Emergency Management

    Emergency Management Badge

    Mission Statement

    The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is responsible for the overall emergency preparedness programs of the City of Live Oak. The emergency management plan is designed as an all hazards plan that covers all natural and man-made hazards, and includes terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

    Emergency Management Contact Information:

    • Mayor Mary M. Dennis - Director
      (210) 653-9140
    • Lt. Matt Malone - Coordinator
      (210)-945-1732
    • Live Oak Non-Emergency Dispatch Center
      (210) 653-0033

    Office of Emergency Management

    The Office of Emergency Management is located within the Fire Department facilities at:
    8001 Shin Oak Drive
    Live Oak, Texas 78233


    What disasters might affect Live Oak?

    The following statistics illustrate why emergency preparedness is so important:

    • Texas ranks #1 in the nation for tornado occurrences.
    • Texas ranks #1 in the nation for flash flooding occurrences.
    • Texas leads the nation in railroad accidents.
    • Texas has more hazardous materials transported over our highways than any other state.
    • Texas ranks #2 in the nation for hurricane occurrences.
    • Texas has over 250,000 miles of underground pipelines carrying various products, many of which are hazardous.
    • Texas experiences persistent droughts every few years.
    • Wildfires claim thousands of acres of vegetation every year. 

    How can you be prepared for an emergency?

    The key to surviving a major disaster or emergency is to be prepared. Unfortunately, most disasters occur without warning and leaving very little reaction time. It is critical that every citizen and business owner develops a Disaster Plan and knows how to help protect their family and property from a potential disaster.

    We encourage everyone to review the material contained within this web site to learn more about emergency preparedness. Links to several other emergency preparedness websites are offered on the Agency Links webpage located in the menu at left.

    In addition, the OEM Coordinator is available to discuss your concerns and help develop your emergency plans. Many brochures and planning checklists, on an assortment of emergency topics, are available by visiting the OEM office. Coloring books are also available to help teach children how to safely react in the event of an emergency.

    The OEM Coordinator is also available to present programs to any group of citizens or businesses regarding preparedness. The Coordinator can also assist with arranging other programs such as crime prevention and fire prevention.

    Important Links:

      Administration

      How does the City of Live Oak prepare for an emergency?

      In addition to your own personal plan, the City of Live Oak has an emergency management program as required by Live Oak City Ordinance #1375, dated June 24th, 2008. In accordance with the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, the responsibility for emergency preparedness rests with the senior elected official – the Mayor - who holds the title of Director of Emergency Management. An Emergency Management Coordinator manages the overall program on a daily basis.

      The Office of Emergency Management, or OEM, is responsible for identifying all potential hazards to our citizens and the business community. The OEM is responsible for creating a hazardous mitigation study which is the basis of our preparedness program. The Coordinator also oversees evacuation planning, direction and control, which includes establishing and maintaining the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), located within the Fire Department facility.

      The City’s emergency management plan is composed of a Basic Plan and twenty-two (22) functional annexes covering various subjects such as Communications, Evacuation, Fire & Rescue, Law Enforcement, Hazard Mitigation, and Terrorism. The OEM Coordinator has developed these plan annexes in conjunction with other key department heads such as the Police and Fire Chiefs.

      The State of Texas has an outstanding emergency preparedness program handled by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). This agency is part of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and their offices are located in Austin, Texas, three (3) stories underground, beneath the Headquarters of the Department of Public Safety building on North Lamar Ave. Included within their underground offices is the State Operations Center (SOC) which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. During a crisis, a representative of every State agency arrives at the SOC to coordinate and direct operations. There are 24 District Coordinators (DCs) located at various district DPS offices including the office in San Antonio. In addition to the coordinators, each DPS Captain or Lieutenant in charge of that office is designated the Chairperson of the local Disaster District Committee or DDC.

      In the event of a major incident or an actual disaster, the Mayor has the authority under the Texas Disaster Act to declare a “State of Emergency” or sign an actual “Disaster Declaration.” Once signed by the Mayor, the City’s emergency plans are activated giving the Mayor all of the powers of the Act. Some examples of these powers include establishing curfews; ordering both voluntary and mandatory evacuations, implementing wage and price controls and, if necessary, restricting utility usage.

      In a disaster the City would first utilize our resources, then call on mutual aid resources from surrounding jurisdictions, the County, and then to the local DPS for State assistance. The Mayor, as Director, can request whatever assistance is needed - including asking the Governor for the deployment of the Texas National Guard.

        Agency Links

        The following links and provided to various other emergency management agencies of the Federal, State, and other organizations.

          Preparedness

          The businesses located within the City of Live Oak are a vital part of our community. Whether you are involved in retail sales, services, or a profession, you are an important part of our City. As such, the safety of your employees and customers, in the event of a serious emergency or an actual disaster should be your number one concern.

          In the event of a disaster are you prepared? Here are some questions for you to consider.

          • Do you have adequate insurance on your building? The contents?
          • What if you lost your business records?
          • What about computer records and data? Do you have a back-up system?
          • What about your loss of income?
          • What about your employees?

          A disaster like a tornado or an accidental fire could totally destroy your business. Your business could be undamaged but in a disaster area without electricity, telephone service, and customers. A major incident could force you to be closed for days or even weeks.

          There have been many studies following major disasters and statistics have shown that many businesses, especially smaller ones and family owned businesses never recover from a disaster and never reopen. The reasons for this are usually quite simple. The business lacked a disaster plan and in many cases sufficient insurance coverage. Larger companies and business like big box stores have disaster plans in place and are prepared in case there is a disaster.

          As a business owner or manager here are some more questions to consider:

          • Do you have a disaster plan or continuity plan as they sometimes are called?
          • Is there an evacuation plan in case of fire? What about accountability?
          • What is the safest location in the building in case a tornado warning is issued?
          • Are your supervisors and employees trained in emergency procedures?
          • Do they know what to do in case of a fire, a bomb threat, and criminal activity like dealing with an armed robbery attempt?
          • What about something simple like a broken water pipe? Are supervisors and employees knowledgeable of water shut off valves along with electrical panels?

          A business continuity plan or disaster plan, whichever name you want to use, is designed to keep you, your employees, and in many cases your customers’ safe in the event of a serious incident or an actual disaster. Having a plan can save lives and possibly your business.

          A business disaster preparedness plan checklist is available and can be downloaded by clicking on the link below:

          Business Disaster Preparedness Plan Checklist

          This checklist will take you through the basic steps in developing a plan from determining your potential hazards, developing a plan, training, handling emergencies, and finally recovery actions.

