November Newsletter- Holiday Preparedness

               During this season of giving, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness extends a heartfelt thank you to those who shared their gifts to support Shelby County in times of disaster.  You donated money to the American Red Cross and  other disaster relief organizations, assisted in the Shelby Cares evacuee shelters, invited neighbors in who needed a place to stay, helped clear storm debris, and  donated food, water and other goods during the Memorial Day event and the back to back Atlantic hurricanes. Your gifts were noticed and appreciated.                  

 Shelby County Office of Preparedness Holiday Gift Guide: Nothing says “I care” like a prep gift.  Here are some gift suggestions for your family and friends.          

 FREE:           Update your family emergency plans          

Download preparedness apps- (ReadyTN,  FEMA, American Red Cross)        

 Invite friends to attend a CERT class        

 Perform an earthquake “hazard hunt”          

Fill out the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (                  


 Pay to have a friend’s pet micro-chipped            

Create small disaster kits for your children (and let them help)          

Help a senior family member build a disaster kit          

 NOAA radio /with attachments for special needs citizens          

Flashlight and batteries          

ABC fire extinguisher          

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors          

Portable toilet          

Set of family radios          

First aid kit          

Metal whistle          

Emergency Mylar blankets          

Emergency utility shut off tool          

Light sticks

St. Jude Marathon Safety  Shelby County will welcome thousands of runners from around the world for the 16th annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend of December 2.  In 2016 over 23,000 participated in this important fund raising event racing through downtown and midtown streets to raise money for St. Jude kids.   The Shelby County Office of Preparedness (SCOP) will be working in partnership with law enforcement and state and local emergency management agencies to ensure the event is safe for runners, volunteers and spectators.  The Office of Preparedness reminds everyone to review these safety tips:   Stay alert in areas with limited entrances and exits.  Have an escape plan in mind.   Know where the exits and security are located.  Keep a charged cell phone with you.  If you observe suspicious activity, report it to authorities.   Remember, “If you see something, say something!”    National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin   The Department of Homeland Security has updated and extended the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin for six months. The bulletin updates information about unmanned aircraft systems as possible threats, outlines the ongoing threats to commercial aviation and air cargo, and explains homegrown violent extremists. DHS explains the tools terrorists are using to target public places and events (vehicle ramming, small arms, and bladed weapons). DHS stresses citizens should remain vigilant and be prepared when traveling and attending public events.   The NTAS has two kinds of advisories: bulletins and alerts:    NTAS Bulletins:  General developments regarding threats of terrorism, non-specific threats against the United States. Citizens are encouraged to implement necessary protective measures.  NTAS Alerts: Specific information about the nature of a threat are communicated as well as the steps citizens should take to protect themselves.   Alerts are either elevated or imminent.   Elevated Alerts: there is a credible threat but only general information about timing and the targets.    Imminent Alerts:  a threat is credible, specific and impending in the near future.   Advisories are posted at and distributed to the media and on social media To read the new NTAS Bulletin, visit   
Gatlinburg Fire Anniversary  The Shelby County Office of Preparedness extends support to the citizens and first responders of Sevier County as they hold a memorial service on November 28 observing the one year anniversary of the Smokey Mountain wildfires.    Following a four-month severe drought, contained wildfires that started November 23 on Chimney Tops grew out of control when 60+ mph winds blew the flames for miles igniting as many as 50 fires. The fires threatened the resort town of Gatlinburg killing 14 citizens, most overcome by smoke, and destroying over 2,500 buildings. Many of the homes and businesses are now being rebuilt and tourism is increasing.   Caption: Smoldering debris from the Gatlinburg wildfires November 28, 2016.    Disaster Training for Volunteers  Volunteers from Shelby County emergency agencies gathered at the FedEx Event Center at Shelby Farms on October 19th for an appreciation dinner and training. Agencies recognizing their valuable volunteers included: the American Red Cross Mid-South Chapter, Ready Shelby, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, Shelby County Medical Reserve Corps and the Memphis Office of Emergency Management.  The keynote speaker was Jan Young, Assisi Foundation.   Caption:  Left to right: Dale Lane, Director Shelby County Office of Preparedness, congratulates SCOP Reserve Brandon Carpenter.  Photo by Linda Benson.   Outreach:  Thank you for inviting the Shelby County Office of Preparedness (SCOP) to your community event as guest speakers and to distribute preparedness literature.  If you would like to invite us to your community event, please visit  Fill out the “request a speaker” form or call 901.222.6706.         

