Lightning Awareness Week June 24 – June 30, 2018

LIGHTNING AWARENESS WEEK JUNE 24 – 30

Protect Your Home and Family

This week, June 24 – June 30, is Lightning Awareness Week!  Lightning is the third greatest storm-related killer in the United States and causes nearly $1 billion in damages each year.  Over the past 10 years, lightning has directly killed an average of 30 people per year in the U.S. and indirectly killed about a dozen more due to fires caused by lightning.

The best way for you to protect yourself from lightning is to avoid the threat. You simply don’t want to be caught outside in a storm. Have a lightning safety plan, and cancel or postpone activities early if thunderstorms are expected. Monitor weather conditions and get to a safe place before the weather becomes threatening. Substantial buildings and hard-topped vehicles are safe options. Rain shelters, small sheds, and open vehicles are not safe.

The possibility that someone will be struck by lightning depends on their behavior when thunderstorms are in the area.  According to the National Weather Service, the threat of lightning increases as a thunderstorm approaches, reaches a peak when the storm is overhead, and then gradually diminishes as the storm moves away. At the same time, it’s people’s behavior that determines the risk of a fatal lightning strike. While some people move inside at the first signs of a thunderstorm, many people wait far too long to get to a safe place. Some wait until the thunderstorm is overhead and it starts to rain. Others, due to poor planning, are caught outside and can’t get to a safe place. Although most people get inside, some put themselves at risk by touching items that could become electrified by a nearby lightning strike. Finally, many people go outside too soon after the storm has seemingly passed, often only waiting for the rain to become lighter or end. It is all of these unsafe behaviors that put people at risk when thunderstorm are in the area.

To minimize your personal risk of being struck by lightning, when going outside, plan ahead so that you can get to a safe place quickly if a thunderstorm threatens. If the sky looks threatening or if you hear thunder, get inside a safe place immediately. Once inside, avoid contact with corded phones, electrical equipment, plumbing, and windows and doors. Finally, wait 30 minutes after the last lightning or thunder before going back outside. If everyone followed those simple rules, the number of lightning casualties in this country could be greatly reduced.

As always, Elmore County EMA encourages everyone to prepare and be weather aware!!  And remember……When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!!

 

 

 

See something, Say something!

From the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security

It Takes a Community to Protect a Community

“If You See Something, Say Something™” is a national campaign that raises public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, as well as the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement.

Informed, alert communities play a critical role in keeping our nation safe. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to strengthening hometown security by creating partnerships with state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments and the private sector, as well as the communities they serve. These partners help us reach the public across the nation by displaying the campaign’s messages and distributing outreach materials, including Public Service Announcements (PSAs).

We can all help keep our communities safe by paying attention to our surroundings and reporting suspicious activity to local law enforcement.

Flood and Flash Flood Safety!…..

Elmore County EMA wants you to remember Safety when dealing with Flash Flooding

Flash floods occur suddenly and usually within hours of excessive localized heavy rainfall. Flash floods can become raging torrents, ripping through neighborhoods, streets or valleys, destroying whatever is in their path.

Flood Watch
When conditions look favorable for flash flooding, the National Weather Service will issue a Flood Watch, highlighting flash flood potential in and around the specified area. A Watch usually encompasses several counties. This is the time to start thinking about your plan of action if water begins to rise or a flash flood warning is issued.

Flash Flood Warning
issued for a smaller, more specific area. This is when you must act quickly as flash floods are an imminent threat to you and your family. You may only have seconds to move to higher ground.

Flood and Flash Flood Safety Rules:

Heavy rain should be a signal to alerting you to the possibility of dangerous flood conditions.

During periods of heavy rains, stay away from flood prone areas such as stream beds, drainage ditches and culverts.

Move to higher ground if flooding threatens your area.

If you live or work in flood prone areas, remain alert during periods of heavy rain.

Be especially cautious at night as it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

Never drive your car into water of unknown depth. Most flash flood deaths occur when people drive their vehicles into flood waters. Remember: Turn Around Don’t Drown!!

If your vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. Flood water may rise quickly, cover the vehicle and sweep it away.

Stay out of flooded areas. The water may still be rising and very swift. A rapidly flowing stream can sweep you off your feet and sweep your vehicle downstream.

Children are especially vulnerable and should not be allowed to play in or around flowing water.

Water can run off streets and parking lots rapidly, causing natural and man-made drainage systems to overflow with flood waters.

Flood waters can hide rocks, trees, trash and other debris that can be dangerous to someone in their path.

Water is a very powerful force and should NEVER be underestimated.