          A sample business disaster plan is also available and can be downloaded by clicking on the link below:

          Sample Business Disaster Plan

          The Office of Emergency Management is available to help any business owner with preparing and putting a plan together to suit the needs of your company. In addition training is available from the police department on crime prevention issues and from the fire department on the use of fire extinguishers, basic first aid, how to conduct fire drills, and other topics. The Office of Emergency Management also has many brochures and checklists available on dealing with many issues such as severe weather events, hazardous materials accidents, and other subjects.

          The City’s emergency management plan consists of a Basic Plan and Twenty-Two (22) functional annexes that cover various subjects. The basic plan is an overview of our emergency preparedness program and a copy is available for public inspection in the Office of Emergency Management during normal business hours.

          The basic plan can also be downloaded as a word document at the link provided below.

          Basic Emergency Management Plan

          The Twenty Two (22) functional annexes are as follows:

          1. Warning
          2. Communications
          3. Shelter & Mass Care
          4. D – Radiological Protection
          5. Evacuation
          6. Firefighting & Rescue
          7. Law Enforcement
          8. Health & Medical
          9. Public Information
          10. Recovery
          11. Public Works & Engineering
          12. Utilities
          13. Resource Management
          14. Direction and Control
          15. Human Services
          16. Hazard Mitigation
          17. Hazardous Materials Response
          18. Rescue
          19. Transportation
          20. Donations Management
          21. Legal
          22. Terrorist Incident Response

          Each of the above annexes is assigned to a specific department, functional area, or a specific city staff member. The annexes outline basic requirements for the functional area however specific tasks dealing with these areas are outlined in departmental standard operational procedures or guides.

          Disasters can be traumatic for many adults, but they can be very frightening for our children and may cause serious issues for months following the event. In a disaster children may have to leave their home and their daily routine. Most young children are used to getting up in the morning, going to school, playing with their friends, and then going to sleep – in their own bed. A major emergency or a disaster can change all of this. Older children and even teenagers can be traumatized as well following a disaster as they have a better idea of what happened and may remember the events for a longer time.

          In the event some kind of major incident occurs from a residential fire to a major disaster like a tornado touchdown, parents need to provide reassurance and guidance based on the age of their children. It is important to explain things to them on their level. Try to let them know things will be OK.

          It is important to keep the family together if possible, however this isn’t always a good idea either depending on the situation and the options available. Grandparents, other relatives, and family friends are some possible options for younger children following a disaster. Moving the family away from the disaster area may be a good idea, especially if the outlook for recovery is going to be long-term. These are extremely important and sometimes difficult decisions that have to be made following an event and families sometimes have little time to make them.

          This actually is an issue that should be addressed in your family disaster plan ahead of time. What are the family options? Generally speaking it will be easier to plan for this without being in a crisis.

          Following any major disaster many state and federal agencies respond to assist with damage assessment and recovery operations, and part of the assistance involves crisis counseling for individuals, children, families, and the emergency responders. Anyone involved in a disaster will be encouraged to contact these agencies following the event. In many cases counselors will be available at local shelters and notices will be posted in many places.

          The Office of Emergency Management has numerous brochures on this subject and some are available in both English and Spanish. In addition some can be downloaded from various web sites such as the American Red Cross. See Agency Links on the opening page.

          Are you prepared for a disaster? Take the following Disaster Preparedness Quiz to find out:

          Disaster Preparedness Quiz

          The most important thing a citizen can do regarding emergency preparedness is to have a Family Disaster Plan. This concept is not something new and it really is a continuation of fire prevention. Fire departments across the nation promote fire safety issues such as having smoke detectors, testing them on a regular basis and changing the batteries, having an escape plan along with a family meeting place outside the home, and having a practice fire drill. The “Family Disaster Plan” carries this one step further and actually being prepared for a fire should be part of your Family Disaster Plan.

          In the event of a major incident or an actual disaster, families may fall into one of three categories. They are:

          • Directly affected.
          • In directly affected.
          • Not affected at all.

          Needless to say the lucky ones escaped without any damage and their homes and property is outside of the disaster area. Other folks may not be so lucky! Those citizens directly affected by a disaster may have lost everything to a tornado or a flood. Those in directly affected may have received only minor damage or none at all but are close to the disaster area that they may be without electricity, gas, telephone service, and even water. Depending on the extent of the damage these citizens may be forced to leave their homes as well due to the lack of services. In some cases debris may clog the street and these citizens may not be able to leave the area.

          This highlights the necessity for having a Family Disaster Plan, which includes having some basic supplies on hand. Following any type of major incident or a disaster, emergency personnel will be overwhelmed and they will concentrate their efforts on firefighting, search and rescue operations, and treating the injured. Those citizens in directly affected may need to survive on their own and families should include this in their family plan. Generally speaking families should be able to manage on their own for 72 hours.

          Many people may already have a fire escape plan and are prepared for some emergencies. They have some basic necessities already on hand like flashlights, a portable radio, extra batteries, first aid supplies, and may be some food items. If so you are off to a good start! A checklist for creating a plan and the supplies can be downloaded by clicking on the item below.

          Family Disaster Plan Checklist

          A very important part of your family disaster plan is communications and the ability to keep in touch for all members of the family. In addition, other family members living elsewhere or even in another state may be trying to get in touch with you.

          If a disaster occurs during the daytime the family is normally separated. Mom and Dad are at work and Johnny and Susie are away at different schools. Following a tornado your home is located within the disaster area and no one is able to get there. Where is everyone going to go? Where are you going to meet? How are you going to communicate with each other? If you have an answer to each of these questions you're in good shape. Maybe! If one of your answers was to use your cellular phone that may not solve your problem at all. Your cell phone may or may not work. Cellular towers in the area may be damaged and they may become overloaded with calls so no one is getting through. Land lines may work however in some cases these can be overloaded as well with emergency calls and other people calling their relatives. Chances are your communications plan isn’t working too well at this point.

          Here is a tip. Local lines maybe swamped with telephone calls but long distance is available. If you dial “1” to get on long distance you may be able to make a call to a friend or relative that lives outside of the immediate area and is in another area code. As part of your family disaster plan select a relative or a friend that lives in another state or area code and if family members become separated and are unable to contact each other, everyone then calls “Aunt Sally” in Dallas and tells her where they are.

          All families should have a meeting place outside of the home in case of fire, i.e. by the mailbox or the big tree in the front yard, but also other locations nearby. This could be a friends’ house, a church or school, or some other location that everyone can get to.

          In closing the Office of Emergency Management has numerous brochures and checklists on creating a family disaster plan in addition to the checklist available on-line.

