The Commerce Journal

Local News

February 23, 2013

Hill: ‘Emergency management starts with the individual’

COMMERCE — Editor’s note: this is part two in a three part series on the Commerce Emergency Operations Center.

Sixty-five people died last year in tornado or other severe weather-related emergencies in Texas.

The Commerce Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is able to warn citizens before an emergency occurs, keeping many citizens from becoming another statistic.

Including an outdoor warning system, the EOC has an IRIS phone notification system, cable override system and Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep citizens up to date on any emergency in Commerce and Hunt County.

But, according to Richard Hill, director of Homeland Security for Hunt County, emergency preparedness begins at home.

“Emergency management starts with the individual,” he said, adding that individuals and families should begin by asking themselves “Do we have flashlights, a radio, water, food?”

Having a family management plan and knowing what to do in the case of a weather emergency is key to keeping safe, Chris Vaughan, emergency management coordinator for Commerce, said.

Vaughan and Josh Cato, assistant emergency management coordinator, help run the IRIS alert system, which sends text or voice alerts up to three different phone numbers and two different email addresses an individual may have.

More than 3,000 people have signed up for the system so far.

“We use it for City Hall closings or, if there’s something that we need to inform everyone in Commerce about, we use that system,” he said. “We can get a message out to everyone in five minutes.”

Even with IRIS and the other alert systems the city has, Vaughan echoed Hill’s sentiment about individual preparedness.

“Always be aware of your surroundings, so that if something does happen, you have an idea of what to do,” he said.

The Red Cross and National Weather Service have family and weather related emergency plans. Vaughan said every family should read those to be prepared for an emergency.

Currently, Cato is working on a website where any citizen can update their information to ensure they will be warned by the IRIS alert system in an emergency.

To register for the IRIS alert system, visit tinyurl.com/irisinfo

1
Text Only
Local News
Featured Ads

Poll

How many games do you think the Lions will win in 2014?

7-9 wins
4-6 wins
1-3 wins
     View Results
Must Read
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide