Date: February 27, 2014
From: Chief Hinds, Fire Chief/Emergency Management Coordinator
Emergency Siren and Disaster Preparedness
To increase safety within the City of Oil City and minimise the impact of possible weather emergencies, the City Emergency Management Office use a variety of methods to warn and inform the public. In an emergency, warnings and information will be issued through radio and television alerts, and an emergency siren system for residents and businesses, may also be used. Remember, when unsure, the safest things for you to do in a major emergency is to follow the instructions of emergency services and GO IN, STAY IN and TUNE IN.
The City of Oil City tests the outdoor warning siren every Tuesday evening at approximately 6 p.m. The Emergency Warning siren is located on the roof of City Hall, the test is a 15 second of a slow rising then falling siren tone.
When the sirens sound on a NON-TEST DAY, the public is advised to tune into radio or television to find out why the sirens are sounding. The siren system is activated for specific hazards that could seriously affect the City population. When the City receives notification of severe weather warning potentially impacting the City (tornado, flooding) there will be a siren tone sounded as follows:
The siren tone identified as “alert” (a steady tone) will sound for 90 seconds, followed by an approximate 2-minute pause, and then another 90 second “alert” siren.
The siren tone identified as “wail” (an up and down traditional siren tone) will be used to warn the public of life threatening flooding in the Oil Creek Valley or the Allegheny River Valley near the business district, the siren tone will last for 90 seconds, followed by an approximate 2-minute pause, and then another 90 second “wail” siren.
When the threat has lifted a slow rising siren tone lasting approximately 15 seconds will be activated.
Residents should know the difference between a watch and a weather warning.
A WATCH is issued when expert convective storm meteorologists at the National Weather Service determine that severe thunderstorms or tornadoes are possible. These watches are generally issued for large areas, such as all of western Pennsylvania. A WATCH means to continue normal activities, but to keep an eye to the sky.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service office issue a WARNING when severe weather or tornadoes are actually occurring. Warnings are generally issued for very small areas, such as a single county or groups of 2-3 counties. When a WARNING is issued, you should TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY if you are in the path of the storm!
Three types of WARNINGS are issued for severe storms:
•TORNADO WARNINGS, when tornado conditions have actually been observed or are imminent based upon radar information;
**•SEVERE THUNDERSTORM **WARNINGS, where storms are producing straight line winds of 57 mph or greater, hail 1" diameter or greater, and/or are capable of producing a tornado;
•FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS, where streams, creeks, or urban waterways are flooding or will be very soon.
What to do before a thunderstorm:
The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:
Postpone outdoor activities.
Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.
Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
Avoid the following:
Natural lightning rods such as a tall isolated tree in an open area. Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water.
Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
Anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
Residents should also assemble a disaster supply kit because you may need to survive on your own after a disaster. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days. Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer. Or, you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You probably will not have the opportunity to shop or search for the supplies you need.
A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items that members of a household may need in the event of a disaster. There are six basics you should stock in your home:
First aid supplies
Clothing, bedding and sanitation supplies
Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. Possible containers include a large, covered trash container; a camping backpack; or a duffle bag.
How Much Water do I Need?
You should have at least a three-day supply of water and you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking. Additionally, in determining adequate quantities, take the following into account:
Individual needs vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate.
Children, nursing mothers, and ill people need more water.
Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed.
A medical emergency might require additional water.
How Should I Store Water?
To prepare safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you need to use it. Observe the expiration or “use by” date.
Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Avoid foods that will make you thirsty. Choose salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content.
Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit: Note: Be sure to include a manual can opener.
Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
Canned juices, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water)
Staples--sugar, salt, pepper
High-energy foods--peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix
Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons with special dietary needs
Comfort/stress foods--cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, and tea bags
First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit should include:
Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
Triangular bandages (3)
2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
Tongue blades (2)
Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
Assorted sizes of safety pins
Latex gloves (2 pair)
Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
Antacid (for stomach upset)
Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
Clothing, Bedding and Sanitation Supplies
Clothing and Bedding
If you live in a cold climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that you will not have heat. *Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
Jacket or coat
Long sleeve shirt
Sturdy shoes or work boots
Hat, gloves and scarf
Blankets or sleeping bags
Soap, liquid detergent
Personal hygiene items
Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
Plastic bucket with tight lid
Household chlorine bleach
Mess kits, or paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
Portable, battery-operated radio or television and extra batteries
Flashlight and extra batteries
Cash or traveler's checks, change
Non-electric can opener, utility knife
Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type
Matches in a waterproof container
Plastic storage containers
Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.
Heart and high blood pressure medication
Contact lenses and supplies
Hearing aid batteries
**Important Family Documents **
Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container.
Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
Photo IDs, passports, social security cards, and immunization records
Bank account numbers
Credit card account numbers and companies
Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
Photocopies of credit and identification cards
Cash and coins.
Entertainment--games and books.