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 www.ready.gov.
National Preparedness Month & Texas Preparedness Month – Week 1
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 1: Flood Safety – Flash flooding is the number one weather-related killer in Texas. More than 50 percent of all flash flood fatalities nationwide involve vehicles. Saving your life can be as easy as turning your car around when you see water on the road. Never attempt to drive through flooded roadways – Turn Around Don’t Drown (TADD)!
- It takes only two feet of water to float a 3,000-pound car.
- In rainy weather, be alert and stay tuned to local radio or TV.
- If you are in a low-lying area when flooding is occurring, get to higher ground quickly.
- Do not attempt to cross-flooded roads or streams on foot. It can take as little as six inches of water to knock an adult off his or her feet.
- Never allow children to play near ditches and storm drains.
- During stormy weather, do not camp or park vehicles along streams or washes.
- Flooded roads are especially dangerous at night. Saving your life – and preserving your vehicle – can be as simple as choosing a different route when you see water across a roadway.
Go to www.ready.gov/september and oem.amarillo.gov to learn more!
Local Flood Preparedness
The Texas Panhandle has experienced record rain fall totals through the first half of 2015. While the rain has brought much needed relief from the historic drought, it has also overwhelmed area playa lakes. Within the City of Amarillo, the playa lakes play an important role in flood management with pumps located at some of the 63 playa lakes within the City to assist with controlling lake levels.
The recent record rains have inundated the local playa lakes causing flooding issues at some area playa lakes. When additional rain occurs, this issue increases the hazard of street flooding. It is important that if you encounter a flooded roadway, Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
Wildfire Preparedness Tips
Dry conditions throughout this area have once again created the risk for wildfires. Careless use of fire can dramatically increase the chance of a wildfire, which can quickly spread across dry vegetation and threaten homes and businesses that are in the vicinity.
Wildfires often begin unnoticed and spread quickly. Every second counts! Reduce your risk by preparing now. Talk with members of your household about wildfires, how to prevent them, and what to do if one occurs.
Help prevent wildfires and be ready in case one does occur near you. The following are some things you can do to prepare for a wildfire:
- Build an emergency kit and make a family communication plan. Post fire and other emergency telephone numbers.
- Remove any debris, dead shrubs or bushes form around your home.
- Keep yards cut short.
- Clean rain gutters and remove any debris from your roof.
- Clear items which could burn from around the house. Wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc should be moved outside of your defensible space.
- Be sure that large fire vehicles can access your home and clearly mark all driveways with your address.
- Report hazardous conditions that could cause a wildfire.
- Teach children about fire safety.
- Plan escape routes in a car and on foot.
- Know your neighbors, their skills, and what their plans will be when danger is imminent.
- Always obey the law and check for local burn bans before setting a fire.
- Know what to do with any animals on the property and how you will rescue them quickly.
Some good resources for more information: