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Local EMS Officials Focus On Tornado Safety After Oklahoma Tragedy

By Anne Brenner Posted May 25, 2013 at 9:44 am

ORANGE COUNTY-In light of the recent tornado tragedy in Oklahoma, emergency officials at the local level are taking a look at what to do in the event of a similar disaster.

Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator Darshan Patel says his department has been especially focused on making resources available to the public.

“We at OrangeCounty have readyorange.org, and that allows citizens to go and get information,” he says. “Most of that is based off the information on ready.gov. Obviously tornados are a little different than things like hurricanes or floods, but there are also checklists on there to talk about specific events.”

Last Monday, a massive tornado in Moore, Oklahoma killed 24 people and injured hundreds more. But despite the destruction, Patel says the National Weather Service has in recent years become more technologically adept in alerting the public of an upcoming catastrophe.

“Now the NWS has things like what they call INWS, which is a text-based alerting system where you can set something up just for your town or for the entire county—whatever shape you want to draw on the map,” he says. “If there’s anything in that area or affecting that area, they’ll make sure you have a text message for that. It’s about making sure you have access to the alerts, warnings, and information, because that’ll allow you to better make decisions.”

Still, Patel says older technologies are sometimes the most effective.

“Obviously the old school weather radios are still there, and they’re probably one of the best investments people can make to make sure their families are prepared for an emergency.”

And above all, Patel says the best weapon against a disaster is preparedness.

“Tornadoes can be very quickly moving and developing storms, so being prepared and having a plan beforehand is going to be the most important to making sure you and your family stay safe,” he says.”

For more information on tornado safety, click here.

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