September 2013 marks the tenth annual National Preparedness Month, officially sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the US Department of Homeland Security. As part of National Preparedness Month, the City of Cedar Park Cedar Park encourages everyone to register their mobile phones and devices for CPAlertMe, the City’s emergency mass notification tool.
Emergency Management Coordinator Michael Clanton says, “CPAlertMe is one of Cedar Park’s most valuable resources for keeping the public informed. With CPAlertMe, the City can call or text you in an emergency, such as severe weather or a natural disaster. It is truly your lifeline in a disaster.”
In order to receive text messages and phone calls from CPAlertMe, citizens must first proactively register their mobile phones or devices by visiting www.CPAlertMe.com. If you previously registered for Blackboard Connect through the City of Cedar Park, you are registered for CPAlertMe.
However, Clanton notes that CPAlertMe is a different service than the automated phone calls some citizens may periodically receive through the City’s 9-1-1 database, in which the recording says, “There is a public safety emergency in your area.”
“If you are receiving those calls, do not assume that you are registered for CPAlertMe. In order to be registered for CPAlertMe, you must have signed up for it,” Clanton says. “It only takes about a minute to register, and it could save your life.”
Clanton adds that CPAlertMe is an important part of every Cedar Park citizen’s commitment to Have a Plan, Make a Kit, Stay Informed in the event of an emergency or disaster.
“The really great thing about CPAlertMe is that if you are out of town, and there is an emergency in Cedar Park, you will still be informed,” Clanton says.
Have a Plan. Make a Kit. Stay Informed.
Have a Plan
Having a plan means creating a family disaster plan that outlines what your family will do in a disaster, including:
• How you will contact one another
• Designating a safe, interior walled space to take shelter inside your home
• A meeting place outside of your home
• Where your family will go in the event of an emergency
• Outside family members and friends you will contact
When creating your family’s plan, it is important to think ahead of any special considerations you may have, such as small children, elderly family members, and pets.
Make a Kit
Every family’s disaster supply kit should consist of a large, durable plastic container and stored in an area of the home that is easily accessible to “grab and go.” It should contain:
• A three-day supply of at least one gallon of water per family member, per day
• Three days’ worth of non-perishable food for the entire family
• Flashlight with batteries to operate
• An AM/FM radio with batteries to operate
• A mini television set that picks up local stations with batteries to operate
• A first aid kit
• A map
Being aware and informed is most important before and during a disaster. Clanton recommends the following resources to help you stay informed:
• A NOAA Weather Radio
Because severe weather happens sometimes with little warning in Central Texas, everyone should own a NOAA Weather Radio. A weather radio has an alarm that will alert you to important information and instructions before a weather threat.
CPAlertMe is the City of Cedar Park’s emergency mass notification system. CPAlertMe allows City Staff to send personalized voice messages and text messages to home, business, and mobile phones in minutes. You must register for this service in order to receive messages. CPAlertMe can also send messages to TTY/TDD devices for the hearing impaired and via e-mail if you choose. Visit www.CPAlertMe.com to register for CPAlertMe.
• City websites
The City of Cedar Park will always post emergency information and instructions on the official City government website, www.cedarparktexas.gov and also Emergency Management Office’s website, www.cedarparkprepares.com.
• Facebook and Twitter
The City will also post updates to its social media accounts. Find us at Cedar Park, Texas on Facebook and “like” us and follow @cedarparktx on Twitter to keep up with the City’s latest posts.
• Parks Tornado Alert System (PTAS)
The Parks Tornado Alert System (PTAS) consists of a warning siren located three of Cedar Park’s major Parks: Veterans Memorial Park, Elizabeth Milburn Park, and Brushy Creek Sports Park. PTAS is triggered by emergency personnel in the event of a confirmed sighting of a tornado in the immediate area. While the sirens are tested on the first Wednesday of every month at noon, they are not tested during inclement weather. Those who hear the sirens during non-testing times should leave the outdoor areas and seek shelter immediately. The sirens may possibly be overheard by those who live in the surrounding areas; however, they are not designed to be heard indoors and therefore should not be used as a primary means of notification outside of these parks.
• Local news media
Local news radio and television stations and their websites, as well as print media websites, are usually a good source of the latest information during a disaster. If you cannot receive a local radio or television station signal indoors or do not have access to the Internet, listening to your automobile radio (if it is safe for you to go outdoors) may be an option to help you stay informed.
Additional resources for how to “Have a Plan, Make a Kit, Stay Informed” are available on the City of Cedar Park Office of Emergency Management website cedarparkprepares.com.