          In the event of a serious emergency or an actual disaster, citizens may have to evacuate their homes or they may be asked to shelter in-place for several hours because of a hazardous condition. Citizens may not be directly affected by an incident but could be without electricity or other services because of the incident. While this may be a major inconvenience to some of us, citizens with disabilities, access issues, or those with other functional needs may be faced with a life-threatening situation. These categories include:

          • Citizens who are mobility impaired.
          • Citizens who are blind or hearing impaired.
          • Family members who are mentally challenged. (Adults or children)
          • Citizens with special medical needs such as being on continuous oxygen.
          • Citizens without transportation.

          In the event of an evacuation, some of these individuals may require assistance and in some cases, citizens may not have transportation especially at certain times of the day. These individuals may not have a physical impairment however the lack of transportation places these citizens in a separate special category that must be addressed.

          The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) along with local officials across the state have placed a great deal of emphasis on citizens with disabilities, access issues, or those with other functional needs. This is especially true along the Texas Gulf Coast during hurricane evacuations. Locally the City of Live Oak started a program several years ago to help our citizens. The main issue initially is simply to identify these individuals and where they reside in the community.

          The Office of Emergency Management has a voluntary program to allow citizens who have a disability, access issues, or some other type of functional need to come forward and complete an enrollment form to join the program. Only limited information is required and enrollment forms are available at the Fire Station during normal business hours or you can download the form below.

          Special Programs Enrollment Form

          The Office of Emergency Management has created a database to identify these citizens by the various areas of the City, such as the Woodcrest or Retama Hollow Subdivisions. Using this method we can determine who lives within an area should some type of emergency occur nearby.

          For additional information on this important program citizens should contact the Office of Emergency Management.

          Report Power Outages to CPS Energy
          Call: (210) 353-HELP (353-4357)

          The loss of power is always a major inconvenience for everyone! Power outages are typically caused by severe weather, traffic accidents and sometimes equipment failure. In addition rolling blackouts may occur due to a major malfunction or when power requirements exceed the available power supply within the power grid.

          The majority of the power grid in the State of Texas is controlled by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). On rare occasions, when demand exceeds the capabilities of the grid, ERCOT directs providers to reduce their load in order to prevent a major blackout. When this occurs, CPS Energy has a small window of time to reduce power and rolling blackouts may occur quicker than the media can spread the word.

          As a reminder, the City of Live Oak does not handle power outages. Please DO NOT contact the Live Oak Dispatch Center regarding outages unless you have an emergency relating to the outage such as downed wires or if a nearby transformer has blown, is smoking or is on fire. In addition, the City cannot provide portable generators, battery packs, oxygen tanks or refill your existing oxygen tank. This is why it is very, very important that citizens who have special needs plan ahead before a problem arises.

          How should you prepare for a power outage?

          The following tips will help you be prepared for a power outage:

          • Flashlights and extra batteries.
          • Use candles and matches with care.
          • Purchase a battery powered radio with extra batteries
          • Turn off any appliances such as stoves, coffee makers, etc. that were on at the time of the outage. If you leave your home before the power is restored this appliance could cause a fire.
          • Consider unplugging appliances to avoid damage caused by a power surge. Power surges occur when power is restored.
          • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. These units will maintain a safe temperature for a short time provided you don't let the cold air out.
          • Keep a reliable thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer. In the event of a lengthy power outage, you will be able to determine the exact temperature once the power is restored.
          • Enroll in CPS Energy’s Critical Care program to minimize potential risk to customers who use electrically-operated medical equipment and/or whose physicians have verified that continued electric and/or gas service is critical to the occupant’s health.
          • Consider purchasing a battery pack or portable generator.

          It could never happen here in the United States! That was the feeling of many Americans until one day in 1993 a bomb went off in the parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. It was the first recorded terrorist attack in the United States however sadly we didn’t take it that seriously. Then later on after that incident was behind us another terrorist attack occurred that was very similar but it came from a very different source. Early one morning, in America’s Heartland, a bomb destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma City. This attack wasn’t from a foreign country but came from within the U.S.

          A few more years passed by, however during this time frame the nation took the threat of terrorism more seriously. Many new programs began and security issues became more vigilant at airports and along the U.S. border. Many federal agencies became involved in security concerns across the nation and various plans were developed. The possible use of weapons of mass destruction came to light. The use of chemicals like nerve agents; bio-hazards like anthrax or smallpox; and even the possible use of nuclear weapons were suggested. Many third world countries were making threats along with various terrorist factions around the world. In addition many acts of terrorism were occurring in different nations, and in many cases Americans were the target along with our military personnel stationed overseas.

          During this time frame emergency management officials at all levels of government feared another terrorist attack would occur in the United States and many federal dollars were spent on specialized equipment and training for first responders. As time went by the feeling was not if an attack would occur, but where and when. On the morning of September 11th, 2001, we learned the answer to both questions along with how! It wasn’t another bomb or some type of weapon of mass destruction, but commercial airliners, full of innocent people. These airplanes became missiles as they were flown into the World Trade Center Towers along with the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed into a field – its target may have been the White House or The Capital. No one knows for sure.

          Since that fateful day, still referred to as 9-11 many actions have been taken by various agencies of the federal, state, and local governments. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created and many federal agencies were joined together. Their initial responsibility was to create a national and comprehensive plan to deal with security around the nation. Many State governments established a similar office and reorganized some of their departments to handle this new threat. Terrorism became a household word along with several others.

          The City of San Antonio along with Bexar County and all of the other municipalities within the county began working together to establish new plans and procedures to deal with terrorism. New plans were prepared and thousands of federal dollars were spent on equipment and training for all emergency responders. This is now a continuing process for all new personnel in law enforcement, the fire service and the emergency medical service.

          What about the City of Live Oak and our citizens. The City is located within a major metropolitan area and we have a lot of military installations nearby, including Randolph AFB. Were also within 200 miles of the border! In addition we have numerous “soft” targets such as the theater, and the shopping centers. Large numbers of people gather at these locations at different times and these locations could become a target for an act of terrorism.

