Search & rescue teams to arrive early Tuesday morning
AUSTIN – Texas Task Force 1, the state’s elite search and rescue team, was activated this evening to assist local officials and first responders in Oklahoma following today’s tornado outbreak.
An 84-member Type 1 Urban Search and Rescue team, including 70 first responders who specialize in victim extraction and medical treatment will deploy immediately. The team also includes search and rescue K-9s, physicians and paramedics, as well as hazardous material specialists, communications specialists and structural engineers.
Texas Task Force 1 is a 600-member force that is nationally recognized for its unique search, rescue and recovery capabilities. It was deployed to New York City following the terrorist attack on 9/11, and to New Orleans following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina and, most recently, to West, TX.
Gov. Perry released the following statement earlier today regarding the Oklahoma tornadoes: http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/18540/
For Immediate Distribution: May 21, 2013
Gov. Perry Activates State Operations Center
Severe weather expected throughout North and Central Texas
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today ordered a Level II Activation of the State Operations Center (SOC) as another line of severe thunderstorms makes its way across North and Central Texas this afternoon. “The most important thing Texans in the path of these storms should do is remain aware of their surroundings, heed the warnings of local officials and be prepared to shelter in place if necessary,” Gov. Perry said.
Level II indicates a partial activation of the full Emergency Management Council. The following entities have been called to the SOC:
* Texas Military Forces
* Texas Parks & Wildlife
* Texas Department of Transportation
* Communication Coordination Group
* Dept. of State Health Services
* Mass Care
* American Red Cross
* Salvation Army
* Texas Comptroller’s Office (TPASS)
* Texas Dept. of Public Safety
* Texas Task Force – 1
* Texas Forest Service
* Texas Animal Health Commission
* Public Utility Commission (w/ ERCOT)
* Health and Human Service Comm.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a line of super cell storms developing over the area between the Red River and the Hill Country early this afternoon, and sweeping east across the state over the next 12 hours. These storms have to potential to create heavy rain, large hail and damaging winds, including tornadic activity.
Tornadoes can strike instantly and without much warning. The governor encourages everyone to remain aware of their surroundings, heed warnings from local officials, and be prepared to shelter in place if necessary. Below are some basic tornado safety tips that will help you find the most ideal location to shelter during a storm:
* Retreat to the lowest possible level of a building or structure, such as the first floor, basement or storm cellar
* Find an interior room with no windows, such as a closet or bathroom
* Get underneath sturdy piece of furniture and cover neck and head
* Avoid areas with wide-span roofs, such as cafeterias, gymnasiums and shopping malls
* Mobile homes are not safe shelters; you should make plans before the storm arrives to get to a pre-planned shelter
* Apartment dwellers should have a plan in place to get to an apartment on the lowest level of the complex. * Contact your leasing office.
* Do not attempt to outrun a tornado in your automobile, seek shelter inside a nearby building.
* If stranded outside, lie down in a ditch or low lying area away from the vehicle, but remain aware of possible flash flooding
* Do not seek shelter underneath a bridge or overpass
NOAA predicts active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season: Texans can Prepare
In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued May 23, 2013, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year. For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA’s Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. Link to full article:
Preparedness Materials and Videos:
Texas Prepares: Surviving Hurricanes: http://youtu.be/SN3x-0enDy0 (Captioned YouTube Video)
Video American Sign Language: Surviving Hurricanes: http://youtu.be/H9FTTIcRGvY
Texas Department of Transportation Evacuation Routes http://www.txdot.gov/driver/weather/hurricane.html
Plans and Checklists http://www.texasprepares.org/English/Resources.htm#checklist (English and Spanish)
Emergency Document Bag: http://www.texasprepares.org/English/emergency_docs.shtml (English and Spanish)
Emergency Preparedness Resources for People with Disabilities http://www.dars.state.tx.us/announcements/20130521.shtml
Texas Division of Emergency Management Hurricane Preparedness http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/ThreatAwareness/weather_aware_hurricane.htm
Plannng for Pets: http://www.spca.org/page.aspx?pid=423
Helping Children Cope with Disasters: Observed or Experienced Disasters.
Disasters can leave children feeling frightened, confused and insecure. Whether a child has personally experienced trauma, or has seen the event on television or has heard it discussed by adults, it is important for parents and teachers to be informed and ready to help if reactions to stress begin to occur.
Here are some suggestions to help reassure children:
* Provide factual information about the recent disaster and current plans for insuring their safety along with recovery plans;
* Encourage your children to talk about their feelings;
* Re-establish your daily routine for work, school, play, meals and rest;
* Involve your children by giving them specific chores to help them feel they are helping to restore family and community life; and
* Praise and recognize responsible behavior.
Senior Citizens applying for federal disaster assistance in West will not cause them to lose any Social Security benefits
Release date: May 15, 2013 Release Number: FEMA-3363-EM-TX NR009
AUSTIN, Texas – Senior citizens who sustained losses from the recent fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas needn’t worry that applying for federal disaster assistance will cause them to sacrifice their Social Security benefits, pay more taxes or give up income-based benefit programs. A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not add to a senior’s taxable income as long as the grant is to help recovery from a disaster like the plant explosion.
“We want to reassure seniors not to be afraid to apply for assistance. FEMA assistance is available to all eligible survivors to include senior citizens,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes. “Receiving disaster funds will not impact non-FEMA assistance or assistance from other programs.” Applying for assistance also does not affect a person’s eligibility for Medicaid, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, supplemental nutrition assistance or other federal programs.
“Seniors need to register with FEMA to be considered for eligibility,” Hannes said. “Even if they have registered with their city or a local organization, they still need to register with FEMA.”
Seniors and other survivors who live in McLennan County can register online with FEMA at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or via smartphone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. For 711 Relay or Video Relay Services, call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Survivors also may visit the Disaster Recovery Center to speak directly with FEMA specialists who can answer questions. The center is located at the POINTWEST Bank at 210 N. Roberts Rd in West, Texas. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until further notice.
Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster. Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses of any size and private, nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955, e-mailing [email protected] or visiting SBA’s Web site at http://www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. Follow us on Twitter at http://www.fema.gov/redirect?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.twitter.com%2Ffemaregion6, and our FEMA Region 6 website at http://www.fema.gov/region-vi/region-6-preparedness.
SBA is the federal government’s primary source of funding for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).
Oklahoma Tornado Resources for Information
Red Cross Safe and Well: After a disaster, letting your family and friends know that you are safe and well can bring your loved ones great peace of mind. This website is designed to help make that communication easier. https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php
The following Twitter Hashtags are related to the Moore, Oklahoma Tornado