 Shelby County Employees:  Shelby County Employees were excited to hear life-saving information about active shooter awareness and disaster preparedness from the Shelby County Office of Preparedness (SCOP) on October 27 at 6465 Mullins Station Road.  FEMA brochures and HELP / OK signs were handed out. Demonstrations included how to assemble a disaster kit and the types of personal preparedness equipment (PPE) to have on hand.   Caption:  SCOP Officers Jordan Atamanuik (3rd from left) and Terry Donald (far right) (featured speaker), during the presentation.    2017 Ready Shelby Day:   Memphis Zoo’s Teton Trek was the location for the “2017 Ready Shelby Day – Preparing Families for Emergencies” on October 28.    Greeted by Izzy the Fire Dog and Patricia Belt, families visited with the Shelby County Office of Preparedness (SCOP), the Memphis Office of Emergency Management, the Memphis Fire Museum, Ready Shelby, the American Red Cross Mid-South Chapter, and the Shelby County Health Department Public Health.    Families learned compression only CPR, picked up plastic red fire helmets, were given bags of FEMA brochures and coloring books, and made greeting cards for “Holidays Mail for Heroes.”  Caption: Left:  Jordan Atamaniuk, SCOP Officer, offers light sticks and coloring books to the kids. Right: Izzy the Fire Dog and Patricia Belt from the Fire Museum greet visitors.        

Outreach (continued):  Memphis Police Citizens Academy Appling Farms  The Shelby County Office of Preparedness participated as guest speakers during the Memphis Police Department Appling Farms Precinct Citizens Academy on November 2.  The nine-week course invited citizens to get involved in their community and learn about safety. Several students in the class gave personal testimony about surviving earthquakes in California, which gave special meaning to the “Drop, Cover, Hold” maneuver when it was presented.    Caption:  MPD Citizens Academy students fill bags with preparedness handouts and FEMA brochures during the Applying Farms Citizens Academy presentation.      St. Andrew AME Church Health Fair ad 5K  The Hamilton High School marching band and cheerleaders entertained citizens attending the 7th annual St. Andrew AME Church Health Fair and 5K at 1472 Mississippi Blvd on November 4.  Rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the runners who finished their race and then attended the health fair in the Community Life Center.  Participating in this fun event was the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, Baptist Healthcare, the Dental Connection, the Wings Foundation and Sickle Cell.    Caption: Citizens picked up HELP / OK signs from the Shelby County Office of Preparedness.    Christ Baptist Church Health and Safety Fair                        Christ Baptist Church invited citizens to a health and safety fair at 3826 Mickey on November 11.  Helpful information was presented by the Memphis Police Department, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness, United Health Care, St. Francis Hospital, Baptist College of Health Science, Mid-South Transplant, University of Memphis Nursing School, the Surgery Center, and the Mid-South Food Bank.   Caption: Charles Sims wins a disaster kit door prize from Barbara Smith, organizer.     

