Friday, December 31, 2010

Snow, expectations, and resilience

As emergency managers, are we to manage disasters or expectations?

As an emergency manager, expectations (specifically generators) seem to be that Citizens want them, WE (your government) have them, and WE (your government) should just turn them over.

In reality, WE (your government) have a finite quantity of them to usein places where they will be "doing the most good", to quote the Salvation Army.

Since 95% of rescues come from neighbors, how about neighbors learning to help neighbors after they learn to help themselves? http://www.ready.gov

 
 

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via Homeland Security Watch by Arnold Bogis on 12/30/10

Philip's post on the problems wrought by the recent blizzard raises an interesting question regarding resilience: how big does an event have to be for people to not expect to be saved by government and instead start relying on themselves?

George Packer of the New Yorker tackles this topic with his personal description of the reaction of some New Yorkers to the blizzard:

Twenty inches of snow isn't a 7.5 earthquake or Category 4 hurricane. Unless it's life-threatening, an emergency rarely lifts human beings above themselves. A snowstorm like this is bad enough to make people parochial and aggrieved, but not disastrous enough to make them generous and heroic. The stories of people trapped on subway trains all night, of hundreds of 911 calls going unanswered for hours, remained abstract, because we were in no actual danger. And so, instead, it seemed as if our block was being singled out for idiocy and neglect. The scene on the street brought my neighbors and me into a fraternity of usefulness and scorn: we locals did one another little favors—here's some salt, thanks for shoveling my walk—and remarked on the folly of outsiders insisting on driving a car through such snow. The circle of inclusion was now the neighborhood—more narrowly, the block—but this bond wasn't strong enough to prompt one of us to put an orange cone of warning at the bottom of the street, let alone to organize all of us into teams that could shovel out the whole block. Urban solidarity had a limit, and some quaint notion of deserving city services kept us waiting passively on the silent street for the plow that, by midday Tuesday, still hadn't shown up.

When describing the earliest moments following a disaster, emergency managers never miss an opportunity to remind the public that there may be a period where they have to rely on themselves.  This is the theory behind having a plan and keeping several days of food and water, among other supplies.  Elected officials, however, find it more difficult to tell the public that they may not be there for them immediately following an event (and in the case of a certain New Jersey governor, that is literally true…). Added to the mix are those voices that insist that officials shouldn't plan for true catastrophes but instead focus on the most likely threats.  This line of thinking supports the notion that the government should be prepared to handle common events, and the average citizen as taxpayer should expect immediate results.

Perhaps instead we should broaden our conception of even non-catastrophic events. Describing the efforts of a moving crew to dig themselves a path out of his block, Packer links expectations held by citizen of government and government of citizen:

They had plowed our street with shovels. Outsiders on the clock, they had done the city's work—our work.

(h/t to Conor Friedersdorf at Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish)


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In a Tweet, Gov 2.0 pathfinder Brian Humphrey opined: "The 4 Mileposts to #SocialMedia Success: Desirable, Beneficial, Justifiable and Sustainable."

What makes social media justifiable?

We all know that Twitter is desirable.  After all, everyone's doing Social Media.

We have all heard stories about the benefits of social media.

Have we heard about justifiable social media?  It seems we've heard more people not allowed to use social media because ... well ... sometimes it really IS just because.

When social media grows up to present itself as a case to decision makers, social media will become sustainable.

Some tools that can help build that case are:

1.  SocialOomph ... this tool has some very useful tracking tools related to followers, URL shortening. When management wants to know how many followers you have, there's a graph for that. Being asked how many Direct Messages have been sent? There's a graph for that? Why is the Friend/Follower ratio at 38.2%? There's a graph for that will produce the question.  What's the answer?
2.  HootSuite is another tool that has some really superior twitter tracking tools.  How many clicks on your tweets happened this week or this month?  Which of the tweets were the most popular?  This tool will help you adjust your social media strategy by showing you successful tweets versus the less than stellar ones.
3.  At Twitter Counter, users will find a graph of users along with projections of followers and tweets.  Again, the user would be able to show management a viable Tweeting effort, if, indeed, there is one.
4.  Looking at TwitDiff, users can easily set up an account to track the followers who unfollow.  Using this tool, the Tweet user can determine the name and location of the unfollowing soul.  Thus, adjustments may be necessary to overcome a mass exodus, if, again, indeed, there is one.

