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News Release  
CITY OF BLACKWELL, OKLAHOMA

News Release
Code Enforcement
Jim Inmon
Emergency Management Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 31, 2011

With spring upon us, preparations are underway by the city for another season of severe weather. Starting on March 3rd, weekly testing of the storm sirens began and will continue each Thursday at noon through the month of June. Testing will only be done when weather conditions are clear. All of our storm sirens are functioning properly. Currently the city has thirteen sirens in operation.  Each year our Emergency Management Department receives grant money from State Emergency Management to be used for different projects associated with emergency management. Last fall this funding was used to purchase two new sirens for areas of town which needed extra coverage. One of these has been installed in Trapp Park and the other is in the process of being installed at 44th St. and Hiway 11.

During severe weather our Emergency Management staff is operated by three city employees along with eight volunteer storm spotters, all of which receive training each year from the National Weather Service. Additionally, three staff member and two volunteers have been certified by “OK First”. “OK First” is a weeklong training course held at the National Weather Service in Norman and teaches  interpretations and what to look for on weather radars.

The city will use the following process during an actual severe weather event. When the National Weather Service issues a Tornado Warning that includes the City of Blackwell the storm sirens will be sounded at that time. Should a warning be issued that does not necessarily include Blackwell, but is in close proximity, the decision to include the city will be made at the local level.

 In past years the warning signal has been a solid tone which lasts for three minutes. Starting this year we will be using a variable tone sound. This tone is easier for the public to hear because more of the sirens can be heard at the same time. All of our storm sirens are designed and installed as outdoor warning devises. No all clear will be sounded. Anytime the sirens are sounded that means inclement weather is imminent and people should take cover.

For citizens that need a place to go during severe weather there are four public shelters located throughout the city. Washington School, Parkside School, Huston School and the Middle School all have shelters. The entrance to the shelter at the Middle School should be made through the gym doors located at the southwest corner of the building. When severe weather is expected these shelters are opened well before any storm may reach the city so the public has plenty of time to go, if they chose to do so.

For those who are at home or on the road during severe weather we would like to recommend the purchase of an inexpensive weather radio. These radios may be brought to the Emergency Management office located in city hall and we will be program them free of charge. The city is also offering a free service to our citizens which can be utilized through cell phones or computers. This service is called NIXLE. Subscribers to this service not only receive weather advisories for our community but other information such as amber alerts and other community information. To subscribe to this free service go to www.nixle.com. You can also download Nixle to your iphone by going to the App Store.

This weekend Emergency Management will participate in State Emergency Managements McReady Program. This program is sponsored by several corporations across the state to promote severe weather safety.  We will, during this event, have personnel available to program weather radios for anyone needing this service. This will be located at the fairgrounds at the north end of the midway.

Jim Inmon
Emergency Management Director
City of Blackwell

 

Emergency Management Office
221 W. Blackwell
Blackwell, OK 74631

Jim Inmon, Emergency Management Director

Administration:  580 363-0300
Fax:  580 363-0324

   

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