Sunday, September 26, 2021

How You Can Be Prepared for Emergencies

The City of Southlake is prepared for emergency situations and ready to respond should disaster strike. How can you help? Make sure your family is ready with an emergency kit, a household plan and by staying informed.

Every home should have an emergency kit that includes enough food, water and supplies to last your entire household for 3-7 days. Your kit should also include a flashlight, first aid items, cell phone chargers and prescription medications. You can buy premade kits, however, it is beneficial to create a kit that is personal to your family’s likes and dislikes. Many families have pets. The emergency kit should also take into consideration those needs as many shelters may require your pets to be secured in a kennel or with a leash. It is important to keep your entire emergency kit inside an easy-to-carry container such as a plastic bin or a duffel bag. This allows for quick transport in the event you need to evacuate your home.

Planning for emergencies is also crucial. Each household should have a plan to evacuate their home and to shelter in place. Since disasters are not normally planned, have a meet-up place designated since many times emergencies happen when family members are away from the home, such as at school or work. Also is it recommended that you identify a contact from out-of-state, that each member can check-in with. That way if local communication is down, it is possible that a text may reach someone outside of the affected area. Don’t forget to consider your family’s specific needs like pets as well as how you will communicate and reconnect if separated. Having family photos and pet photos readily available can assist with reunification.

Stay in the know. The City of Southlake Office of Emergency Management recommends all Southlake residents and businesses sign up for Alert Southlake, our free emergency notification system. This tool ensures you receive pertinent emergency notifications based on your preferences of phone call, text message or email so that you and your family can respond quickly.

With your help, we can make sure Southlake is prepared for emergency situations. Learn more about how you can prepare your family for emergencies at www.CityofSouthlake.com/BePrepared. Sign up for Alert Southlake at www.CityofSouthlake.com/AlertSouthlake.

Emergency Disaster Exercises Help Keep Southlake Prepared

Residents of Southlake can rest easy knowing that emergency response personnel with the City of Southlake are continually training to be prepared for any crisis.

On January 23, 2018, Southlake’s Emergency Management Coordinator participated in a hazmat drill with the City of Denton.  The exercise scenario is played out in real time to allow for teams to enhance their training and prepare for a similar incident in their City.

In the exercise, the teams were told that water utility staff discovered a leaking valve while changing over chlorine tanks at the Lake Ray Roberts Water Treatment Plant. The team is charged with immediately implementing on-site emergency procedures and notifying 9-1-1. Public safety personnel respond to secure the area and determine the appropriate response procedures. Water Utility crews provide site specialists, Fire Department Hazmat teams contain the leak, and the Police Department teams provide perimeter security and traffic control, while the Emergency Operations staff assist with support and emergency notifications. All of the teams work together to resolve the crisis. Eric Hutmacher says, “In the event of a real emergency, nearby cities may request mutual aid to assist. This allows agencies to double or triple their resources and manpower to bring an emergency situation under control much faster.”

The City of Southlake participates in multiple emergency disaster drills each year. Hutmacher adds, “The best way to prepare for emergencies is to participate in these exercises.” Hutmacher was also recently selected as the Chair of the North Central Texas EmergencyManagement Committee.

Click here to learn more about Southlake’s Emergency Operations or if you have additional questions, you may contact the Southlake Fire Department at (817) 748-8106.

Southlake Renews StormReady Designation

Storm Ready SignAs the City and the Country enters severe weather season for 2014, all of us have already been reminded that severe weather can strike any place at anytime. To mitigate the impact of severe weather, the City of Southlake has reaffirmed its commitment to being a prepared and resilient community by renewing its status as a StormReady Community.

StormReady is a federal program through the National Weather Service that forms a partnership with local communities. This partnership is the foundation of the StormReady program that ensures not only the City of Southlake is prepared for severe weather, but also that we have worked with the National Weather Service to build a strong partnership. Part of the relationship building process included a tour of the National Weather Service facility in Fort Worth and an invitation to the National Weather Service to view Southlake’s emergency operations center.  In addition to site visits, the National Weather Service will be sharing their expertise on storm spotting with the volunteer groups in Southlake during a special presentation on May 29th.

In order to receive the StormReady designation, the City of Southlake had to meet several requirements that support severe weather preparedness. The National Weather Service reviewed our local warning point function, the emergency operations center, the mechanisms we use to receive severe weather forecasts, the methods we use to alert the public about severe weather, how we provide public outreach to train and prepare for severe weather, and that we account for severe weather in our comprehensive emergency operations plan. 

(Left to right) Ben Williamson, Mark Fox, and Mayor John Terrell at the City Council Meeting on May 6, 2014 when Council formally accepted the StormReady Community renewal.

(Left to right) Ben Williamson, Mark Fox, and Mayor John Terrell at the City Council Meeting on May 6, 2014 when Council formally accepted the StormReady Community renewal.

On Tuesday, May 6th, Mayor John Terrell and the Southlake City Council formally accepted the StormReady Community renewal from Mark Fox, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with National Weather Service. This provided a great opportunity to publicly show the preparedness efforts the City of Southlake maintains for severe weather and the efforts being made to ensure Southlake stays a resilient community.

Should you have any questions about the StormReady designation or if you would like a presentation to a group about personal preparedness, please contact the Southlake Office of Emergency Management at: bwilliamson@ci.southlake.tx.us or 972-781-7273.