OH, and by the way, management can use these tools since they are free, for the most part.  Therefore, the social media guru in your department might get ahead of that curve.

After all, it's part of the justification process for social media in Government.

The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success




Monday, December 27, 2010

Coupled along with this note from the Vacation Lane Group, it was observed by the Old Farmer's Almanac that, on December 26, 1947, "NYC's deepest snowstorm commenced: 25.8" at battery, 32" in suburbs - traffic completely stopped - removal costed $8 million - 27 people died, 1947."

In other words, this week's is not the FIRST worst snowstorm in the Northeast. Neither will it be the last. This particular event predates the Federal Emergency Management Agency by over 30 years.  Please, no jokes about FEMA being established on April Fool's Day, 1979.

I am not calling for the elimination of FEMA or Homeland Security, but something was different in 1947.  There was no FEMA, no Red Cross debit cards, the City survived, and America continued.

What could it have been?

While I am not calling for the elimination of the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Homeland Security, it is noteworthy that, in public speaking, I have yet to have a listener raise their hand when I ask who would like to give ME a generator. However, rare is the disaster that occurs where there are more requests for FEMA reimbursement for individual generators.


It appears that FEMA is wise to continue the missive of preparedness. This message is NOT new. The "Are You Ready" books have been in print for several years now. They are a good supplement to the local emergency management program in the USA. It fits nicely with the 303 Plan described by our friends in Australia at http://www.the303plan.com/

It really is fitting that, in 1947, I suspect Neighbors Helped Neighbors. In the beginning of the Cold War era, the elderly and infirm were not overlooked. Perhaps, America should return to the pattern and practice of our forefathers.


After all, all disasters start locally and end locally, in 1947 or today. Are YOU Ready? http://www.ready.gov

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via The Vacation Lane Blog by The Vacation Lane Group on 12/20/10

There once was a time when snow and ice were not the subject of disaster declarations. In fact the Fire, flood, or explosion litany of the disaster legislation often seemed to not even include those hazards. Snowstorms have now been added.

The current definition reads:

"Major disaster" means any natural catastrophe (including any hurricane, tornado,
storm, high water, winddriven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic
eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought), or, regardless of cause, any
fire, flood, or explosion, in any part of the United States, which in the determination
of the President causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant
major disaster assistance under this Act to supplement the efforts and available
resources of States, local governments, and disaster relief organizations in
alleviating the damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused thereby."

Thus icestorms and energy outages are not specifically listed unless accompanied by one of the listed hazards or the specifically named ones--fire, flood or explosion. And of course radiological releases and terrorist attacks are also not specifically listed or generically listed.

Well it will be interesting to see exactly what FEMA and DHS do in the event of a prolonged icestorm or energy outage or even what their plans and capabilities are in fact. A large ice storm in KY last winter has resulted in an outpouring of disaster largess and surely this was partially the result of efforts by the long serving Congressman from KY Fifth Congressional District now chair of the House Appropriations Committee in the forthcoming 112th Congress.

Not relying on FEMA documentation of capability (there is little to rely upon) but open source materials on other agencies including the Department of Energy a mass and long term outage of power in a major metropolitan area--I would argue the top 500--would result in deaths and damages that would or should qualify this for major disaster status. Perhaps in the South and West, as both FRANCE and Russia have now experienced, heat wave deaths in unairconditioned shelter can be devastating to URBAN populations.

So suggesting that these situations be added to the planning scenarios and any statutory issues be addressed in the 112th Congress.

Winter now but yes with the winter solstice arriving summer now the solstice after next.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to all.

Things you can do from here:

Is Your Social Media Expert a Fraud? – By Missy Ward

Did you see this? What kind of social media EXPERT has approached you this week?

Regularly, #SMEM folks get approached by people to double and triple their followers.

When you see these types of approaches, RUN ... don't walk to the #SMEM hashtag. :)

 
 

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via Affiliate Magazine by Colleen on 12/27/10

Lately, I've received more and more requests to recommend "a social media marketing expert" (their words, not mine) to help create and manage their company's social media strategy. Overall, it appears that the bulk of the people that have asked, have not been too keen on their existing expert.

