Texas Emergency Management ONLINE2012 Vol. 59 No. 8

Texas Emergency Management Briefs, Tips and Links

VIEW ARCHIVED ISSUES OF TEXAS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ONLINE
Missed an issue of Texas Emergency Management Online? You’re in luck. You can view each past issue in the online archives. And, if you have a story idea, email it to TDEM.WEB@dps.texas.gov.

AMERICAN RED CROSS MOBILE APP
The American Red Cross launched its official Hurricane App, putting lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in or who visit hurricane prone areas.

This free app is the second in a series to be created by the American Red Cross, the nation’s leader in emergency preparedness, for use on both iPhone and Android platforms. It gives instant access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after hurricanes.

App features include:

  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Location-based NOAA weather alerts for the United States and its territories users can share on social networks
  • Remote monitoring of personalized weather alerts where family and friends reside
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
  • Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan;
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps  even without mobile connectivity;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
  • Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

The Hurricane and First Aid Apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD)
Texas VOAD is a humanitarian association of independent voluntary organizations who may be active in all phases of disaster. Its mission is to foster efficient, streamlined service delivery to people affected by disaster, while eliminating unnecessary duplication of effort, through cooperation in the four phases of disaster: preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation. For more information on VOAD, visit their webpage.

WHAT DOES ERCOT DO?
Chances are the electricity that gets delivered to your home is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT. ERCOT plays a critical role in making sure that the lights in your home come on when you flip a switch.

In turn, ERCOT, the state’s largest electricity management agency, oversees the electric grid, which receives electricity from power generators and distributes it to homes and businesses using electric utilities. In all, ERCOT serves 23 million Texas customers representing 85 percent of the state’s electric load and 75 percent of the state’s land area.

ERCOT serves three main functions with regard to the management of the delivery of electricity in Texas:

  1. Schedules energy transfers — ERCOT ensures the electric grid can accommodate scheduled energy transfers. ERCOT monitors transfer schedules and ensures the grid can handle those schedules and makes sure that gaps in schedules can be filled.
  2. Maintains grid reliability — ERCOT makes sure that electricity can be reliably transmitted to homes and businesses by managing the electricity supply.
  3. Manages retail transactions — ERCOT serves as the central hub for all retail power transactions. Not only does the agency manage the financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market, but it also administers the process that customers undergo when switching from their electric utility to an alternative retail electric supplier or from one retail electric supplier to another.

TEXAS WILDFIRE RISK ASSESSMENT PORTAL
Officials with Texas Forest Service and The Texas A&M University System have unveiled new web applications that will help homeowners and communities determine wildfire risk — and take measures to mitigate potential hazards. Wildfires scorched almost 4 million acres across the state last year, destroying nearly 3,000 homes. Texas Forest Service officials say the new web applications will arm Texans with the tools they need to reduce threats from future blazes. Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal, or TxWRAP, allows users to identify wildfire threats for a particular area based on landscape characteristics, historical fire occurrence, weather conditions, terrain and potential fire behavior. It also routes users to resources that can help them implement wildfire prevention practices. Accessible at texaswildfirerisk.com, the applications are free to use. Professional users such as civic planners, wildland fire managers and elected officials can use TxWRAP to generate a report packaging all the wildfire risk data for their community.


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