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July 30, 2013

Commissioners take steps to inform citizens about emergencies

GRADY COUNTY — Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are one of the new ways that Grady County residents will be able to stay aware of emergencies, according to Paulette Nicholas, Grady County Emergency Management Deputy, said.

The WEA will report alerts issued by the president, alerts involving imminent threats to safety or life and Amber alerts. The later two alerts can be programmed out, but the president alerts cannot.

The WEA will not work on all phones. Users will need to have a smartphone, Nicholas said. Not everyone will start receiving the WEA at once. The WEA is picked up by carriers.

Nicholas said that many people may have received their first message on Friday about the flash flooding.

Nicholas is in favor of the WEA.

"It's just another way we have of getting information to the general public."

The WEA works off of the GPS on the user's phone, which means that if someone not within their usual area code, they will receive alerts for the area code they are currently in.

One of the ways that WEA will be helpful in Grady County include the need to evacuate in the case of a fire. Nicholas said that, for example, during the fire in Ninnekah last summer, the WEA could have been used to alert residents in Ninnekah to evacuate their homes. Last year, Dale Thompson, Emergency Management Director, called the National Weather Service to have them issue an alert.

While there are several avenues of warning in place, Nicholas said the more avenues that emergency management has, the better.

"We really can't get enough ways to let people know what's going on," she said.

She said the alerts are similar to those that are broadcast on television.

"Not many people are at home with the television on at two in the afternoon," she said.

WEA will also be convenient for those who are away from their weather radio.

Nicholas reminded the board about the fundraiser this Sunday at the Grady County Fairgrounds in the North Building on Sunday, Aug. 4. Food will be served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The silent auction will close at 2 p.m. and all silent auction items must be picked up and paid for by 3 p.m.

Nicholas said that the fundraiser has already received a lot of very nice donations.

Nicholas reported that there is a slight chance of rain early in the week, but as of the time of the commissioner's meeting, no reports of potential flash flooding.

In other business:

•    The agreement between Industry Systems and the County Clerk was approved.

•    The bids for lighting for the Grady County Fairgrounds' parking lot were tabled. According to the meeting minutes, the construction manager advertised the bid opening at 10 a.m. on July 1, 2013 agenda stated 9:30 a.m. so the openings were set at 9:30 a.m. after speaking to Matt Keith of the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector's Office recommendation document minutes, open bids at 10 a.m. not 9:30 a.m.and move forward with the bidding process.

•    The contract with Landes Civil Engineering for the Grady County Fairgrounds was approved.

•    A request for bids for the scissor lift for the Grady County Fairgrounds was approved.

•    The Wellness Works by Vicki Hudson/Grady Memorial Hospital and Five Oaks/Industrial Medicine was cancelled.

•    The setting up of the B24-3 Capital Outlay account for the Grady County Sheriff's K-9 donation account was approved.

•    The invoice from Pinnacle Consulting Mgt. Group on Parcel 63-Sara Road Project-Payments-Radtke and Killhoffer was approved.

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