.

The discussions and partnerships developed at the CMAS Forum will outline specific actions needed for
preparing communities for CMAS and will advance alerts and warnings capabilities nationwide, enhance
vital partnerships, and lay the groundwork for future success.


Participants can register to attend the CMAS Forum by completing the attached registration form
and sending it to By registering via the attached form, participants will
automatically be registered for IWCE’s exhibit hall at no charge. Participants who wish to attend the full
IWCE conference should mention the CMAS Forum and code H28 when registering for IWCE to receive
25% off IWCE conference prices.

IWCE has arranged for reduced hotel rates, which are available on a first-come first-served basis. To
learn more about hotel and travel options when planning your attendance at the CMAS Forum, please
visit IWCE for information about rates and procedures for reserving a hotel room.

‘ShakeOut’ Drill Puts Quake Preparedness to the Test

February 6, 2012
Oklahomans Encouraged to Participate in Regional Earthquake Drill

Next Tuesday, February 7, Oklahomans are encouraged to join more than 2 million people in nine states as they “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” in a region-wide earthquake drill. The event, scheduled for 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Oklahoma Geological Survey and is part of the second annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut.
In recent years Oklahoma has seen more earthquake activity, including a record-breaking 5.6 magnitude earthquake in November. The ShakeOut exercise is designed to help Oklahomans be better prepared in the event that a strong earthquake occurs in the state.
In Oklahoma, more than 45,000 people have already signed up to participate in the drill, including 134 Oklahoma schools, government agencies, and other organizations.
During the ShakeOut, participants will drop to the ground, take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to the table for about 60 seconds until the exercise ends. Experts say this is the best way to protect yourself during an earthquake, since in the U.S. the primary threat for injury during an earthquake is falling debris and toppling objects, like bookcases and heavy electronics, rather than structural collapse.
Additionally, to emphasize the importance of earthquake preparedness, Gov. Mary Fallin has proclaimed February 7 as Earthquake Awareness Day in Oklahoma.
“In this state, we recognize the importance of being prepared for all types of disasters, including earthquakes, which is why we are taking part in this regional exercise,” said OEM Director Albert Ashwood. “We applaud Oklahomans for their eagerness to join us in this effort.”
This event is held in conjunction with the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, local emergency managers, and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee
Individuals, schools and businesses are encouraged to participate in the ShakeOut exercise by registering online at Registered participants will receive information about how to plan their drill.

FEMA Preparedness Monthly Call #Prepared

February 3, 2012

The next FEMA Preparedness monthly call will be held Tuesday, February 7th at 3:00 ET / Noon PT

We’re continuing the year with a series of FEMA Preparedness Calls that will be geared toward the needs and interests of our state and local partners. The calls serve as a resource for you to hear about new developments at the local, state, and national level, share promising practices, discuss relevant topics, and ask questions directly to each other and FEMA officials.
Last month nearly 300 state and local participants logged in! We hope you’ll continue to keep in close touch.

Topics for this month’s call include:

  • Low Cost, Creative Options for Community Outreach featuring Jodi Simpson of the St. Clair, Michigan Citizen Corps Council
  • Showcasing the White House Champions of Change event that recently honored 17 individuals and organizations doing innovative work to prepare their communities. 
  • Messaging on Children and Burn Safety:  Safe Kids World Wide
  • Overview of Free, Simple, and Effective Preparedness Activities, FEMA Course, IS 909 Community Preparedness: Implementing Simple Activities for Everyone

NOTE: Before participating on the call, you must be registered. Click the following link to register:

This link is available anytime leading up to the webinar.

If you have previously registered with the HSIN Connect system, you can use your current login information to access the webinar. If you already have a login identification and password, log in to the webinar using the link below:

If you have any questions regarding the call, please contact

Incident Command School

February 2, 2012

Two classes in the Incident Command System are being offered in Altus, according to emergency management officials.

ICS-300, Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents, is being offered February 7-8 at the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Headquarters from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

ICS-400, Advanced Incident Command System, is being offered February 21-22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Prerequisites for the courses are IS-100 and -200, offered online at

Seating is limited.  Students are requested to register by email to or calling 800-304-5727.

In the class, the students will learn how to apply incident command structures to events such as the ice storm of two years ago.

Instructors are certified by Oklahoma Homeland Security and continuing education hours for response professionals are available.

For information about this and other classes, visit for the Oklahoma State University Fire Service Training calendar.

For information about ICS, call Jerry Gibson at 5804820229 or Lloyd Colston at 5804812260.