Tuesday, October 26, 2021

We’re Prepared: Emergency Management in Southlake

We can’t always predict when disaster will strike, but we’re prepared if it does.

Planning

From severe weather to man-made hazards, the City of Southlake has multiple plans in place that address procedures before, during and after disaster or large-scale emergency events. The Office of Emergency Management guides City departments through planning processes so that we have plans that use an all-hazards approach, easily molded to fit most situations.

  • Our Emergency Operations Plan is validated by the State and is reviewed every five years.
  • Each City department has a Continuity of Operations Plan, which allows them to continue essential functions no mater what the situation.
  • Each facility has an Emergency Action Plan, that allows staff to respond to many common emergencies and facilitates evacuation and shelter in place situations.
  • Every large City event in Town Square requires an event action plan that provides response to the increased number of people within the area.
  • We have a certified disaster debris plan that allows us to plan accordingly for large debris generating events such as flooding and tornadoes.

Notification

The City of Southlake operates six outdoor warning sirens that sound during severe weather or life threating events. The sirens are placed strategically throughout the City and are designed to warn people who are in common outdoor areas such as parks and shopping centers to go inside and seek more information.

The City also communicates emergency information with citizens and businesses registered for Alert Southlake. This system allows us to send rapid notifications via phone call, text or email. These notifications can range from severe weather notifications, road closures, to other emergencies such as closures and boil water notices.

Response

When a disaster strikes, the City operates and Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The EOC, under guidance of the emergency manager and city manager, brings together highly trained City staff and state-of-the-art technology to coordinate resources, information and crisis and emergency risk communication to strengthen our City’s ability to detect and respond to threats.

The City also participates in associations such as Northeast Fire Department Association (NEFDA) and Public Works Emergency Response Team (PWERT) that allows us additional resources and manpower during emergency events. These affiliations allow us to respond and recover much faster, becoming a more resilient community.

Learn how the City has planned for various emergency situations by visiting the Southlake Office of Emergency Management’s home page or if you have a question, contact Emergency Manager Amanda Meneses at ameneses@ci.southlake.tx.us.

Meet the City of Southlake Emergency Management Team

When it comes to preparedness the City of Southlake takes emergency management seriously. The City employs an Office of Emergency Management that assists the city, local businesses and the community throughout all phases of a disaster cycle: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

Emergency Manager Amanda Meneses provides strategic guidance and oversight to four program areas in the application of an all-hazards emergency management program. These programs include the emergency operations center, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery. Meneses’ focus is on ensuring the City of Southlake can thrive in any emergency situation that the City may face. She works jointly with other city, state, federal and non-governmental entities in the execution of this mission.

Previously, Amanda served as a federal emergency telecommunicator supervisor in Washington D.C. In this role, she had primary responsibility of dispatching for several federal law enforcement and fire agencies around the Nation’s Capital, coordinated internal training and communications and served as a project manager for new and sensitive initiatives, including the roll-out of a new CAD system.  Meneses also did emergency dispatch for Kitsap County, outside of Seattle, Washington prior to moving to the D.C. area.

Meneses started her career in the United States Navy, serving 14 years. Her main function was military police/working dog handler. Amanda has worked both drug and explosive trained canines. She served both stateside and in Europe, with three deployments to the Middle East. Amanda holds a bachelor’s degree in emergency management from Kaplan University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Columbia Southern University.

Emergency Management Specialist Isabella Uceda began her career at the City of Southlake as an intern with the Office of Emergency Management. Uceda is local to the area, graduating from Argyle High School in 2016.  She then continued her education at the University of Arlington, starting in the nutrition program, then after finding her true passion, majored in public health.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Texas at Arlington, Uceda came to work full-time at the City of Southlake. Her main focus is working on public education and becoming a continuity practitioner, allowing her to assist with the city-wide continuity of operations plan (COOP). She will also be working on the revitalization of a community emergency response team (CERT) among other emergency management practices to help improve the readiness and resiliency of the Southlake community.

Together, our Emergency Management team wants to make sure the City and the community are prepared and resilient in the event of an emergency.

For more information about emergency management in Southlake, go to www.CityofSouthlake.com/EmergencyManagement.

Ozone Action Days – What Are They?