          As for the citizens of Live Oak, what should you do to be safe in your home or at work? Here are some suggestions. First of all don’t panic! Some terrorist’s hope we will do just that and it is actually part of their plan. The most important thing a citizen can do is to simply be prepared and know what to do in an emergency. Be alert and aware of your surrounding both at work and around the City. If you see something that doesn’t look right or if you have a “bad feeling” about something, notify the police and leave the area. Citizens who live near a well site or the CPS substation and notice someone within the secure fenced area who is not in uniform or does not have an official vehicle may seem out of place. Call the police and have an officer investigate. To assist you a checklist is available by clicking on the following:

          Terrorism Fact Sheet

          In closing the region is generally well prepared, and there is an excellent working relationship between all of the jurisdictions within Bexar County and even more so in the Randolph Metrocom. Mutual aid agreements exist between all of the Metrocom City’s for law enforcement and fire and EMS. As an example, in the event of a structure fire within the City of Live Oak citizens will quickly notice fire apparatus from Converse, Selma, or Universal City on the scene along with Live Oak fire trucks. Automatic agreements are in place to send equipment immediately from the other jurisdictions on certain calls. In addition, the fire departments have formed an organization known as the Combined Emergency Services Organization (CESO) and they have established a hazardous materials response team. Law enforcement agencies are quick to respond to assist each other and officers from several departments have formed a regional Emergency Response Team (ERT) and can be dispatched quickly when needed anywhere in the area. Another name for the ERT is SWAT – short for Special Weapons and Tactics.

          Citizens desiring to learn more about the fire or police department are encouraged to contact the respective departments. The police department does hold a Citizens Police Academy from time to time and citizens can attend weekly classes over a period of weeks to learn about the department and law enforcement procedures.

          The Office of Emergency Management is always willing to conduct a class preparing a disaster plan for neighborhood groups, organizations, church groups, or just a couple of families who want to learn how to make a plan.

            Prevention/Mitigation

            The basis for our preparedness program and our emergency management plan is the Local Hazard Analysis Study, which addresses all of the potential hazards that may affect the City. The responsibility for this study rests with the Office of Emergency Management and consists of several parts. It includes:

            • An overview of the City (populations, businesses, etc.).
            • The analysis itself covering all defined hazards.
            • A hazard summary and rating scale for each hazard.

            The analysis study covers each potential hazard category as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This includes aircraft accidents, droughts, earthquakes, floods, hazardous materials accidents, power failures, and severe weather events to name a few.

            Each potential hazard is outlined with six (6) objectives. They are:

            • Predictability
            • Frequency
            • Control Ability
            • Duration
            • Scope of Damage
            • Impact on the City

            This document is available for public inspection in the Office of Emergency Management during normal business hours or it can be reviewed by clicking on the link below.

            Local Hazard Mitigation Study

            In accordance with the Mitigation Act of 2000, all jurisdictions were required to have a Mitigation Action Plan. When the impact of this plan was taken up at the State level it was decided that regional plans would be easier to create and this entire program was passed to the Council of Government offices located around the State of Texas. Locally the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) developed and prepared a Regional Mitigation Action Plan which was completed and published in November 2004.

            This document provides an in depth review of the entire 12 county AACOG region and the mitigation plans of all jurisdictions involved, including the City of Live Oak. During this process a group of city staff members and citizens were appointed by the City Council to address our mitigation goals and objectives. This document is also available for public inspection in the Office of Emergency Management during normal business hours.

            General:

            A question that is frequently asked is “What are the transportation routes in and out of the City in the event of an emergency?” While this seems like a valid question the answer is not that simple.

            The City of Live Oak is a small community and we only have a few streets that go through the entire City from North to South or from East to West. The main roadways in the City are Interstate Highway 35, Loop 1604, Pat Booker Road, and Toepperwein Road. The main streets within the City are Village Oak Drive, Lone Shadow Trail, Leafy Hollow Drive, Forest Bluff, and maybe Forest Corner. These are known as collector streets meaning they receive traffic from many other streets. They are also the widest streets within the City.

            During an evacuation, these main streets will be used most often to move citizens out of an area and to designate the evacuation area. We hope most citizens become familiar with the City in general and they know where certain facilities and businesses are located such as City Hall, the main City Park, Northeast Methodist Hospital, along with the large shopping centers to include The Forum and Gateway Plaza. These locations may be used as reference points during emergencies and when evacuation instructions are given assumptions are made that citizens know where certain places are located.

            Learning a little about the City should be an important part of your Family Disaster Plan. Knowing your way around the community could be very important in an emergency. In an evacuation it can be very important that citizens follow directions because there may be a significant hazard in a certain area, such as following a chemical spill. Needless to say we want to keep citizens away from the hazardous area and also away from an area that may already be clogged with emergency vehicles.

            Hazardous Materials Transportation Route:

            While we are on the subject of transportation, lets' briefly review the hazardous materials transportation route that passes through the City of Live Oak. This was a major issue many years ago as there was not a set route though Bexar County and through the City of San Antonio for the transportation of hazardous chemicals. A serious incident occurred on the interstate in the downtown area of San Antonio that could have been a major disaster. Following that incident the need for a route through the area was a top priority and as such all jurisdictions where the interstate highway passed though became part of a task force to create a route through San Antonio and Bexar County for trucks carrying hazardous materials that were passing though without any stops in the area. This included the City of Live Oak and the Emergency Management Coordinator was appointed to the task force to represent the City.

            This became a major project and following many meetings, public workshops, and two public hearings an official route for truck traffic carrying hazardous cargo through Bexar County was approved by all jurisdictions involved and finally by the Texas Department of Transportation. It became official by the end of 2000 and signs were erected by TxDOT shortly thereafter.

            The route through Bexar County was designed and based on several criteria including:

            • Using the best type of roadways available.
            • Keeping the traffic off of the elevated roadways in San Antonio.
            • Protecting the Edwards Aquifer.
            • Keeping the traffic away from the highest population centers.

            In order to meet the criteria the following roadways/highways were designated as the Non-Radioactive Hazardous Materials Transportation Route.

            • All of the Interstate Highways coming into Bexar County.
            • Loop 410 around the heart of San Antonio.
            • All US highways and all Texas highways within the County.

            As an example, a trucker coming into Bexar County from Dallas on IH 35 and going to Del Rio, must stay on IH 35 until reaching Loop 410. They must travel Loop 410 until they reach IH 10/Highway 90 and then they will head West on highway 90 to Del Rio. The driver cannot take Loop 1604 from IH 35 to IH 10 in either direction as this roadway is not on the approved hazardous materials route.

            While this may seem unfair to the trucker the purpose of the route is to protect the population. Loop 1604 was not included as part of the route. The upper portion of Loop 1604 passes over the aquifer and the lower part of Loop 1604 is only a two lane roadway with lots of cross streets and in many areas emergency services needed to deal with a serious hazardous materials spill do not exist. In addition this route around Loop 410 keeps these trucks from the heart of San Antonio and off of the elevated highways in the downtown area.

            Statistics gathered during the workshops and meetings showed that the most serious accidents occurred on two lane roadways where cross traffic occurs. Truckers traveling on the interstate highways seldom were involved in accidents unless they were entering or exiting the roadway and other vehicles were usually involved.

