WICHITA FALLS - Representatives from several City departments and divisions held an organizational meeting Tuesday to discuss and plan the City's preparations and response to the potential of severe weather hitting north Texas early next week.
"We have a comprehensive plan of action in place to respond with all the tools and crews at our disposal," said Wichita Falls Fire Chief, Earl Foster. "We will have equipment prepositioned, crews on standby, Priority One Zones, roadways, and First Responder travel and response locations pinpointed and designated for service from street crews," said Foster.
Street crews will have 8 chat spreaders, 3 graders, 3 snowplow equipped dump trucks, backhoes and loaders prepared and in place to respond to the road clearing and treatment needs of the City.
The first areas that will receive chat or clearing include:
- fire stations,
- the Police Department,
- ambulance headquarters
- and Central Services.
Crews from the Police and Fire Departments, Public Works, Emergency Preparedness, Public Information and Aviation, Traffic and Transportation all have crews on notice, ready to respond as needed.
"We will do what we can to ensure that our First Responders have the major roadways in our Travel Response Network cleared throughout the City so they can respond as needed," said Foster. "The public can play a significant role in this effort, if the weather is severe and roadways deemed impassable, by staying off the roads and staying home. This is the safest thing they can do for themselves and for the men and women who take great risk at these times to respond to emergencies," said Foster.
City of Wichita Falls Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, John Henderson, will be in constant contact with City, County, State and Federal officials who are prepared to address any emergency needs that may arise due to the anticipated severe weather.
Citizens can and should keep informed of the weather situation and City's response by monitoring the City's website, signing up for FREE weather alerts and City press releases through Notify Me, monitoring the City's Facebook and Twitter, and signing up for FREE weather alerts through the City's Code Red Weather Alert System.
"Citizens have to make preparations, stay informed and respond in the appropriate manner that will keep them, their families and our First Responders safe," said Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, John Henderson. "The City has provided all the tools they'll need to receive the latest information we have and what the City will do or has done to address any number of situations. The bottom line, if the situation is severe, is to be prepared, stay informed, stay off the roads and stay home," said Henderson.
As with any cold weather event citizens are urged to take cold weather precautions including:
- Avoiding travel unless absolutely necessary
- Keeping an up-to-date emergency kit in your vehicle. The kit should include blankets, food and water, a cell phone charger for a vehicle, first aid kit, flashlight, winter hats, gloves and emergency flares
- Keep vehicles parked in a garage
- Insuring that you have adequate food and water supplies in your home
- Protecting your home's water pipes by:
- Keeping the heat above 55 degrees in the home
- Draining and storing outside garden hoses
- Insulating plumbing that is susceptible to cold air and freezing
- Letting faucets drip. A trickle of water can help prevent pipes from freezing and an open faucet gives the water someplace to run once it starts to warm up.
- Keeping pets indoors or providing a heat source for their outdoor enclosure
- Sign up for Code Red Weather Alerts and monitor all City tools for the latest information.
*** The Code Red system has been used successfully many times to advise citizens. But, notification can only be made if the contact information used by Code Red is current and correct. If someone feels that they are not receiving Code Red alerts, has moved or obtained a new cell phone, business or home phone number they can reregister their information by going to wichitafallstx.gov and clicking on Code Red Registration in the left hand column.
For citizens who use the City's Public Transportation please contact dispatch at 761-7433 for schedule and availability.
For those who will be utilizing American Eagle Flights into or out of Municipal Airport please call 1-800-433-4700 for flight schedules.