Since the ozone forecast season started in March, the DFW Metroplex has experienced two Ozone Action Days. And as part of the City’s efforts to keep you informed those alerts were posted to the City of Southlake Facebook page.

So what is Ozone Action Day? It’s a public notification from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) when weather conditions combine with air pollution to form high levels of ground-level ozone. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, ground-level ozone can lead to decreased lung function, pain with deep breaths and trigger asthma symptoms.

“It is important for individuals that have respiratory conditions, who primarily work outside to remain aware of ozone conditions,” said the City’s Emergency Management Coordinator, Amanda Meneses. “Being exposed to these ozone-related threats could cause unexpected medical emergencies for people with pre-existing medical conditions.”

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also recommends several strategies aimed at reducing ozone pollution. Here are just a few ways you can help:

  • Mulch or compost leaves and yard waste
  • Consider trading wood for gas logs
  • Keep your car, boat and other engines properly tuned
  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated
  • Consider carpool, public transportation, biking or walking whenever possible

Look to the City’s Facebook page for further Ozone Action Days as they are issued.  You can also check day to day air quality by visiting airnow.gov. For more information about how you can keep our air clean visit takecareoftexas.org.

Winter Weather Update

UPDATE 6:30 am 1/16/2018: the National Weather Service has canceled the Winter Weather Advisory.  Temperatures remain very cold.  Drivers are asked to use caution on the roads.

The DFW area, including Southlake, is under a Winter Weather Advisory from 6:00 p.m. Monday night (1/15) until 12:00 pm Tuesday (1/16) afternoon.

According to the Southlake DPS Office of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, wintry precipitation is likely across most of North and Central Texas Monday night and Tuesday morning.

If you are planning to travel late this evening or tomorrow morning stay informed. For the latest information around Southlake, visit the Southlake DPS Facebook page, Southlake DPS Twitter, the City of Southlake’s Facebook page, or the City of Southlake’s Twitter page.  For the latest DFW information you can visit the National Weather Service Fort Worth Facebook page or your favorite local news source.

For information about the City’s emergency management operations and ideas about getting informed and getting prepared for hazards that could affect our community, visit CityofSouthlake.com.

 

Southlake Fire Department is Awarded Emergency Management Performance Grant

For the second year in a row, the Southlake Fire Department has received an Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This year’s grant, worth nearly thirty-six thousand dollars, will greatly assist the department’s emergency preparedness efforts.

The performance grant is awarded to agencies that adhere to a strict set of criterion. It also helps state and local agencies maintain a comprehensive emergency preparedness system, which plays a vital role in national preparedness.

Eligibility requirements for the grant are:

  • Conducting three exercises per year including; at least one exercise that involves staff members working through an emergency scenario
  • Conduct public outreach to a large portion of the City of Southlake
  • Meet certain professional development and training standards
  • Participate in three joint exercises per year involving other organizations. For example: Carroll ISD or Gateway Church
  • Produce financial, progress, and quarterly reports

In 2015, The Southlake Fire Department applied for the performance grant and was awarded $28,622. This year, the grant awarded was $35,977. Fire Chief Mike Starr says, “This grant money allows us the opportunity to be cost effective while enhancing programs in fire services and emergency management.”

A portion of the grant money has been used to hire a part-time planner and assistant for emergency management operations. “This person plays a key role in increasing the level of service we offer to the public and the City which is one of our top priorities,” adds Chief Starr.

If you would like more information or have questions, please contact our Emergency Management Coordinator Ben Williamson at bwilliamson@ci.southlake.tx.us.

 

 

Southlake Responds to Mosquito Virus Threat

Tarrant County Public Health has recommended that the City of Southlake activate our Mosquito Response Plan after receiving news of a suspected case of a mosquito-borne disease in a Southlake resident, in addition to finding an abundance of mosquitoes that transmit this virus.

“We were informed that a Southlake resident has traveled to a country that has active cases of Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya, and we have been working with Tarrant County Public Health to determine the best course of action,” said Environmental Coordinator Christi Upton.

MSNMosquito

Southlake’s Response

In accordance with the City’s Mosquito Response Plan, the City intends to spray within a 200-meter radius of the affected areas in the southern part of the City. Per the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and to protect the privacy of our residents, Southlake is unable to provide any additional details on the location.

