Rusk EOC alerts residents of bad weather through social media - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Rusk EOC alerts residents of bad weather through social media


Many East Texas county emergency operations centers were closely watching tropical storm Cindy's arrival, hoping rain would be all the storm brought.

EOC's have become the first line of defense for counties when dealing with severe weather possibilities, and some like Rusk County, have taken to technology and social media as their early warning system.

Reviewing radar mapping and tracks, members of the Rusk County EOC were relieved to see the storm was moving away.

The all-volunteer group meets once a week to plan any possible preps for upcoming weather.

"So that when something happens we're not caught behind the gun, we're out in front," says Rusk EOC Public Information Officer David Chenault. "We like to lead that way and get as much information out there as possible." 

Chenault says this information allows them to alert others of possible weather hazards. 

"When something happens we're able to make those phone calls, make those connections. Whether it's amateur radio or local law enforcement," says Chenault. 

Hit hard by 2015 tornadoes, they may have averted many injuries to citizens by their utilization of social media as their early warning system.

"Social media works very well for us in the fact that everybody has social media," says Assistant Management Coordinator Patrick Dooley.  "So you can put it out there, shoots it out get that information and that's what everybody wants, they want to know what's going on."

Rusk County Emergency Management Coordinator, James Pike, said their social media posts cover a variety of precautions. 

"We got some possibility of some severe weather coming. What kind of steps do we need to take to be prepared, " Pike said. "To look at issues that what's going to be happening in the next week or what's going on right now that we need to be looking at."

Also employing the 'Code Red' warning call system, members feel early planning sessions are key to surviving the catastrophic weather.
"We have a Hamm radio club here in town, they've been trained by the national weather service for storm spotting. What resources do we have available, who do we have available?" Chenault says.

Dooley said that social media is key in getting people the information they need during bad weather. 

"Public safety now in this age, is going a lot more towards social media for dissemination of information," Dooley says.

And they'll keep using social media to be prepared rain or shine.

"It is much better to be prepared, and not have to put it to use," Pike says.

The weather call for the Rusk EOC was canceled today after weather reports showed the storm moving away from East Texas.
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