            Finally truckers licensed to transport hazardous cargo are well qualified and took actions to help lesson the hazard. As an example a trucker traveling on IH 35 wouldn’t go through the area during rush hour. Chances are they would stay at a truck center on the highway and time their arrival before or after a rush hour. A truck driver likes to make time not sit in traffic!

            In closing a copy of the San Antonio/Bexar County Non-Radioactive Hazardous Materials Transportation Route is available for public inspection in the Office of Emergency Management during regular business hours.

              Response

              In the event of a serious emergency, evacuations are always a possibility. A major chemical spill on the highway could affect large portions of the City due to our size. Fortunately the probability for a major evacuation is slim, however there is always that possibility and potential that one could be necessary. Flooding is not a serious threat in the City of Live Oak, and generally speaking flooding and hazardous materials accidents tend to cause the majority of evacuations across the country, along with hurricane evacuations from the coastal communities.

              The State of Texas does have a mandatory evacuation law that may be implemented by the Mayor when no other option is available. Many states have similar laws and they are in place to protect citizens who would otherwise refuse to get out of harm's way. Unfortunately enforcing mandatory laws are difficult as evidenced by mandatory hurricane evacuations along the coast. Some citizens simply refuse to leave and law enforcement officials simply can’t enforce the order usually due to manpower issues. Generally speaking it is hoped that when a mayor orders a mandatory evacuation citizens will comply.

              Once an area has been evacuated you also can be prevented from going back into the area for safety and security purposes. Re-entering a disaster area that has been cordoned off by law enforcement officials can be a serious issue and citizens can be arrested for crossing a police line. Generally speaking, only authorized emergency personnel are allowed within a disaster area for search and rescue operations. Once these operations are complete and the disaster area is considered safe, citizens are usually allowed in to look over their property and the damage for short periods of time.

              In the City of Live Oak an evacuation order will never be issued unless there is a serious threat to the safety of our citizens. An evacuation decision will be carefully considered before the order is given to insure no other options are available.

              One very important point to consider at this time! If you elect to remain in your home following a mandatory evacuation, you may be on your own. Emergency workers may not be allowed to re-enter an evacuated area if there is a serious threat to their safety.

              In the event an evacuation is necessary, this is not an easy task for emergency personnel. Citizens have to be notified; they must be informed why the need to evacuate; where should they go; which way should they go; and finally are there any special instructions. In addition shelter locations must be established and the City must coordinate with the American Red Cross. These tasks must be completed quickly and with a limited City staff this can be difficult.

              If you have to evacuate your home you are not going to have time to pack many things, unless the evacuation can be planned for like a coastal evacuation when a hurricane is threatening. There are some very important items that you do need to take with you and this is an area you should include in your family disaster plan. Here is a short list of some very important items.

              • Prescription drugs and other medications needed by all family members.
              • Baby supplies if you have an infant.
              • Identification along with money and/or credit cards.
              • Proper clothing as needed, i.e. a jacket or raincoat depending on the weather.

              If you have small children you might want to include:

              • A blanket or two.
              • Something to read.
              • A small toy or game.

              There may also be other items depending on family needs and these should be clearly identified in your family plan by making an evacuation checklist. Remember keep it simple and keep the list as short as possible. Once again remember you are not going to have a lot of time to pack!

              One other and very important issue to consider during an evacuation is the family pets! It has been noted over the past few years that people will refuse to leave their homes if they cannot take their pet(s). As such, local agencies are working closely with animal shelters and humane societies to assist families who have pets. In some cases specific shelters are established where pets can be brought however there are specific rules for bring pets. Generally speaking ALL pets must be in a pet carrier or crate. Pet owners also need to provide food along with at least one dish for water. The pet should have a collar with a leash and the owner should have their shot records with them. Shelters accepting pets will not allow them in the main shelter area but normally in a separate room. Owners will be responsible to feed the animals and take them outside as needed.

              Citizens with pets who plan to take them along must plan ahead. It might be better to take them to a relative or friends home then bring them along. As noted only a few shelters will accept pets and generally speaking these are not available following an emergency neighborhood evacuation.

              One additional option regarding pets is to consider going to a motel/hotel that is located outside of the City should a disaster occur. Many people would rather stay at a motel/hotel then going to a Red Cross Shelter so citizens with pets might want to plan ahead and determine which motels/hotels allow pets of various types and sizes. Just an option!

              Once a decision has been reached and evacuation is deemed necessary, the area will be identified by street boundaries. Using street boundaries is the easiest way of identifying an evacuation area and the City must assume citizens are familiar with key streets within the City.

              In conjunction with the area citizens will be advised where to go and possibly which way to travel to avoid a particular hazard if applicable. In rare cases, citizens may be directed to shut off utilities however this should not be done unless directed.

              In regards to shelters the American Red Cross normally will decide on a facility based on the nature of the hazard, the number of people involved, the potential duration of the evacuation, and the shelters locations that area available.

              Shelter Locations

              The American Red Cross has a large number of suitable facilities that they have an agreement with to utilize as a shelter location. This includes many schools, churches, and other public buildings. Within the immediate area the following locations may be used as a shelter:

              Kitty Hawk Middle School
              830 Old Cimarron Trail
              Universal City, Texas

              Judson High School
              9142 FM 78
              Converse, Texas

              In the event of a major emergency or an actual disaster, the City will activate the Emergency Operations Center, or EOC, in the Live Oak Fire Station. The purpose of this facility is to have a central location for a command center to coordinate all emergency activities among all City departments, other Federal and State officials, and the various other agencies such as City Public Service, telephone providers, and others.

              The Emergency Operations Center is located adjacent to the Live Oak Dispatch Center and the Office of Emergency Management in the fire station. The facility is a secure area and is equipped with numerous telephone and data port jacks, radio communication equipment, fax line, cable television, and has an assortment of maps and charts.

              The Fire Station has full generator power and this facility and dispatch also have additional back-up power if necessary. The Office of Emergency Management is responsible for the overall operation of this facility and will operate under the National Incident Management System (NIMS) utilizing the Incident Command System (ICS). Once activated all department heads and various other City staff members will fill key positions on the EOC staff. The EOC has the capability of operating around the clock for as long as necessary to manage any kind of emergency within the City, or to oversee a significant event planned within the jurisdiction.

              What are “Hazardous Materials?” We all here this term on a regular basis however many citizens really do not fully understand what hazardous material really is. Frequently the term is used in conjunction with a serious incident that has occurred somewhere in the nation.