Different mosquito species carry different diseases and have different characteristics. The mosquito that carries the Zika and Chikungunya viruses has a short flight range and is typically a day-biter. Because of the mosquito’s short flight range, the City will perform targeted spraying in the immediate vicinity of the suspected case.

How you can Protect Yourself

Personal protection is the first defense in protecting against the spread of all mosquito borne viruses. The community is encouraged to take action to prevent mosquito bites in the following ways:

  • The best way to prevent bites is to prevent mosquito breeding by eliminating standing water.
    • Mosquitoes prefer container water such as flower pots, bird baths, buckets, French drains, gutters, and water storage containers.
    • Eliminate these sources or vigilantly dump possible sources.
    • Where dumping or eliminating the water is not possible consider treating the water with mosquito dunks which are available at most home improvement stores.
  • Consistently wear insect repellant with DEET.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants.
  • If you are pregnant or concerned about becoming pregnant, please consult your primary healthcare physician for your unique situation.

Additional Information and Questions

For questions about the Zika virus, please call the Tarrant County Public Health Zika hotline at 817-248-6299.

For more information on what Southlake is doing in the area of mosquito surveillance and control, please visit our dedicated mosquito response pages at: CityofSouthlake.com/MosquitoResponse

Flood waters cause road closures affecting Grapevine, Flower Mound & Southlake

Tropical Depression Bill is gone, but the rain it left behind is causing new road closures in Grapevine, Flower Mound and Southlake.

The map below shows the areas closed by the City of Grapevine and the City of Southlake as a result of the rising waters of Lake Grapevine.  It includes White Chapel Boulevard and Dove Road which were closed in May, as well as North Kimball Road which was closed on Thursday (6/18) because of the most recent storm.  The Kimball Road closure is from Trail Lake to Roaring Springs, the alternate route in the area is Silver Crest.  The roads are closed until further notice, drivers are encouraged to follow slow down and follow detour signs.

road closure

Orange lines represent barricaded roads in Grapevine and Southlake. Black horizontal line represents the Tarrant – Denton county line. The roads are closed until further notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southlake has also closed all of its horse trails to equestrian, foot and bicycle traffic.  They are underwater.  This includes the trails behind the Day Camp. All users are encouraged to obey the signs and stay out of the area until the water receded.

Southlake residents and workers should also be aware of the complete closure of FM 2499 in Grapevine and Flower Mound.  FM 2499’s north and southbound lanes are now closed from Gerault Road to Grapevine Mills Parkway.

2499 closure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Southlake Office of Emergency Management encourages everyone to stay informed about this changing situations.  Drivers are urged to utilize smart-phone driving applications, especially if you need to be in this area.  Below are links for regional City information sources for more localized information.

 

 

More Winter Weather on the Way

Snow and ice cover Southlake streets.

Snow and ice cover Southlake streets.

UPDATE 3/5 12:30 p.m. The Planning and Zoning meeting will take place tonight as scheduled.  The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Council chamber.  Here is the link to the agenda: http://bit.ly/1EQTvob

UPDATE: 3/5 11:30 a.m. The roads are slowly improving as the temperature rises and the snow melts.  Southlake DPS advises drivers to be cautious especially in shady areas.  All City of Southlake offices will open at noon.

UPDATE 3/5 6:55 a.m. Southlake sand trucks are coating the streets, bridges and overpasses.  If you are outside, please give the trucks plenty room so that workers can safely do their jobs.

UPDATE 3/5 6:15 a.m.  Because of inclement weather, the City of Southlake offices will open at noon today.  Southlake DPS advises that the roads are packed with snow and ice.  They ask drivers to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

Republic Services has advised the City that all collection activities for today, 3/5, are canceled.  Services for commercial businesses will resume tomorrow (3/6) and residential services will resume on the next scheduled collection day.

UPDATE 10:05 p.m.  City of Southlake sand trucks are on the streets sanding bridges and overpasses.  Reports from the road crews say driving conditions are deteriorating quickly.  Drivers are urged to stay off the roads.

UPDATE 9:05 p.m. The bridges are starting to become icy especially over bridges and overpasses.  TxDOT has been notified.  Watch for more updates as the weather and travel conditions change throughout the night and into the morning drive time.

