Emergency and media officials work together to plan for future severe weather

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- When severe weather rolls in many different agencies scramble to gather information and get it out to the public as soon as possible. But now these groups are working together to keep the public as safe as possible.

First responders and emergency officials from Cooke, Grayson and Fannin Counties all gathered in Sherman Thursday for a National Weather Service Workshop.

Sarah Somers, Grayson County emergency manager, said the goal is to make sure each agency works together during severe weather events.

"A lot of folks don't know, there's kind of a Wizard of Oz behind the curtain thing that goes on to make sure warning is delivered to them when we have severe weather," she said.

It was also a chance for local media and emergency officials to learn how the other group operates.

"All of those people who work so hard to get the warning out along with national weather service are here today to make sure we coordinate right," Somers said.

Mark Fox, National Weather Service meteorologist, said his organization coordinated the event to make sure emergency managers, first responders, storm spotters and the media are all on the same page during emergency situations.

"Those things are gonna go weird, but if you know how the other agency acts or needs to know information, it just makes it easier to get the right information out to everybody," he said.

News 12 representatives and meteorologists worked alongside first responders in a mock-drill to learn how each party can cooperate and problem-solve together in a real-life situation.

"So the next time it happens, if we know 'hey, they needed to know this at about this time,' we can feed that information, hopefully make life a little easier," Fox said.

And he said it will better help the public to stay safe.

"Most of the time, you hear tornado warning and think, 'oh, I kinda wanna see that.' But if we're all talking about the same thing, same amount of damage, same amount of whatever it is, same information, consistent information. It will help people make better decisions."

The event was the first of its kind for Texoma Counties. But organizers plan to hold more in the future at least once a year.


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