Wednesday, May 18, 2016

National Emergency Medical Services week announced #AltusOK

May 17 – 23 is National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. This observance, established in 1974 by President Gerald Ford, brings together local communities and medical personnel to promote safety and honor the dedication of those who serve as the first line of defense when an emergency strikes.
Our nation’s emergency responders do a great job keeping community members safe, but they cannot do it alone. We can all contribute to the safety and security of our communities.
There are organizations in your community that host community-planning meetings, provide preparedness information and volunteer opportunities to community members and when in need, are available to respond to a disaster. 
Celebrate National EMS Week by joining one of Citizen Corps’ partner programs. These programs help build capacity for first responders through the use of volunteers and include:
  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT);
  • Fire Corps;
  • National Neighborhood Watch Program;
  • Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS)
  • Medical Reserve Corps (MRC); and
  • Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Do you have what it takes to be a Weather Ready Nation Ambassador? #WRN #Skywarn

The WeatherReady Nation (WRN) Ambassador initiative is an NWS effort to formally recognize our partners who are working with us to help improve the readiness, responsiveness, and overall resilience of people in our area against all the extreme weather that we experience.

The duties of a WRN Ambassador are pretty much what most of you do anyway - keep in touch with NWS Norman(maintain current point-of-contact and contact information), use NWS-generated information such as preparedness messages, and look for opportunities to work together on local preparedness events.

Any organization across all levels of government, businesses large and small, non-profit and non-governmental organizations, and academia can become a WRN Ambassador. Here are just a few examples of potential WeatherReady Nation Ambassadors in our area:

- city/county emergency management 
- city/county/state law enforcement
- city/county government
- fire departments and EMS
- tribes
- hospitals and medical facilities
- insurance agents/companies
- technology centers
- universities and colleges
- K-12 schools or school districts, public or private
- malls, stores, businesses
- TV and radio stations
- Skywarn storm spotter groups
- amateur radio clubs, ARES, RACES
- volunteer organizations, non-profit organizations
- faith-based organizations
- state government agencies
- zoos, amusement parks, recreational centers
- LEPC's
- military installations
- electric cooperatives, energy companies
- etc

The application process is quick and easy. Here's a link to the application, and here's a link to an FAQ list that will hopefully answer any questions you have about the program.

Thanks for your consideration!

Rick Smith - Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service - Norman Forecast Office
120 David L. Boren Blvd., Suite 2400
Norman, OK 73072 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How @WaffleHouse compares to the Automatic Packet Reporting System #ARRL #hamradio @CraigatFEMA @FEMA

If you have heard, there's a "Waffle House Index" at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Craig, KK4INZ said this about the Index, “If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.” 

However, outside the "Big City" there are not so many Waffle Houses.  There are other "disaster resilient companies" to track.

What about those places where there are no Lowes and Home Depots or they are located outside the disaster zone?

Welcome to the concept of using the Automatic Packet Reporting System to see "how bad is bad" before, during, and after a disaster.  

On a "normal day" with no power outage, tornado, hurricane, ice storm, etc., open a map.  Zoom out and one will see all manner of people and places.  

Add a disaster and the resources begin to fail.  One by one the pretty icons evaporate from the map.

Folks at the Voice Over Internet Protocol Weather Net have been using APRS, among other tools, to get data for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.  

For example, before a land-falling hurricane strikes the island of Bermuda, VOIPWX team members look at APRS to see what is in play.  A few hours after the event, another look would paint a very different story, if the disaster really takes a toll.  Similarly, internet-dependent communications such as Echolink, D-Star, and the Internet Radio Linking Project could provide planners with the "ground truth" they need to see "how big bad is".

Do you use these tools in your disaster response, recovery, mitigation, and planning programs?

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