March 2018 Newsletter
Director’s Message: Stay Flood Ready!
“Stay alert and have a plan!” was the message from
Director Dale Lane, Shelby County Office of Preparedness
(SCOP), as rising flood waters from the Mississippi River
and its tributaries threatened parts of Shelby County
February into March.
One of the wettest months on record, February brought
repeated rounds of heavy rainfall and widespread Mid-
South flooding. Memphis International Airport recorded
13.43 inches of rain and 14.53 inches was reported at the
Agricenter during the month.
On February 19, a flood advisory was issued
for the Mississippi River at Memphis at 23.15
feet. A flood warning was issued on February
24 for the Mississippi River at Memphis and tributaries - the Wolf River at Germantown and Rossville. On February 23, the Arkansas side of the Big River Crossing was closed due to high waters.
The Shelby County Emergency Operations Center was activated to Level 4, “Monitoring,” by
Director Lane on February 28 to coordinate the flood response with the National Weather Service and other emergency agencies as Steve Shular, P.I.O, from the Shelby County
Mayor’s Office, pushed out life-saving flood information to the public.
Flood maps were updated and released by
Shelby County Office of Preparedness GIS.
Residents on Mud Island, those living near Big
Creek, the Mirimichi Golf Course, and Cuba-
Benjestown Road were given “high water
notices” - to be ready to evacuate should rising
waters exceed forecast levels. On March 2 the
Loosahatchie at Arlington was under a flood
warning. Flooding was reported on Stewart
Road, Germantown Greenway near the Wolf
River, Island Place, and Mississippi River
Greenbelt Park. On March 3, heavy rains flooded
a Shelby County General Sessions courtroom.
On March 10, the M.C. Stiles Wastewater Treatment Facility on North Second Street
near General DeWitt Spain Airport reported
electrical failures due to the rising Mississippi
River. Malfunctioning pumps released sewagetainted
water onto the airport and out into the
Mississippi River. Some aircraft were relocated as sandbags were brought in to keep the hangers from flooding.
Water barriers were installed on both sides of Second Street near Mud Island Road as flood waters seeped in.
Crest day for the Mississippi was March 9 at 39.44 feet. Flooded roadways are reopened and the waters receding. The Stiles Wastewater Treatment plant is now working at normal capacity. Fortunately, no injuries were reported and no homes were flooded during this event. The flood warning was cancelled for the Mississippi River at Memphis on March 19 and a flood advisory ended March 22.
Director Lane reminds the public that the spring flooding may not be over yet, so “Stay Flood Ready!”
Shelby County could see more flooding this spring according to the National Weather Service. During the “2018 Spring Partners Workshop” on March 21, Zack Maye presented the NOAA Spring Flood Outlook. Moderate flooding is forecast.
Flood Preparedness Checklist:
Know your property’s flood risks.
Check your insurance coverage.
Visit www.floodsmart.gov for flood insurance.
Have a NOAA all-hazards radio.
Download free preparedness apps.
Know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning.
Have a disaster kit for home, work and auto to sustain you and your family for 7 days.
Create a home inventory with photos and serial numbers.
Know 2 routes out of your neighborhood.
Know how to evacuate to higher ground.
Have a family communications plan.
“Building Partnerships that Rock when Things Roll”
On March 6 and 7, Shelby County welcomed more than 170 private sector partners to meet with federal, state and local emergency managers at the second annual FEMA Region IV “Southeast Public-Private Partner Summit.” Participants from FEMA Region IV (Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi) gathered at the scenic FedEx Events Center at Shelby Farms Park. The two-day summit provided a unique opportunity for attendees from emergency management, businesses, non-profit organizations, and volunteer agencies to meet face-to face and share best practices before they will likely work together responding to a catastrophic event.
Patrick Sheehan, TEMA Director, spoke about the unprecedented $300 billion disaster year of 2017 that affected 25 million people. Disasters included Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the California
All of the disasters were federally
supported, state managed, and locally executed.
“We are here today to build connections and
relationships,” said Sheehan. “It’s a big world – but
the world can become small when you choose to
engage. Tennessee is only as good as the
partners we work with. It is difficult to measure
preparedness, but when it is effective you can see
a lack of confusion. When it is working, you can
hear the satisfaction from our private sector
partners - when they get the information and support they need. I urge you to participate in
planning, get to know your private sector partners, and initiate and participate in exercises.”
Dale Lane, Director Shelby County Office of Preparedness (SCOP),
encouraged the audience to be problem solvers…to be a friend to
everyone and every agency before disasters strike. Lane gave a personal
example of how partnerships were effective during Shelby County’s wind
and outage event of May 2017. This presidentially declared disaster was
an example of working well with other agencies and small businesses.
“The event left over 180,000 citizens without power, 500 roads blocked,
And 200 homes damaged but due to preparation and partnerships,
there were no fatalities and no major injuries.”