Additional Information

Turn Around, Don’t Drown Campaign

NOAA Weather Radio Day in Millbrook, Thursday, May 17th from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. ~ Walgreens

Elmore County EMA will be participating in the NOAA Weather Radio Day in Millbrook on Thursday, May 17th from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Walgreens store located at 3720 Highway 14.  We will be assisting members of the WSFA-TV weather team and representatives from Midland Radio Corporation with programming NOAA weather radios for anyone who wishes to attend.

Known as The Voice of the National Weather Service (NWS), NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR), provides updated weather information continuously, 24 hours a day, 365-days a year. Watches, warnings, advisories, forecasts, current weather conditions, and climate data are broadcast in three to five minute cycles on NWR stations across the nation. To listen to NWR broadcasts, a special radio capable of receiving signals in the Very High Frequency (VHF) public service radio band is required. Weather radios may be purchased at most electronics stores and online. The NOAA Weather Radio transmitter located in Montgomery, Alabama, serviced by the NWS Birmingham, serves Elmore County. Weather radios with SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) capability may be programmed with just Elmore County’s SAME Code:  001051, to reduce the number of alerts received by the weather radio. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is useful anytime, but it becomes more important during severe weather. During threatening weather, normal broadcasts are interrupted, and the focus is shifted to the local severe weather threat. Watches and Warnings are given the highest priority and are frequently updated.

Be sure to come out and get your weather radio programmed to stay ahead of the storm.  NOAA Weather Radios will be available for purchase at the Walgreens store, along with the batteries you would need to have in case of a power outage.  If you are unable to attend the NOAA Weather Radio Day, feel free to call Elmore County EMA at 334-567-6451 or click this link for more information on how to program your radio at home.

As always, Elmore County EMA encourages you to prepare and be weather aware!

 

Cops and Kids Day in Millbrook ~ Saturday, May 12, 2018

 

This Saturday, May 12, 2018, is Cops and Kids day in Millbrook.  This annual event, hosted by the Millbrook Police Department, will be held at Village Green Park from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  This event is free and will include food, games, bounce houses, and T-shirts.  Demonstrations by the Millbrook Police will include police dog presentations and the departments police cars will be on display, along with Millbrook Fire Department trucks.  This year, four children’s bikes will be given away.  A ticket will be given to each child in attendance, and four winners will be drawn during the day!  Come out and support your local First Responders, and stop by your Elmore County Emergency Management Agency’s display for information on how we can help you become prepared for emergency situations!

Hurricane Preparedness Week May 6th-12, 2018

 

2018 Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 6th – 12th)

Elmore County – Everyone in Alabama needs to be prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms as the season quickly approaches beginning June 1st and lasting through November 30th.

Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Inland areas, well away from the coastline, can experience destructive winds, tornadoes and devastating floods from these tropical systems. Hurricanes are large storm systems that can measure as much as 300 to 500 miles across. In a hurricane, the winds rapidly increase in strength from the weakest on the outer fringes of the storm to the strongest near the eye. Hurricane winds are most intense around the perimeter of the eye, or within the area of the storm called the eye wall. This area is generally from 15 to 20 miles wide and also contains the most intense rainfall. As a hurricane moves inland, away from the coastline, winds begin to rapidly decrease, but may remain above hurricane strength well inland. Wind damage patterns are often very different from storm to storm.

The following graphic shows the potential for the Gulf of Mexico to be a favored region for tropical storm and hurricane development this hurricane season.

According to Alabama Emergency Management Agency Meteorologist, Jim Stefkovich, “In June 2017, Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall on the TX/LA coast, yet was responsible for producing tornadoes as far north as Birmingham.”  He also says, “that other systems over the years have also produced widespread and deadly flash flooding across large portions of the state.”

For residents along the central Gulf coast, the key to protecting yourself and your family is preparation. Main preparations before hurricane season include ensuring that you understand your risk; you have the plans in place to take care of yourself, family, pets and business; have adequate emergency supplies on hand; your insurance is up to date, and that your home and area around your home are in good condition. Special considerations should be taken for young children, the elderly, those with functional needs, and pets.

The National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center have featured different topics each day this week spotlighting how to be prepared for the upcoming Hurricane season. Please find them listed below:

May 6- Know Your Hurricane Risk

Check with local officials to understand your risk.
Search online to find your local emergency management agency to learn more.
Sign up for local alerts or download the FEMA app.

May 7- Know Your Evacuation Zone

Learn your evacuation zone, route, and an alternate location to stay.
Include pets when planning to evacuate.
Practice your plan.

May 8- Assemble Disaster Supplies

Gather needed supplies for at least 10 days.
Don’t forget your specific needs like meds, powered devices, pets etc.
Keep cash in your emergency kit.