              Hazardous materials may be gases, solids, or liquids that are part of our daily lives. These products benefit us in many ways and make our lives much simpler. The listing of products is endless and may include many things that you might not even consider as being hazardous. This material is transported around the county on a daily basis in railroad cars and in trucks on our highways. Accidents rarely occur however when they do they usually make the evening news.

              Hazardous chemicals and other materials are used to manufacture many items we use on a daily basis and for the most part these are absolutely safe. As long as the product is contained in an appropriate tank car or packaged properly in a railroad car or truck it is perfectly safe. Unfortunately accidents do occur and when these products escape they can spill onto the ground or be released into the atmosphere. Liquids under pressure can turn into a gas and some products are flammable when mixed with oxygen. Following an accident these products may quickly catch fire and create a huge fireball.

              In addition to tanker trucks and railroad tank cars, any freight car on a train and almost any truck traveling down the highway could be dangerous as well. A trucker carrying a load of merchandise is completely safe however if that trailer overturns and the contents inside get mixed up and packages break open we may have a serious problem as well. The truck may be carrying paper products, an assortment of household cleaning products, pool chemicals, charcoal lighter fluid, along with many other goods. If all of this material mixes and a fire starts that involves the trailer, the burning contents could give off hazardous fumes. In many cases firefighters may have great difficulty in extinguishing these fires until they can determine the contents.

              Hazardous Materials Transportation Route:

              In 1999 the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and several other jurisdictions along the IH 35 corridor, including the City of Live Oak, began discussions concerning establishing a Local Hazardous Materials Route though the area. The need for this route came to light the previous year when an accident on the interstate in downtown San Antonio became a major incident. The accident could have led to a major disaster as it involved hazardous materials in a highly populated area and it occurred on an elevated highway bridge.

              The City of San Antonio took the lead role and working with the county, all of the other jurisdictions, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) developed a transportation route through the area for all trucks carrying dangerous materials that were passing through the area without stopping. A lengthy process that included many public hearings, the Texas Department of Transportation approved the plan and it became effective in February 2000.

              The route for hazardous materials traveling through Bexar County and the City of San Antonio is once a truck enters the county on either IH 10, IH 35, etc., they shall utilize IH Loop 410 to travel around the City and exist on the appropriate roadway. No truck carrying hazardous material shall travel through downtown San Antonio on an elevated highway under this plan. Highway signs have been erected by TxDOT that identifies this route.

              The selection of Loop 410 was determined to be the safest route through Bexar County, as opposed to the outer Loop 1604. The outer loop passes over the Edwards Aquifer on the North side and around the Southern part of Bexar County Loop 1604 is only a two lane highway with cross traffic. In addition emergency service providers are scare in this part of the county and may have difficulty dealing with a major incident should it occur.

              In the City of Live Oak we cannot really control the transportation of hazardous materials, providing they have a need to be there. Tanker trucks deliver gasoline and diesel fuel on a regular basis to various locations with the City, and trucks travel along the interstate highway along within Loop 1604 and Pat Booker Road.

              In the event of a hazardous materials incident the fire department is the primary responding agency. They will attempt to first identify the product, cordon off the area, and initiate evacuation of the immediate area if necessary. Depending on the product they may be able to contain it. If the product is on fire, they may attempt to extinguish the fire, or they may determine that it is safer to let the product burn off, and insure the fire doesn’t spread. In some cases it is actually safer to let a hazardous chemical burn away than attempting to put the fire out and then have to deal with an unstable situation.

              The Live Oak Fire Department, along with several others in the Metrocom area determined that there was a need for a hazardous materials team, however no one department could establish one. As such a team was formed among the departments through an organization that already existed. The Combined Emergency Services Organization (CESO) was created many years ago and is made up of all the fire and EMS organizations in the Metrocom. At the present time a team is available to respond when notified by either the Live Oak Dispatch Center or the Universal City Dispatch Center. The team is housed at the Universal City Fire Station and one of the equipment trailers used by the team is stationed at the Live Oak Fire Station.

              In addition to this local team, in 1999 the Fire Department signed a county-wide agreement with the City of San Antonio regarding emergency response to major incidents and in 2004 the City signed a regional agreement through the Alamo Area Council of Government (AACOG).

              A serious hazardous materials accident has never occurred in the City however there is that possibility. This type of an incident can occur quickly and without any warning, and they can create a serious emergency, requiring immediate evacuations by our citizens and even the business community.

              In the event of a serious emergency or an actual disaster, it is essential that every community have a system in place to warn all of their citizens and businesses of the incident, and to provide them the necessary emergency information in a timely manner.

              The City of Live Oak benefits greatly from being part of a large metropolitan area like the City of San Antonio. The City has all major TV networks, many radio stations, and a large newspaper. The best resource in getting information to the general public is through radio and television, and all of our local media outlets have the capability of monitoring emergency radio traffic that deals with major incidents such as accidents, major fires, and hazardous materials accidents. In addition the media does an excellent job in keeping the general public informed when severe weather threatens.

              In addition to the media, the City of Live Oak has three warning systems in place to alert our citizens should an emergency occur at any time – day or night. These systems are:

              • The Emergency Alert System (EAS) for radio and television.
              • The telephone Emergency Notification System (ENS).
              • The Connect CTY Telephone System.

              The Emergency Alert System (EAS):

              The Emergency Alert System covers all radio and television stations, including all cable stations, within the San Antonio area. When this system is activated an alert tone will be broadcast on the radio or TV station, and a message crawl will generally be used that will move slowly across the top or bottom of the screen. Radio stations will simply broadcast the message. In some cases the message crawl may direct viewers to go to another channel where the message will be displayed. Most likely the local government channel. In addition, most alerts will be re-transmitted by the National Weather Service on the NOAA Weather Radio system.

              In the event of a serious emergency, the local broadcast stations such as ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, may elect to simply interrupt their programming and go “live” with their news personnel to cover the emergency and then they will pass along the emergency information.

              As a matter of information the EAS system is tested on a weekly basis, at various times during the day.

              In addition to emergency messages, the EAS system can also be used by law enforcement officials including the Live Oak Police Department, to issue an “Amber Alert” for a missing child that may be in danger or abducted. Also law enforcement agencies may also issue a “Silver Alert” for an elderly citizen who has gone missing from their place of residence. In Texas a third alert can be issued and it is known as a “Blue Alert” and it is used when citizens are asked to be on the lookout for suspects in certain crimes against law enforcement officials.

              In closing the Emergency Alert System will soon be replaced by a brand new, high tech system, that will be known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System or IPAWS. This new system is scheduled to be fully operational sometime in 2012, however a nationwide test is scheduled later this year for all radio and television stations.

