Meadville Tribune

May 18, 2013

Communication key in keeping public safe during disaster

By Keith Gushard
CNHI News Service

Monson, Mass. — When bad weather is closing in on Crawford County, communication is key in keeping the public safe, according to Allen Clark, director of Emergency Management for the Crawford County Office of Emergency Services.

Severe weather threats during the spring and summer often are thunderstorms and tornadoes, while snow storms are the winter time threat and flooding can happen year-round.

To get the word out to the public about potential weather emergencies, the Office of Emergency Services relies on area media outlets.

“We have the Emergency Alert System and Armstrong cable, and radio and TV,” Clark said.

The EAS is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable TV systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service providers and direct broadcast satellite providers to provide the communications capability during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information like weather information targeted to specific areas.

“Weather alert radios also are a good idea for homes,” Clark said. Those radios have a frequency band linked to the National Weather Service, which can activate weather warnings when they are issued by the National Weather Service.

“People can get weather information alerts sent to their smart phones with apps (applications) available free of charge,” Allen said.

The county also utilizes emergency sirens at the fire departments around the county to sound warnings during possible tornado activity. A tornado warning tone is a steady tone from an emergency siren for one minute followed by a one minute pause. That is then followed by another steady tone for one minute.



Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.