FEMA Region IV Southeast Public-Private Partner Summit:
“Building Partnerships that Rock when Things Roll” (continued)
Terry Donald, SCOP Officer, gave a presentation about the Shelby Cares Faith-Based sheltering initiative. Churches and houses of worship partner with Shelby County to provide housing for those in need both here in the Mid-South and for evacuees from the Gulf Coast. Donald’s catch phrase for all he does is “TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More!”
The summit was memorable for strengthening connections and building relationships between federal and state agencies and private sector partners, and inviting small businesses and grass root organizations to join emergency management.
Captions: Left: SCOP Officer Terry Donald presents information on Shelby Cares Faith-Based Sheltering Initiative.
9-1-1 Celebrates 50 Years
In January of 1968, a 3-digit number, 9-1-1, was introduced as the universal emergency phone number for the public. On February 16, 1968, Senator Rankin Fite made the first 9-1-1 call in Haleyville, Alabama. On February 16, our 9-1-1 call system celebrated 50 years of service.
The Shelby County Office of Preparedness would like to thank the 9-1-1 professionals, in Shelby County and throughout the United States, for the important work they do as the vital communications link between emergency responders and the public.
Their efforts save thousands of citizens every day. They are the unsung heroes of public safety.
Shelby County School Safety Task Force Created
In the wake of the Parkland, Florida mass school shooting tragedy on February 14, Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr., in a proactive measure, created a special task force to enhance safety for Shelby County Schools.
“This is an urgent matter for our community…..a critical issue that needs a comprehensive approach. That is why I asked the top leaders of law enforcement and related agencies to join me in this effort,” said Mayor Luttrell.
Topics at the initial meeting included: Strengthening security at Shelby County Schools; Providing threat-assessment and readiness training for students, faculty and staff; Enhancing collaboration with law enforcement and school security officers; Ensuring coordinated and swift response about threatening social media posts; Continuing to provide free active shooter training for citizens and community groups; and Encouraging citizens to be the eyes and ears of law enforcement and report suspicious activity.
Task force members include: Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson, Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings, Shelby County Schools Director of Student Services Gerald Darling, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Floyd
Bonner, Shelby County Office of Preparedness Director Dale Lane, U.S. Attorney for
Western District of Tennessee Michael Dunavant, Shelby County District Attorney General
Amy Weirich and Memphis and Shelby Crime Commission President Bill Gibbons.
Active Shooter Awareness Training for National Civil Rights Museum
“Be aware! Pay attention! It takes all of us to be vigilant and watchful,” warned Officer Terry Donald from the Shelby County Office of Preparedness speaking to 65 National Civil Rights Museum employees on February 13. As they sat wide-eyed and alert, employees learned how to best survive an active shooter event. Officer Donald reviewed active shooter profiles (an active shooter can be anyone), the history of these events in the United States, and how to implement the “Run, Hide, Fight” response.
Officer Donald told the crowd, “You must always have a plan to survive! Each one of us has courage
And this is the time to use yours during an active shooter event.”
The Shelby County Office of Preparedness was honored to be a part of the National Civil Rights
Museum 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination (MLK50) by training employees in active shooter awareness. The MKL50 commemoration runs from April 4, 2017 to April 4, 2018.
Caption: SCOP Officer Donald, center, teaching the “Run, Hide, Fight” active shooter defense technique at the National Civil Rights Museum.
Carbon Monoxide Safety On February 10, two men and a 4-year year old child were found dead by an MLGW employee visiting a Shelby County home to reconnect the electrical power, according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. A generator may have been involved and the victims were overcome by the carbon monoxide, according to Brent Perkins, Shelby County Fire Department P.I.O. The Shelby County Fire Department reminds you to never use camping stoves, devices that use charcoal, propane, gasoline (especially generators) inside of a home. If you use generators outside, keep them more than a car’s length (15 feet or more) from open windows and doors. “We’ve seen people use generators inside garages often for security reasons,” said Brent Perkins. “This is never a good idea. The build-up of carbon monoxide in a living space will eventually become
fatal even if there are closed doors between the garage and home. Purchase a UL (Underwriter Laboratories) approved carbon monoxide detector and properly install it according to the manufacturer’s directions. Exposure to this odorless colorless gas can cause you to pass out or even die. People experience symptoms that include headaches, dizziness, chest pain, nausea and vomiting.” Other safety tips include the reminder to not use frayed electric cords with a generator, not to re-fill the fuel tank while the unit is running – shut it off and let it cool prior to re-filling. Generators are built to use OUTSIDE. No one wants to have a generator stolen, especially when emergency situations make them so important. But take good common sense approaches to their use and you won’t become a victim of your own tools. Play it safe. Get generators outside away from the house.