Many have even felt duped by the firm they hired. After looking at a couple of the choices, it's easy to see how the companies might feel deceived, based on the fact that they've hired self-proclaimed "experts" who I remember claiming to be experts in something else just a year ago.

A while back, I asked readers of my blog to provide some suggestions on red flags folks should look for when interviewing social media marketing companies. Here are some of their comments I received on my blog, Facebook and Twitter:

"When their email address is @gmail, @msn or @yahoo instead of a "real" company address. If you can't set up branded email, I doubt you can test, measure and optimize social media campaigns." – Anne Holland, WhichTestWon.com

"When the first thing they talk about for Social Media is Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn." – Patrick Allmond, AllAboutFocus.com

"When the expert negotiates their consulting fee in free food. If they don't know how to command proper pay for their services, how are you to expect that they know how to generate actual tangible revenue for you?"- Lori Miller, Twitter.com/PokerVixen

"When you look at their Twitter account and it states they joined Twitter six months ago." – Karen Rocks, SparkFireMarketing.com

"When they can only talk tools (Facebook, Twitter) and not strategy; when they talk nothing but buzzwords like "engagement, metrics, authenticity" without context." – Davina Brewer, 3HatsCommunications.com

"When you can't find anything about them on Google and their site is nothing more than a price sheet splash page." – Anastasia Hilinsky, HilinskyConsulting.com

"When they talk in %'s instead of real numbers… 200% growth in Fans! (From 4 to 11)" – Kevin Webster, LevelAnalytics.com

"When they neither have an outline, nor a clear plan on how they will promote your business through Social Media" – Geno Prussakov, AMNavigator.com

"When they don't inventory your current communication channels, know what UGC stands for and have never used PickFu." – Pat Grady, RhinoFish.com

"If the social media expert insists that you can't measure the ROI on Social Media, chances are, they don't know what they're doing." – Derek Halpern, SocialTriggers.com

"When you search for the company name on Twitter (or any social media channel) and get no results." – Sharon Mostyn, SharonMostyn.com

"When you also see them in forums complaining that they can't get any traffic and are thinking of giving up." – Malcolm McDonough, PregnantByDesign.com

"When they call themselves a social media expert in the first place." – Josh Todd, InsideAffiliate.net

Unfortunately, I couldn't fit all of the comments here, but you can read them at www.missyward.com/NotAnSMExpert.
There are a lot of great firms out there, and it is my hope this will help separate the wheat from the chaff.

Missy is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine and manages MoneyMindedMoms.com.

Download the entire FeedFront issue 13 here – http://www.scribd.com/doc/45332687/FeedFront-Magazine-Issue-13
FeedFront issue 13 articles can be found here as well: http://feedfront.com/archives/article00date/2010/12a>


 
 

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Monday, December 20, 2010

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently unveiled an exciting new tool to help the public get answers to questions about Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRM).

Provided by the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX), Live Chat allows FEMA stakeholders to interact with Map Specialists real-time via an online forum. Specialists can field inquiries about a wide variety of topics including the release of new flood maps, the urgent need for the purchase of flood insurance and much, much more.

Map Specialists are available for online chat Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. CST. To use Live Chat or for information regarding services provided by the FMIX, visit www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html and click on "Live Chat." You can also contact the FMIX at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) or by email at FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com.

While many homeowners are required by mortgage and lending companies to have flood insurance, FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) strongly recommend that everyone purchase flood insurance.
  
The NFIP offers federally-backed flood insurance at relatively nominal rates, as damage from flooding is not normally covered by homeowners' insurance. For more information on estimated rates for flood insurance, flood facts and to locate an agent in your area, you can also visit www.floodsmart.gov.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cleveland County Store Destroyed By Tornado Reopens

Just in case you missed this story out of Oklahoma, here's a store that reopened seven months after the storm.

That's seven months with no income for the business owner.

That's seven months that customers were shopping somewhere else.

That's seven months that the store had to rely on insurance to rebuild.

That's seven months of getting building supplies and construction experts to work amid competition from other fires, floods, wind storms, etc.

Now, the question is, if this had been YOUR story, what would you have done?

