Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management

Emergency management has five phases including mitigation/prevention of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters.  Disasters can be anything from severe weather and tornadoes, to wildfires, hazardous materials incidents, winter weather, flooding and more!  Response to an emergency management incident is typically coordinated from an emergency operations center or EOC.  The best way to describe what we do is in our title as “Coordinators”.  We help coordinate information, resources, and situational awareness.  We work with all city and county departments and other organizations throughout our community to ensure whole community commitment to emergency management.

Our emergency management program is “interjurisdictional” in that we cover the City of Amarillo, as well as Potter and Randall counties.  Our “all-hazards plan” ensures the readiness of our community to respond to all hazards that may occur in the Panhandle.  We also encourage that individuals, families, and businesses make sure they are prepared for any hazard as well, as this is a critical element of any emergency program.  You can find more information on preparedness throughout our website and at

Texas Panhandle Winter Weather Awareness Week – November 16-20

The Texas Panhandle region is prone to winter weather impacts.  Amarillo receives an average of 17.9 inches of snow annually during winter months.  In addition, the Texas Panhandle can experience extreme cold temperatures, especially associated with the passage of cold fronts that move through the region from the northern Rocky Mountains and Plains states.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently issued the U.S. Winter Outlook that indicates a cooler and wetter winter across the southern U.S. due to a strong El Niño phenomenon in the Tropical Pacific.  While this is simply an indication of what winter may hold, it serves as a reminder of the importance of preparing in advance for winter weather.

The Office of Emergency Management has prepared a series of winter weather preparedness bulletins to outline winter preparedness actions.  Whether you live in the Amarillo area or are simply travelling through the region, resolve to be ready: Be Informed; Make a Plan; Build a Kit; and Get Involved!

National Preparedness Month & Texas Preparedness Month – Week 4

September is National Preparedness Month and Texas Preparedness Month.  Make sure to develop a disaster supply kit, create a family communications plan, and make sure your home is prepared!

Week 4: – Power Outages

Power outages are a common occurrence during disasters, but are not limited to emergency events. Times of peak high energy demands, such as grueling hot summer months, can lead to rolling outages and black outs. Learn more below about the steps you can take to help conserve energy and stay safe when outages occur.

Power Outage Safety Tips

Even with conservation efforts, power outages are still possible during emergency events. recommends the following steps to prepare for a power outage:

  • Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer if there’s room. Leave about an inch of space inside each one, because water expands as it freezes. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary power outage, by displacing air that can warm up quickly with water or ice that keeps cold for several hours without additional refrigeration.
  • Keep your car tank at least half-full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
  • Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.
  • Use only flashlights for emergency lighting. NEVER use candles during a power outage or power outage due to extreme risk of fire.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics in use when the power went out.
  • Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
  • Listen to local radio and to a battery- or generator-powered television for updated information.
  • Leave on one light so that you’ll know when your power returns.
  • Use the phone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.
  • Do not call 9-1-1 for information—call only to report a life-threatening emergency. Use the phone for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion.
  • Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and elevators may not work during a power outage.

Go to and to learn more!

National Preparedness Month & Texas Preparedness Month – Week 3

September is National Preparedness Month and Texas Preparedness Month.  Make sure to develop a disaster supply kit, create a family communications plan, and make sure your home is prepared!

Week 3: – Tornadoes

A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour. Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide & 50 miles long. Some tornadoes are clearly visible, while rain or nearby low-hanging clouds obscure others. Occasionally, tornadoes develop so rapidly that little, if any, advance warning is possible. The Amarillo area is on the western edge of “tornado alley”, so tornadoes are very much a threat to our community.

Things to do before a tornado occurs:

Designate an area in your home to act as a shelter. A basement or storm cellar is safest location, otherwise the most interior room on the ground floor is the best option. Put as many walls between you & the outside of your house as you can. A closet, bathroom, or pantry is usually a good option.

  • If away from home, look for a designated shelter area in places like schools & shopping centers.
  • Stay away from doors, windows, & glass.
  • The Amarillo / Potter / Randall Office of Emergency Management maintains 90 outdoor warning sirens. If you hear the sirens sound, go indoors & turn on your TV or radio to find out what is occurring. DO NOT GO OUTSIDE. 
  • If you are in a vehicle & unable to get home or to a designated shelter location, Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Put the seat belt on & cover your head with your arms & a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities & injuries.

Go to and to learn more!