UPDATE 6:20 p.m. Republic Services has notified the City that crews will be delayed Thursday, 3/5 due to weather.  Republic’s plan is to start commercial collection at 9:00 a.m. and residential collection at 10:00 a.m.  Republic will be re-assessing the roads in the morning to see if further changes are required.

Another round of winter weather is eminent. At this time we are expecting winter weather to begin impacting the Southlake area after 6 p.m. At least one to three inches of sleet or snow is expected with most of the accumulation is expected overnight. Please be careful if you need to travel this evening, but especially during the morning commute when road conditions are expected to be icy.

The City of Southlake has received the following forecast from the National Weather Service. Please keep in mind that this forecast is for North and Central Texas.

Winter precipitation and travel impacts are likely across North and Central Texas late this afternoon, tonight, and especially Thursday morning. Sleet and snow will be the primary precipitation type, with some areas of freezing rain occurring as well.

  • Confidence on exact amounts/impacts is increasing as the system gets closer and closer to the area.
  • Precipitation expected in three main waves
  • Rain continues for all of the area through the afternoon.
  • Wintry mix moves from the northwest to the southeast this afternoon and tonight
  • One last band of enhanced sleet or snow during the evening/overnight hours
  • There will likely be a narrow band tonight where some locations receive multiple inches of sleet.
  • There is low confidence in forecasting the exact location of this band
  • Actual front is in the area now. Temperatures will begin to fall below 32 degrees throughout the afternoon (see next slide for timing). Winds will be strong, from the north at over 20 mph.
  • The greatest travel impacts from this event will likely occur during the morning hours on Thursday

As cold air continues to surge southward Wednesday, rain will mix with and change to sleet from northwest to southeast: 

  • Northwestern counties between Noon and 4 pm Wednesday
  • DFW Metroplex & I-20 to I-30 corridor between 4 pm and 8 pm;
  • Waco/Temple/Killeen & much of Central Texas, south of I-20, between 8pm and 2 am

For the most up to date information on the weather, please visit the National Weather Service Fort Worth/Dallas

Reports indicate Southlake may have received up to five inches of snow.

Reports indicate Southlake may have received up to five inches of snow.

Meet Southlake's New Emergency Management Coordinator

benMeet Ben Williamson our new Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Southlake and the Departments of Public Safety. Ben is a native of Texas, growing up in Mesquite and currently residing in McKinney but that’s all about to change. Ben says, “My wife Sheila and I are excited to make Southlake and the surrounding area our home.  I did a lot of research and I am really impressed by what the City of Southlake has to offer.”  Ben has five years of emergency management experience on the local level. Prior to coming to Southlake he served as the Senior Emergency Management Specialist for the City of Garland. Fire Chief Mike Starr says, “We feel fortunate to have someone of Ben’s caliber on our team. We had over 300 applicants and Ben really stood out. We were very impressed with his experience in emergency management as well as being very knowledgeable with data and how to best interpret it to meet our goals and initiatives.”

Ben says he is a perpetual student and loves to learn. He received his Bachelor of Science in Emergency Administration and Planning from the University of North Texas and is currently finishing the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Texas at Arlington. He also carries multiple certifications including Certified Emergency Manager, Certified Texas Emergency Manager, and Project Management Professional. Ben is dedicated to public service adding that, “I find joy in serving my community as both a professional and a volunteer.”  As Southlake’s Emergency Management Coordinator, he will work to reduce the City’s vulnerability to disasters through mitigation and preparedness activities including planning, training and training exercises. “Through these actions, I will ensure Southlake is a resilient community that is prepared to respond to and recover from any disaster in a manner that is as effective as possible,” said Ben.      

Ben takes advantage of his spare time spending it with his family. His wife Sheila and two children, a six-year-old boy named Hayden and a six-month-old daughter named Josephine (Josie). He also likes spending time outdoors whenever he can and volunteers when time permits. His most recent volunteer activity included tutoring elementary students during his lunch breaks each week.

Ben has officially been with the City of Southlake for about two weeks and has hit the ground running. He says, “I can already tell this is an amazing opportunity and I look forward to being here for the long term.  Every day I meet new City employees and they are helpful and supportive as I get acclimated to the City and learning the Southlake way. The residents have been amazing to work with and I have already had the opportunity to meet many of the volunteers that donate their time, talents, and resources to Southlake.”

Welcome aboard Ben!