              The Emergency Notification System (ENS):

              The telephone Emergency Notification System sometimes referred to as “reverse 9-1-1” uses the data base of the Bexar Metro 9-1-1 District, and is one of the most effective methods available, as it can call every telephone number in a selected area, and pass along emergency information. This system is especially useful at night when everyone is asleep and not listening to the radio or watching TV.

              This system can also be tested by selected jurisdictions around the area and a test call can be done through the Bexar Metro 9-1-1 District.

              While this system is one of the best methods for notifying the public of an emergency, technology has created some problems in today’s society. The ENS system can only call land line telephones! Cellular telephones cannot be called by this system as those numbers are not in the data base and they cannot be entered. As such the City decided we needed an option.

              Connect CTY Telephone Alerting System:

              In December 2008 the City of Live Oak - Office of Emergency Management entered into an agreement with a private company known as Blackboard Connect Inc. for their telephone system known as Connect CTY. While similar to the Emergency Notification System it has the capability to call any number entered into the system and several numbers can actually be entered. Citizens can have their home telephone number and two (2) more numbers that can be cellular telephones. In addition an e-mail address can be entered along with text messaging. This system now provides an additional resource for communicating with our citizens and the business community as well.

              In addition, while the other two system – EAS & ENS are only available for “emergency messages” we can utilize Connect CTY for other issues that may affect our citizens and the business community. Calls may be made for a major water outage, street closures, or other similar issues. We can also make public service announcement calls to pass along important City information that may occur, such as reminding citizens about a City event such as Park Day, a parade, or some other event.

              As a matter of information, only a few selected City staff members are able to make calls using Connect CTY and any announcements or similar messages must be approved by the City Manager or the Assistant City Manager. In addition, these calls will be made at a convenient time such as in the early evening hours between 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

              For additional information on Connect CTY or to sign up click on their icon below.

              Connect CTY

              Other Warning Systems:

              In the event of a serious incident such as a hazardous materials accident involving dangerous chemicals the activation of these system may take too long and therefore police officers or firefighters may have to go door to door asking people to evacuate because of the emergency or to shelter in place. Needless to say if this ever occurs, citizens should immediately take action and comply with the instructions provided by the officers or firefighters. Staying behind may place you in grave danger and we may not be able to assist residences if an area of the city becomes too dangerous due to a hazardous chemical.

              One additional warning device that is also available to all citizens and the business community is to purchase a NOAA Weather Radio. The primary purpose of these radios is for weather bulletins such as watches and warnings however the newer models on the market today include the Emergency Alert System. If an EAS bulletin is broadcast the local weather service office can immediately send it out via the NOAA Weather Radio.

                Warning Systems

                Warning Systems:

                Note: This section contains an in depth review of the various warning systems that are available to the City of Live Oak in the event of an emergency. Please take a few minutes and read this section carefully.

                General

                In the event of a serious emergency or an actual disaster it is essential that every jurisdiction have a warning system(s) in place that is capable of alerting all of their citizens and the business community, in a timely manner, of the incident, and provide necessary instructions to insure their safety.

                The problem is there is NO one system that is perfect as you will see as we outline all of the available systems. In order to resolve some of the problems the federal government has updated the nations warning system and created the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

                The City of Live Oak is very fortunate in that we are part of a large metropolitan area - the City of San Antonio. We have all of the major TV networks, many radio stations, and a major newspaper along with several small neighborhood papers. The best source in getting information to the general population is through these major media outlets and most of them have the capability of monitoring emergency radio traffic that deals with serious incidents such as accidents, major fires, hazardous materials accidents, and law enforcement issues like hostage situations. In addition, the media does an excellent job in keeping the public informed when severe weather threatens.

                In addition to the media, the following warning systems are available:

                • The Emergency Alert System (EAS) for radio and television.
                • The Emergency Notification System (ENS) (Reverse 9-1-1).
                • The Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS).
                • The National Weather Service - NOAA Weather Radio.

                In addition, the City has a separate telephone alerting system known as Connect CTY through a private company called Blackboard Connect Inc.

                The following is a general outline of these alerting systems:

                The Emergency Alert System (EAS):

                The Emergency Alert System covers all radio and television stations, including all cable systems in the San Antonio area. It replaced the old Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) many years ago. This system was recently updated and is now part of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. The primary purpose of EAS is to insure that in the event of a national emergency, such as 9-11, the President of the United States can talk to the nation. In addition to carrying national emergency messages, state and local governments can issue emergency alerts for various reasons such as hazardous materials spills and Amber Alerts for missing children. The National Weather Service, having sole responsibility for issuing weather watches and warnings, also has a direct link to EAS for this purpose.

                In accordance with an FCC directive, all licensed stations, both radio and television, must have a device to receive these messages that will then activate EAS automatically or manually. Most stations that have personnel on duty at all times will have their receiver in the manual mode. TV and radio stations with media personnel available may simply interrupt programming and go "live" with their news team to cover the emergency.

                The Emergency Alert System is tested weekly at different times. A test alert is sent and ALL stations must broadcast the test within a set period of time.

                As noted earlier, EAS is now one component of the nation's new Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

                EAS is a very effective method of notifying the general public except in the middle of the night. Most folks are asleep!

                The Emergency Notification System (ENS):

                The telephone Emergency Notification System is sometimes referred to as "reverse 9-1-1" as it uses the data base of the local Bexar Metro 9-1-1 District, and is a very effective method of notifying the general public. The system has the capability of calling every single land line in a given area in a very short period of time. It is especially useful at night when most people are asleep.

                The only problem with this system is that many homes no longer have a land line and ENS cannot call cellular numbers. Once again this alerting system is not perfect!

                The Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS):

                The Commercial Mobile Alert System is the second component of the new Integrated Public Alert and Warning System designed for cellular telephones.

                The CMAS has the capability of sending a Wireless Emergency Alert or WEA Message to your cellular phone if you are located in the danger area. It is a broadcast message from the cellular towers only in the immediate area of the emergency. Generally speaking only messages dealing with life safey can be sent by this program. Some examples could be a hazardous chemical spill, a tornado warning, or possibly a police related incident like a terrorist incident or an active shooter situation. In addition, Amber Alerts for missing children will also be received.

                A WEA Message can only be received by the newer cellular telephones on the market today. Eventually all phones will have the technology as people get updated phones from their carriers and their old phones are discarded.

                A WEA Message is sent with a special alert tone and there is no cost involved with this service.

                The National Weather Service - NOAA Weather Radio:

                The National Weather Service has the sole responsibility of advising the public of the potential for severe weather. They have numerous specialized offices across the nation such as the National Hurricane Center in Florida and the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, along with many regional and local forecast offices across the nation.

