The Moore American

Local News

May 14, 2013

Technology speeds disaster alerts, response

(Continued)

MOORE —

But Brian M. Brooks calls the web software “a godsend.” The city manager in Forney, Texas, Brooks used recovers.org when a tornado outbreak destroyed about 20 houses, a business and a school in his East Texas community on April 3, 2012. Coordinating with Community Life Church, the city set up a registry of people who needed help and people willing to volunteer goods or services. Cooper Taylor, the church’s mission director, said the website greatly reduced unwanted donations and storage problems.

Recovers.org is one example of technology pushing preparedness and recovery into the hands of communities and individuals. Even small towns now use established databases and GPS mapping tools to do things like track private storm shelters.

Communities can respond to disasters differently, too. The same GPS technology can be used to plot downed trees. At least one company sells a system that tags trees and other debris with bar codes to ensure haulers don’t overcharge local governments and FEMA.

Specific technologies don’t always succeed, of course. “The challenge with any software is the plan is only as good as people’s buy-in and people’s knowledge of how to implement it,” said Andrew Sachs, vice president of government services at Witt O’Brien’s, a consulting firm that specializes in public safety and crisis management.

But some technology only needs to spread to be effective. That’s certainly true for storm warnings, which now reach individual pockets and purses.

Since April 2012, the National Weather Service has been able to send alerts about weather emergencies to people with newer smart phones. (About 55 percent of Americans have smartphones, according to ComScore.) Messages can also be sent for local emergencies, AMBER alerts and presidential alerts during national emergencies.

Smartphone alerts are geographically tailored. The weather service also has devised a “polygon” warning system, tied to cell towers, to make warnings for things like tornados, floods and severe weather more specific than the old, county-based system.

Text Only
Local News
  • Heathplex Healthplex, EMSStat recognized

    Norman Regional Health System’s Healthplex and EMSStat teams were recognized Thursday by the American Heart Association, receiving a Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS opens lecture series

    People leaving incarceration face a variety of challenges even without a diagnosis of mental illness. But for those who face mental

    July 23, 2014

  • ‘Magic Kids’ get royal treatment

    A Moore elementary student is among three metro children honored by Oklahoma City radio station, KMGL-FM, as “Magic Kids” for their outstanding contributions to their families, schools and local communities.

    July 23, 2014

  • Toothpick holders’ convention coming

    Lynne Ryan has been collecting toothpick holders her entire life. “My parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. ‘Bud’ Gibbs started our collectio

    July 23, 2014

  • Gang member charged in shooting

    An Oklahoma City man police identified as a gang member was charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon Thursday after sh

    July 23, 2014

  • Angels protect us

    A co-worker unpacked a box of copy machine paper from a cardboard box and got a nasty paper cut. Because the source was cardboard, it was deeper than most and the bleeding was difficult to stop.

    July 23, 2014

  • Southmoore student wins gold at National FCCLA

    More than 7,000 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America members, advisers, alumni, and guests from across the country recen

    July 23, 2014

  • Sculpture brings tornado-torn community back together

    After the May 20 tornado tore through Moore in 2013, hundreds of families were left to pick up the pieces. And it was in these old, shattered pieces of people’s homes and scattered debris that two local artists found something new.

    July 22, 2014

  • Panel explains forced labor system

    Many topics were discussed over the course of three days during the 2014 Oklahoma Judicial Conference, but one of the newest issues

    July 22, 2014

  • Moore shut out of prevention aid

    As a massive tornado bore down on Moore on the afternoon of May 20, 2013, residents scrambled to find shelter. Some retreated to safe rooms at home or in buildings. Many hid in closets, bathrooms or hallways.

    July 22, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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