PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE (NWS) HAS ISSUED A TORNADO WATCH, WHICH INCLUDES DALLAS COUNTY, UNTIL 7PM TONIGHT. THE DALLAS COUNTY EMERGENCY OPERATING CENTER (EOC) WAS ACTIVATED AS OF 11:30 THIS MORNING TO MONITOR FOR SEVERE WEATHR.
Important Emergency Preparedness List:
- Have an emergency supply kit with essentials such as a weather radio (available at drug stores, groceries, and home improvement stores as well as other retailers), a flashlight with fresh batteries, water supply and appropriate outdoors clothing and shoes. The below link describes items that should be included in an emergency kit.
- Make sure you and your family have a severe weather plan and a designated place to meet. Go to the lowest floor available, and get as many walls between you and outside. Take the radio and flashlight with you as well as a charged cell phone.
- Do not send people or resources to a disaster site unless specifically requested to do so by emergency officials. Self-deploying could interfere with recovery efforts.
- Do not spontaneously try and retrieve your child from school during severe weather unless requested to do so by school officials.
BELOW PLEASE SEE PERTINENT INFORMATION FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS STATE OPERATIONS CENTER (SOC), WHICH INCLUDES VARIOUS LINKS FOR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS. PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR VIEWERS.
North Texas and Oklahoma have experienced various tornadoes in the past few weeks. Knowing what to do when you see a tornado, or when you hear a tornado warning, can help protect you and your family. During a tornado, people face hazards from extremely high winds and risk being struck by flying and falling objects. After a tornado, the wreckage left behind poses additional injury risks. Although nothing can be done to prevent tornadoes, there are actions you can take for your health and safety.
When there are thunderstorms in your area, turn on your radio or TV to get the latest emergency information from local authorities. Listen for announcements of a tornado watch or tornado warning.
Important Measures To Take
- Take a few minutes with your family to develop a tornado emergency plan. Sketch a floor plan of where you live, or walk through each room and discuss where and how to seek shelter.
- Show a second way to exit from each room or area. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
- Make sure everyone understands the siren warning system, if there's such a system in your area.
- Mark where your first-aid kit and fire extinguishers are located.
- Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so they can be turned off--if time permits--in an emergency.
- Teach your family how to administer basic first aid, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how and when to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home.
- Learn the emergency dismissal policy for your child's school.
Extra Measures for People with Disabilities or those with Access and Functional Needs
- Make sure your children know--
- What a tornado is
- What tornado watches and warnings are
- What county or parish they live in (warnings are issued by county or parish)
- How to take shelter, whether at home or at school.
- Write down your specific needs, limitations, capabilities, and medications. Keep this list near you always--perhaps in your purse or wallet.
- Find someone nearby (a spouse, roommate, friend, neighbor, relative, or co-worker) who will agree to assist you in case of an emergency. Give him or her a copy of your list. You may also want to provide a spare key to your home, or directions to find a key.
- Keep aware of weather conditions through whatever means are accessible to you. Some options are closed captioning or scrolled warnings on TV, radio bulletins, or call-in weather information lines.
Practicing Your Emergency Plan
Conduct drills and ask questions to make sure your family remembers information on tornado safety, particularly how to recognize hazardous weather conditions and how to take shelter.
Writing Down Important Information
Make a list of important information. Include these on your list:
- Important telephone numbers, such as emergency (police and fire), paramedics, and medical centers.
- Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your insurance agents, including policy types and numbers.
- Telephone numbers of the electric, gas, and water companies.
- Names and telephone numbers of neighbors.
- Name and telephone number of your landlord or property manager.
- Important medical information (for example, allergies, regular medications, and brief medical history).
- Year, model, license, and identification numbers of your vehicles (automobiles, boats, and RVs).
- Bank's or credit union's telephone number, and your account numbers.
- Radio and television broadcast stations to tune to for emergency broadcast information.
Storing Important Documents
Store the following documents in a fire- and water-proof safe:
- Birth certificates
- Ownership certificates (autos, boats, etc.)
- Social security cards
- Insurance policies
- Household inventory
- List of contents of household; include serial numbers, if applicable
- Photographs or videotape of contents of every room
- Photographs of items of high values, such as jewelry, paintings, collection items
Shutting Off Utilities
After a tornado, DO NOT USE matches, lighters, or appliances, or operate light switches until you are sure there are no gas leaks. Sparks from electrical switches could ignite gas and cause an explosion.
If you smell the odor of gas or if you notice a large consumption of gas being registered on the gas meter, shut off the gas immediately. First, find the main shut-off valve located on a pipe next to the gas meter. Use an adjustable wrench to turn the valve to the "off" position.
After a major disaster, shut off the electricity. Sparks from electrical switches could ignite leaking gas and cause an explosion.
- Water may be turned off at either of two locations:
- At the main meter, which controls the water flow to the entire property.
- At the water main leading into the home. If you may need an emergency source of fresh water, it is better to shut off your water here, because it will conserve the water in your water heater.
- "L" brackets, corner brackets, or aluminum molding, to attach tall or top-heavy furniture to the wall.
- Eyebolts, to secure items located a short distance from the wall.
- Attach a valve wrench to the water line. (This tool can be purchased at most hardware stores.)
- Label the water mains for quick identification.
Arranging and Securing Household Items
- Arrange furniture so that chairs and beds are away from windows, mirrors, and picture frames.
- Place heavy or large items on lower shelves.
- Secure your large appliances, especially your water heater, with flexible cable, braided wire, or metal strapping.
- Identify top-heavy, free-standing furniture, such as bookcases and china cabinets, that could topple over.
- Secure your furniture by using one of two methods.
- Install sliding bolts or childproof latches on all cabinet doors.
- Store all hazardous materials such as poisons and solvents--
- in a sturdy, latched or locked cabinet
- in a well-ventilated area
- away from emergency food or water supplies
Texas Division of Emergency Management: Tornado Preparedness: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/Preparedness/tips/tornadoSafetyTips.htm
Accessible Content for Preparedness (American Sign Language) http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/asl/
CDC Tornado Preparednesshttp://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/
FEMA Tornado Preparedness: http://www.ready.gov/tornadoes
Duties and Responsibilities
The Dallas County Emergency Management program stems from Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code which requires that each county maintain a disaster plan responsible for emergency preparedness and coordination of response to disasters. This statute is the basis for the State/local relationship, which is solidified by inter-jurisdictional agreements with Dallas County and its municipalities for mutual assistance on day-to-day operations and during times of disaster.
In December of 2009, the United States Department of Homeland Security designated the Dallas/Ft. Worth areas as a Tier One Terrorism Threat Level community. This is based on the amount of critical infrastructure and key resources located in the region. In our Homeland Security role, HSEM must be prepared and able to quickly adapt to changing events and situations. Through effective “situational awareness” we can implement programs to better prepare our communities, protect lives and critical infrastructure against threats and intentional acts of terrorism.
HSEM works with the North Central Texas Council of Governments and regional jurisdictions to maximize our homeland security federal grant opportunities. The North Texas region continues to receive grant funding under the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and State Homeland Security Grant Programs.
- FEMA Information on Building a Safe Room and Knowing When to Use it:
- Please check out this important information on tornado safety procedures from the Federal Emergency Management Agency website:
- Texas Wildfire Threat
The State of Texas encourages you to use the below resources to ensure you are prepared in the event a fire threatens your property:
- Get an understanding of HSEM:
Don’ understand what the office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management is about? EDUCATE YOURSELF, with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) courses that are available free in the FEMA website.