                The Storm Prediction Center is responsible for monitoring the weather across the nation and issuing predictions for severe weather events throughout the year. The regional and local forecast offices are responsible for local forecasting's and issuing weather bulletins as needed.

                In Texas we fall under the Southern Region Headquarters located in Ft. Worth. The Regional Operations Center (ROC) oversees the forecast offices within the states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Our local forecast office is the Austin/San Antonio office located at the New Braunfels Airport. These forecast offices operate 24/7/365 and they possess "Dual Pole" Doppler Radar - the best available today. Dual Pole simple means the radar beams can scan both distance and height at the same time giving a more accurate picture of storm systems.

                Each forecast office operates a NOAA Weather Radio station on a set frequency. In the San Antonio area that frequency is 162.550. NOAA weather radio is a continuous broadcast of local weather conditions, the forecast, and related information. The radio may be turned on whenever you want to listen to the forecast or get current conditions. When the radio is turned off the alert mode is set and the radio will turn on when an alert tone is sent by the NWS office to broadcast a weather bulletin such as a weather watch or a warning. As a reminder:

                • A Watch simply means conditions are favorable for a certain type of weather to occur.
                • A Warning means that type of weather is occurring now or is imminent.

                It is important to remember the difference! If a Tornado Watch is posted by the local forecast office it simply means conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form during possible storms. If a Tornado Warning is issued it's time to act! A warning is issued when a possible tornado has been detected by also called "hook echo" on radar, by opposing wind direction on radar, or by a spotter. In rare cases the NWS may issue a "Tornado Emergency" when they have absolute confirmation that a tornado is on the ground. In some cases they maybe watching it on television or they may be in direct communication with an emergency response agency, i.e. police, fire, or emergency management.

                It is recommended that all of our citizens have a NOAA weather radio in their home and even at their place of business. Most school districts have radios in every school within the district and many businesses have them as well. They are available at low cost from most electronic stores.

                In addition to issuing weather bulletins, NOAA Weather Radios can also rebroadcast emergency messages sent out by EAS to include Amber Alerts. These radios are also tested on a weekly basis with a test tone.

                In closing, a NOAA Weather Radio is one of the best investments you can make to protect your family from severe weather. Remember - the City cannot issue weather bulletins as these are the sole responsibility of the folks at the National Weather Service.

                Connect CTY Telephone Alert System:

                In light of the issues noted with EAS and ENS, the City of Live Oak decided several years ago that we needed to improve our warning capabilities with our citizens, especially those using only cellular phones as their home phone. In December 2008 the City entered into an agreement with a private company known as Blackboard Connect Inc. for their telephone system known as Connect CTY. This telephone calling system is very similar to ENS however it can call home telephones, cellular numbers, and send text messages and e-mail messages to multiple numbers at the same time. It allows citizens the capability to add whichever numbers they desire through a direct portal on the City Web Site under City Services or from the Emergency Management Section.

                In a real emergency, the Connect CTY system will probably be the first one used since it is the quickest and fastest method to notify citizens who may be in danger.

                This telephone system was added primarily for emergency notifications however citizens were advised at that time that the City may also send out other messages dealing with important issues that are not true emergencies such as water outages and street closures. These notifications cannot be sent with EAS or ENS as they are not real emergencies. In addition, informational messages are sometimes sent out relating to City events like Park Day or elections.

                The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS):

                In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the nations' warning system proved to be rather ineffective. Following several major hurricanes and other disasters over the next few years, the federal government took a hard look at the nations' warning system. In 2006 the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) was created by Executive Order # 13407, dated June 26, 2006. It created a totally new concept by linking all of the available systems together across the nation that would allow the President direct access in the event of a national emergency such as the events of 9-11.

                In creating this new system it also added the latest technology including cellular phones, text messages, and the internet including the social media sites. It also provided a means for state and local governments to get on board and have direct access to their local warning systems. As such, the City of Live Oak has entered into an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and we now have the capability to do this. Through software from the company that handles the Connect CTY system, we now have access to the Emergency Alert System, the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), and even NOAA Weather Radio.

                A few select personnel have access to the system and can create an emergency message that is sent electronically to the IPAWS Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN). This is a gateway that certifies our credentials for the message and then sends it to whatever alert system(s) we have selected.

                In closing, this section outlines the City's capabilities for warning our citizens and the business community in the event of a serious emergency. As noted the Connect CTY Telephone System will probably be the first one used followed by EAS and probably CMAS. As such, it is important the all citizens have their numbers, both home and cellular numbers in the data base.

                In addition, every home should have a NOAA Weather Radio as the National Weather Service is responsible for severe weather bulletins.

                  Weather Awareness

                    Power Outages

                    Report Power Outages to CPS Energy

                    Call: (210) 353-HELP (353-4357)

                    The loss of power is always a major inconvenience for everyone! Power outages are typically caused by severe weather, traffic accidents and sometimes equipment failure. In addition rolling blackouts may occur due to a major malfunction or when power requirements exceed the available power supply within the power grid.

                    The majority of the power grid in the State of Texas is controlled by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). On rare occasions, when demand exceeds the capabilities of the grid, ERCOT directs providers to reduce their load in order to prevent a major blackout. When this occurs, CPS Energy has a small window of time to reduce power and rolling blackouts may occur quicker than the media can spread the word.

                    As a reminder, the City of Live Oak does not handle power outages. Please DO NOT contact the Live Oak Dispatch Center regarding outages unless you have an emergency relating to the outage such as downed wires or if a nearby transformer has blown, is smoking or is on fire. In addition, the City cannot provide portable generators, battery packs, oxygen tanks or refill your existing oxygen tank. This is why it is very, very important that citizens who have special needs plan ahead before a problem arises.

                    How should you prepare for a power outage?

                    The following tips will help you be prepared for a power outage:

                    • Flashlights and extra batteries.
                    • Use candles and matches with care.
                    • Purchase a battery powered radio with extra batteries
                    • Turn off any appliances such as stoves, coffee makers, etc. that were on at the time of the outage. If you leave your home before the power is restored this appliance could cause a fire.
                    • Consider unplugging appliances to avoid damage caused by a power surge. Power surges occur when power is restored.
                    • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. These units will maintain a safe temperature for a short time provided you don't let the cold air out.
                    • Keep a reliable thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer. In the event of a lengthy power outage, you will be able to determine the exact temperature once the power is restored.
                    • Enroll in CPS Energy’s Critical Care program to minimize potential risk to customers who use electrically-operated medical equipment and/or whose physicians have verified that continued electric and/or gas service is critical to the occupant’s health.
                    • Consider purchasing a battery pack or portable generator.