May 9- Prepare Financially

Start an emergency savings fund.
Check your insurance coverage to make sure you have enough coverage.
Learn more about flood insurance by visiting: http://www.floodsmart.gov

May 10- Strengthen Your Home

Make sure your home is in good repair and meets local hurricane building codes.
Declutter drains and gutters, trim trees, secure loose outdoor items & secure doors.
Know a safe location to move your car during a hurricane.

May 11- Help Your Neighbors

Get to know your neighbors before an emergency strikes.
Make sure they have a plan before and after a hurricane.
Exchange contact information

May 12- Make an Emergency Plan

Write down your hurricane plan & share it.
Make a plan of how you will get in touch with others before, during, and after.
Take photos of important documents and store them in a secure place.

The following link to the National Weather Service give important information for hurricane safety before, during, and after the storm, go to:

http://hurricanes.gov/prepare

As always, Elmore County EMA encourages all citizens to prepare and always be weather aware.

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CONTACT:

Eric Jones, Elmore County EMA

567-6451

 

 

 

Safe driving campaign beginning Thursday, April 19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 18, 2018

 

Safe driving campaign beginning Thursday, April 19

 

WETUMPKA, Ala. – Beginning Thursday, April 19, a safe driving campaign will begin along U.S. Highway 231 beginning at Redland Road to Alabama Highway 14 and on Alabama Highway 14 in front of Wetumpka High School.

 

The family of Austin Augustine, with the support of the Wetumpka High School Theatre Guild and the Elmore County Sheriff’s Department, are pleased to present this safe driving campaign to coincide with the Wetumpka High School Theatre Guild’s spring production of “Footloose”.

 

“The family of Austin Augustine want all to know that we care about your safety. Although we do know speed and lack of seatbelt use were factors, only those involved really know the exact details of the horrific November 23, 2014, Fire Tower Road accident where so many lives were changed forever. Unfortunately, three 16-year-old Wetumpka High School Juniors, including Austin Augustine, and an Elmore County Sheriff’s Deputy died as a result of the wreck. The only survivor of the wreck was wearing a seat belt. Our goal is to turn our hurt into education for others as we encourage drivers to be safe and observe the rules of the road,” said Beverly Eddy, the aunt of Austin Augustine.

 

In “Footloose”, there is a tragic vehicle crash that takes the lives of four people. The campaign is designed to promote safe driving and the production, as well as, teach students and the community the importance of playing their part, not just onstage, but in the world.  The “Footloose” show opens Thursday, April 19 at Wetumpka High School.

 

“Austin was a beloved member of the Wetumpka High Theatre Guild. This tragedy struck just before he was to have his first role onstage with us. What is more enduring than the tragedy of Austin’s death is the brilliance of his life. To be able to bring him with us onstage means so much to me, and to be able to bring a message to help prevent others from enduring a similar tragedy makes this even more important. As the actual father of two teens and a surrogate to dozens more, there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t fear something like this happening again,” said Jeff Glass, Wetumpka High School Theatre Director and Fine Arts Department Chair, Alabama Educational Theatre Association, Secretary.

 

Distracted driving is the leading cause of crashes, a driver that is texting is 23% more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver.  Other distractions include, but are not limited to, eating or drinking, grooming, talking to passengers, and adjusting the radio.

 

Debra Augustine, the mother of Austin Augustine, said, “We are doing this campaign to remind everyone, and especially our young drivers, the importance of safe driving. It is important to our family on a very personal level. We lost our 16 year old son, two of his friends and a deputy sheriff in a horrific accident in November 2014. The only survivor of the wreck was wearing a seat belt. We want to remind everyone that speed kills and seat belts save lives as well as the importance of the graduated driver’s license law. If we had been made more aware of this law we may have had a different outcome that night.”

 

The state of Alabama has a graduated driver’s license that has been in effect since July 2010 according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.  According to the Alabama Graduated Driver License law, 16-year-olds, as well as 17-year-olds that are licensed for less than six months may not:

  • Have more than one non-family passenger,
  • Operate a vehicle between 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. (with some exceptions), or
  • Drive while operating a non-essential handheld communication device.

 

Violations of the graduated law will result in an extension of the graduated license period and possible suspension of the license.

 

As part of the campaign crashed vehicles along with a safe driving message will be placed at five different locations in the community.

 

With safety in mind, motorists are advised not to stop and investigate or take photos.

 

 

# # #

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Brantley Kirk

Alabama Department of Transportation

Southeast Region

334-353-6862 Office

kirkb@dot.state.al.us

 

Beverly Eddy

The Family of Austin Augustine

334-309-6858

beddy@raycommedia.com