If you were the owner, would you rebuild? COULD you rebuild?

If you were the customer, could you drive another 15 miles for seven months and would you drive another 15 miles less when the store reopens?

Plan now ... Storm season starts in less than seven months.

 
 

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via NEWS 9 - News on 12/16/10

Seven months after a tornado smashed through eastern Cleveland County and destroyed the Country Boy Grocery Store on Highway 9, the business is open again.

 
 

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Monday, November 22, 2010

What's this all about?

The discussion about Spotter Convergence continues on the Chaser list.
The popular program StormChasers has added more fuel to the
discussion, especially when video of a vehicle passing in no passing
zones.
From last May, here's a post regarding the topic:
http://kc5fm.blogspot.com/search/label/Skywarn

> Is it time for chasing legislation
> to help control these unruly, dangerous convergence situations which are
> very difficult for towns such as Hennessey, or Kingfisher Oklahoma as they
> were last May 19th, or are you against legislating chasing? Why, what are
> some of your ideas or views on this subject?
As strongly as I feel about this subject, list members may be
surprised that I am NOT in favor of chasing legislation.
I AM in favor of CHASERS calming down and self-regulating, if you
will, their dangerous activity. I'm in FAVOR of certain popular TV
CHASERS acting like Human Beings, on and off camera. I am ALL THE
MORE in FAVOR of CHASERS modeling safe behavior when they are
streaming their video for all the world to see.
The video of the TIV barreling down the road across TWO double yellow
lines is but ONE example of unsafe CHASER behavior. Watching the
CHASERS stream their OWN video and my thoughts have already been
documented at http://kc5fm.blogspot.com/search/label/Skywarn
I AM in favor of Skywarn training and credentialing. IF you are a
Skywarn spotter, you have had spotter safety training. If you are
stopped for some vehicular infraction and have no reason to be their
(documented by a Skywarn "card" of some sort), you will face increased
scrutiny by the officer. That's how it works in Jackson County,
Oklahoma, USA. I have already told my troop commander words to the
effect that my spotters are not above the law. I have ridden with a
number of my spotters and some have ridden with me. They all know
expectations. I am convinced that they will continue to meet
expectations.
The Skywarn program, if I understand correctly, will become a truly
National program with uniform training. Spotter SAFETY will be part
of that training. Much like the SpotterNetwork process of vetting
individuals in a certain subject matter, the training will produce a
person entered into a National database. Mess up and I suspect that
entry in the National database will be removed.
NO! I am not in favor of increased legislation. I am in favor of
individuals doing the right thing without being told all the time what
the right thing is.
But while you are at it, could you please NOT tell me how safe you are while you stream video showing me you are NOT?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

NIST, NTIA Seek Collaborators for Emergency Communications Demo Network

From our friends at the Federal level. Please consider helping, if you can.

NIST, NTIA Seek Collaborators for Emergency Communications Demo Network

From the 10/13/10 issue of the NIST Tech Beat:

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) are
seeking partners in the telecommunications industry to help create a
demonstration broadband communications network for the nation's
emergency services agencies.

The demonstration network, currently being developed by the joint
NIST-NTIA Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program, will
provide a common site for manufacturers, carriers, and public safety
agencies to test and evaluate advanced broadband communications
equipment and software tailored specifically to the needs of emergency
first responders. The network will use a portion of the 700 megahertz
(MHz) radio frequency spectrum freed up by last year's transition of
U.S. broadcast television from analog to digital technologies (see
NIST Tech Beat, Dec. 15, 2009).

Alcatel-Lucent is the first vendor of public safety broadband
equipment to formally join the PSCR demonstration network project,
signing a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with
NIST and NTIA in September, 2010. The two agencies hope that other
companies will follow suit, creating a truly multi-vendor environment
for testing and evaluating the demonstration network, as well as the
eventual building of the system. Partners may participate in many
ways, such as donating equipment, providing access to infrastructure
or supporting tests.

Alcaltel-Lucent has supplied the demonstration network with Long Term
Evolution (LTE) Bandclass 14 equipment. LTE is the technology chosen
by the public safety community to be used in the 700 MHz band
(Bandclass 14) allocated to it by the Federal Communications
Commission.