Outreach: “Soup for the Soul” Conference
On February 3, St. Stephen Baptist Church at 4245 Singleton Parkway, led by Senior Pastor Dr. James A. Adams, invited the Shelby County Office of Preparedness (SCOP) to participate in the “Soup for the Soul” Conference. Sylvia Sander, organizer, brought together 50 church members for this day-long spiritual and educational event. SCOP presented information on how citizens, families and churches can prepare for the most common disasters that may occur in Shelby County, what supplies to include in a disaster kit, and the importance of communications devices such as a cell phone and NOAA all-hazards radio during a disaster.
The church members continued with the preparedness theme by having a group discussion using SCOP’s “5 Easy Steps to Preparedness” form following the lecture.
Caption: The St. Stephen Baptist Church members at the Soup for the Soul Conference.
Outreach: Millington Library “Senior Day”
On February 23, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness was delighted to join the Millington Fire Department, the Brian Callies Foundation, and Fast Pace Urgent Care for the first annual Millington Library “Senior Day.”
Area seniors were welcome to visit with these agencies to obtain valuable information about health and public safety.
Seniors were also invited to get free assistance with tax preparation in the same location.
Caption: Millington Fire Department employees, Millington Library associates, and Fast Pace Urgent Care employees visited with the Shelby County Office of Preparedness during “Senior Day.”
Shelby County Infrastructure: MemFix4
On February 16, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) project managers, Mohamed Osman, Ph.D., P.E., and Jay Armstrong, presented information about the new “MemFix4” project during the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) February monthly meeting.
The $54 million bridge rehab project will replace or repair 4 Memphis bridges using the Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) method.
Their goal is to provide safe travel for vehicles traveling Poplar and Park Avenue, trains on the Norfolk Southern Railroad, and those driving under the 1-240 bridges. Starting June 2018, there will be short-term road closures in order to give crews more space to perform construction and to safely move their equipment through the work zones.
Using the ABC method, these projects will be completed in a matter of months instead of years. Construction is expected to be completed by June 2019.
For more information on MemFix4 to or to sign up for email updates from TDOT, please visit: www.tn.gov/tdot/projects/region-4/memfix4.html
Caption: Right: TDOT Project Manager Mohamed Osman explains the MemFix4 project at the Shelby County UASI February meeting.
Storm Advisory Task Force: “Taking Action, Saving Lives” Following Shelby County’s historic May 27, 2017 straight-line wind and massive power outage event, a “Storm Advisory Task Force” was formed to better communicate with the public and from emergency agencies when severe weather events occur in Shelby County. This special task force includes representatives from agencies that include the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, MLGW, public works departments, and local meteorologists. Caption: May 28, 2017 downed trees on North Parkway.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers “Prep Talks,” video presentations by subject matter experts on topics related to disaster preparedness. Each talk includes question and answer sessions and discussions on our most urgent preparedness topics. Citizens are welcome to use these helpful videos at community events. Visit https://www.fema.gov/preptalks to view the videos.
Mid-South SKYWARN class: March 27 at 7:00 p.m. at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 6865 Poplar Pike, Memphis, TN. Contact: Joe Lowenthal, WA4OVO at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.weather.gov/meg/skywarn_meetings for class times and locations.
SKYWARN on-line: https://www.meted.ucar.edu/training_course.php?id=23
Active Shooter Awareness Training: FREE!
Active Shooter Awareness Training, a 90 minute video and lecture presentation, teaches citizens how to prepare for and to survive active shooter events. To schedule a presentation for your group, please visit our web site at www.staysafeshelby.us and fill out the “request a speaker” form.
View the “Run, Hide, Fight: Surviving an Active Shooter Event” video at https://youtu.be/5VcSwejU2D0.
Community Emergency Response Team: FREE! This 2-day preparedness class is presented on 2 consecutive Saturdays. CERT teaches citizens what to do before, during and after disasters though lectures, videos, and hands-on training.
Next class: April 7 and 14, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Must attend both Saturdays to graduate. Register at www.staysafeshelby.us or call 901-222-6706.
FEMA Emergency Management Institute: FREE!
Distance learning from the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) offers self-paced courses for emergency managers and the general public. To view the list of Independent Study (IS) courses and to register, please visit https://training.fema.gov/is/
Ham Radio Weekly Check-In: SCOPERNET. All licensed hams are welcome to “check-in” with us every Monday at 6:00 p.m., on 147.09 repeater and tone 107.2.
Shelby County Office of Preparedness: www.staysafeshelby.us
Request a Speaker: Email Shelby.email@example.com, fill out the “Request a Speaker” form on www.staysafeshelby.us or call us at 901.222.6706.
Join us! Volunteer Opportunities:
Reserves: Email Shelby.Logan@shelbycountytn.gov
Shelby Cares: Email Terry.Donald@shelbycountytn.tn.gov