Vendors and other telecommunications companies wishing to become CRADA
partners on the demonstration network project may contact Dereck Orr
at (303) 497-5400, dereck.orr@nist.gov, or Jeff Bratcher at (303)
497-4610, jbratcher@its.bldrdoc.gov, for information.

The PSCR program is a partnership of the NIST Law Enforcement
Standards Office and the NTIA's Institute for Telecommunication
Sciences. PSCR provides objective technical support—research,
development, testing and evaluation—in order to foster nationwide
public safety communications interoperability. More information is
available on the PSCR Web site.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

On Katrina 5th Anniversary, A Compelling & Useful List Of Preparedness Tips,...

Could I say this better myself?

Probably not.

Will you pay attention, please?

I surely hope so.

 
 

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via In Case Of Emergency, Read Blog by admin on 8/28/10

As the nation marks the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I wanted to post a terrific list of preparedness tips and lessons learned from the disaster survivors that was collected by the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The Times-Picayune, which did such heroic coverage during and after Katrina, solicited these ideas from readers in 2006 and printed them weekly during hurricane season. In June of 2007, the paper reprinted "a comprehensive selection", calling it the "ultimate insiders guide to evacuee readiness. Enjoy and prepare." The list is so interesting, because it reflects the real-life experiences of disaster survivors.

Though you may not agree with all of the ideas suggested and some are area specific, I think you will find it worth reading through this collection as a resource, an example of citizen resilience and even, yes, how humor is necessary in the face of crisis. The article is also an example of the huge potential the media has to spur citizen preparedness if it focused more on the topic.

The approximately 75 submissions have been divided by the author James O'Byrne into categories, including: On The Road Again, Kids And Pets, Staying Behind, Guest Relations, Take This Job And Leave It, Precious Papers Important Photos, Food For Thought, Potty Time, & The Big Picture. The tips range from "Take blank checks, internet passwords, copies of bills, long distance phone card, walkie talkies" and "Apply for a gas credit card" to "Perfume. No showers for 10 days. We stunk so bad" and "Keep nice with your Dallas relative with the big house."

Below are a couple of representative e-mails that will give you a sense of these survivor tips:

I always prided myself in being super organized before Katrina. In the safe-deposit box at the bank, I had placed the original savings bonds I was using to finance my sons' college education, a video of my home's contents and negatives of both my sons' first days of life. My home in Lakewood South had 6½ feet of water. The lobby of the bank in Lakeview flooded, too!

Only copies of important papers are kept in the safe-deposit box now. I personally keep all original documents in a small fireproof box that is portable and will go wherever I go. In that box, too, is a stash of cash (proved to be very valuable last year) as well as my "password list" containing all necessary info to manage bills and finances online.

Videos of my sons have now been transferred to DVDs. They're in plastic bags that are stored in the bottom of my Rubbermaid container that also will go with me. Digital pictures of my new home replace the home video. (After a catastrophic loss, the insurance companies want only pictures, I have learned.) I have my "Katrina Book" that also will go with me this year — inside is every important phone number, registration number, etc., which are critical for life after a storm.

CHERYL LITWIN,
New Orleans

What worked for us? Nothing. What would I do differently? I shall start listing:
Do not watch the news anywhere around your kids. Ever.
Do not leave ANY pet behind thinking you will only be gone for two days.
Know how to text message if the cell phones are no longer working.
Have an emergency account set up with a NATIONAL bank so when you cannot access money from your local bank there is a back-up fund.
Bring more than a few days worth of clothes.
Bring a copy of children's shot records.
Know what "teaching methods" are taught in your school (yes, I was asked that question several times!).
Every year when getting your pets vaccinated, get a copy of updates to bring while evacuating.
Let people who want to take care of you and love you do just that. This is not boot camp or a pride parade. Let others help.
Bring pictures of items in your home for your insurance claim.
Bring needed medications.
Bring some wine.
Tell your family and friends where you are going and work out a "contact person" on the outside who can give your information to worried friends and family.
Never depend on the government. If it looks like a storm is coming and Bob Breck and Margaret Orr are a little stressed — GET OUT.
Brush up on some of those prayers your momma taught you. And just know we have been through the worst. It can never get as bad as it did. We are a strong people.

CLAIRE KOCH,
New Orleans

The entire article with all the tips/lessons learned can be found here.


 
 

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Storm chasers are NOT #Skywarn Spotters.

In part of my emails to the Weather Chaser list, I made note of this video. Please use viewer discretion.

Please view this video. Although it's not about chasing, it's about
motor vehicle operation and some undesirable consequences. I will add
it is quite graphic. Viewer discretion is advised, in other words.

http://www.facebook.com/kc5fm?ref=profile#!/video/video.php?v=347401909287&ref=mf

PLEASE be SAFE and remain FREE.

Not to be outdone, some chasers took matters into their own hands.

and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMdJy3qMak are shots of a TV storm chaser barreling down a two lane road, complete with support vehicles. Can you see brake lights as these folks barrel down the roadway?

Here's more from my colleague to the north.

In this article
, the Vortex2 team says that chasers got in their way. The article is believable except the spokesman was observed by the German Skywarn Team breaking the law. The particular individual also has ties to the "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE" chasers on a popular TV show.


One of the participants posted comments on his Facebook page. The reply is in italics.

You REALLY believe this?

I'm responding to video of the TIV convoy passing other chasers and
the complaint that we were doing so unsafely. I realize that people do
not know that our team has radios and that we give a "clear" to the

Would you expect a Trooper to understand this? You were breaking the LAW!

follow vehicles so they know that there is no oncoming traffic. Also I
am up in the turret so that I can get a better perspective of traffic
ahead. Also the video that I saw was "zoomed" in, optically
compressing space, so that the hill and vehicles seems closer together

Then WHY did the cars behind you have to slam on THEIR breaks?


than in reality. Finally, the TIV or any of it's follow vehicles have
never been in or caused an accident. Also, want to say that I

Never a time like NOW to break THAT record.

appreciate your concern for chasers safety and I will do my best to
make it a priority for my entire team for the rest of the season. I'm
not perfect, I know that more than anyone, but I really respect the
chaser community and I take your comments seriously."

Read my post on the WX-Chase list about CHASERS. I would much rather folks out there were SAFE than exhibiting the DANGEROUS action you display.

The post referred to above is quoted below.

Since I'm not around ground zero this afternoon, I took some time to
watch some of the
video samples available on the various video
streams.

I observed speed too fast for conditions (wet roads and hail),
following too close (can't you count one-one thousand, two
one-thousand after you pass a yellow line or pothole?), inattentive
driving (at least two left of center), one busted a red light, a
couple or three almost rear-ended the car in front.

Folks, if you are going to tell the world you are safely operating
your motor vehicle, the pictures need to match. If you are going to
put a picture of you in the car driving, it helps if you pay attention
to what you do instead of dinking on the PC, talking on the radio, dig
for something on the floor or in the back seat, etc. Don't you all
have partners?

Maybe it would be a better practice to NOT show
video while you are
breaking the law. After all, these end up on TV and you don't get
paid.

I'm getting the idea that this is too hard for some but, please, TRY
to be SAFE out there. Tomorrow you are in Oklahoma. I will be too
busy to watch but I bet someone in a clearly marked car will be.

Finally, these examples are NOT representative of Skywarn. Please contact your local emergency management office or National Weather Service office for information about how to be involved in this important activity.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Radio Shack has an interesting Weather Radio with AM/FM for Skywarn folks.

Since Jackson County has a grant to get a 75% rebate on the purchase of a new weather radio with SAME technology, it was not hard to say "yes".

The radio has an amazing additional feature. It's a scanner for two-meter and 440 mHz Skywarn channels, programmable. That's 20 channels for the local Skywarn enthusiast.

The radio specifications list .3 microvolt for both the weather radio and Skywarn band. That's not great sensitivity but locally it works to hear the local Skywarn repeaters and the County NWS transmitter, with the telescoping antenna collapsed and folded into storage.

Reading the reviews on the Radio Shack site, some complaints are:

low sensitivity
can't program a local Skywarn channel
no balance in audio between bands

One EXCELLENT feature is the BNC antenna adapter that comes with the radio. This makes having an outside antenna to improve reception of both weather and amateur radio signals.

Overall, this is a good unit, especially if you live in Jackson County, OK and are involved in the Skywarn Program.

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