Get Mobile Ready!   Now is the time to get your vehicles “mobile ready” for winter weather.  The Shelby County Office of Preparedness offers these suggestions:    Emergency Kit:  Include NOAA weather radio, cellphone and charger, flashlight and batteries, jumper cables, ice scraper, kitty litter (for tire traction), HELP/OK sign or reflective triangle, first-aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food,  portable toilet, shovel, tools, gloves, boots, scarf, emergency blanket, and poncho.  Tune Up: Have a mechanic check:  tires, wipers, fuel and air filters, heater, defroster, headlights, hazard lights, oil, thermostat, antifreeze, battery, ignition, brakes, and exhaust.  Fill Up: Keep your gas tank full.   For more information, please visit:   iPhone Emergency SOS  iPhones now offer an emergency SOS feature.  For iPhone X, 8 or 8 Plus, just press and hold the side button and a volume button until the Emergency SOS slider appears.  Drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services.  On an iPhone 7 or earlier, press the side button five times and the Emergency SOS slider appears. Your iPhone will automatically call emergency services.  Or drag the Emergency SOS slider to call emergency services.  After the call ends, your iPhone sends your emergency contacts a text with your current location, unless you cancel it.  To learn how to enter emergency contacts, turn off and on “auto call” and stop an Emergency SOS call, contact your cell phone provider.       JetStream – Online School for Weather  The National Weather Service invites you to explore JetStream – An Online School for Weather.  The information is presented for educators, emergency managers, or anyone interested in learning about weather, the earth’s atmosphere, and weather safety.  To explore JetStream, please visit:  
Are you Safe On-line?   As “cyber Monday” extends to cyber week and into cyber month, ensure you are cyber aware and safeguard your personal information.  Here are some suggestions to stay safe:   Shop online only from your secure home wireless network.  Do not shop on unsecure wireless networks (public wireless networks or hotspots.) Limit activity if using hotspots. Do not log onto email or financial services.   Enter URL’s by hand instead of following a link you are unsure of.  Trust your gut. If you think an offer is too good to be true, it probably is.  Do not click on links or pop-ups, open attachments, or respond to emails from strangers.  Do not respond to requests for personal information.  Password protect all devices that connect to the internet.  Use credit cards instead of debit cards.  There are laws limiting your liability for fraudulent credit card charges.  Ensure information is encrypted (a URL beginning with HTTPS: and a padlock icon.)  Create strong passwords or touch ID features to lock devices.  Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use.  Update security software often to defend against viruses, malware, and other threats.  Delete apps no longer needed.   Report cyber incidents to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center:  Please visit: and   Mississippi River at Memphis    The Mississippi River at Memphis measured 8.26 feet on November 30, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) Advanced Hydrologic  Prediction Service.  Minor flood stage is 34 feet.  For the lastest river levels, visit   Captions: Left: Mississippi River at Memphis from Tom Lee Park, downtown Memphis, TN on November 29.   
   Significant Weather:    October 27:  Freeze watch.  November 18:  Wind Advisory.  Severe Thunderstorm Watch  National Weather Service 7-Day Hazardous Outlook:  Caution should be used in outdoor burning.  Strong thunderstorms are possible Monday afternoon through Tuesday ahead of an approaching cold front. Visit for more information.                    Caption: Clouds over the Mississippi River, Nov. 18.     Atlantic Hurricane Season: The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season, from June 1 to  November 30, has been described as “hyperactive.”   There were 17 named storms and multiple Category 5 hurricanes making 2017 the fifth most destructive since record keeping began in 1851.  It is the costliest season on record with damages over $368.66 billion.  Irma, the strongest hurricane to form in the Atlantic outside of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, was followed by Tropical Storm Cindy.  Shelby County received heavy rains, winds, and power outages as Cindy marched inland after hitting Louisiana.  In August, Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S.  since Wilma in 2005.  Harvey, the costliest tropical cyclone on record, dropped the most rainfall by a tropical cyclone in the U.S.  In September, Hurricane Irma was the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4.  In late September, Hurricane Maria was the first Category 5 to strike the island of Dominica.  Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4. The season also had the fastest-moving tropical cyclone recorded in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Nate.   Caption: June 22, 2017, Tropical Storm Cindy hovers over downtown Memphis.   Whole Community Disaster Communications: Bridging the Gap  Emergency Awareness and Readiness Services, Inc. (EARS) of Middle Tennessee invites the public to the “Whole Community Disaster Communications:  Bridging the Gap Workshop.”  The event is for citizens who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, and emergency responders. Information will be presented to help everyone better communicate in emergency situations.  The event is free.  The date is December 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.   Lunch will be served.  The location is the Shelby County Emergency Operations Center, 1075 Mullins Station Road, Building C, Memphis, TN  38134.  To register, visit 

SKYWARN: MidSouth SKYWARN training classes, please visit:  SKYWARN on-line training, please visit:   Active Shooter Awareness Training:    Active Shooter Awareness is a 90 minute video and lecture presentation to teach citizens and organizations how to survive active shooter events.  Visit to request a speaker.     Community Emergency Response Team Training:  This 2-day preparedness class teaches citizens what to do before, during and after disasters until professional responders arrive.  Presented with lectures, videos, and hands-on training, CERT is offered on 2 consecutive Saturdays. The next CERT class:  February 3 and 10, 2018 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Visit to register.   Amateur “Ham” Radio: Amateur “Ham Radio” Weekly Check-In:  SCOPERNET on Mondays, 6:00 p.m., 147.09 repeater, tone 107.2.     Flag Status:  Full staff.  Emergency Operations Center Activation Status:  November 30, 2017 The Shelby County Office of Preparedness is at activation Level 5, Normal Operations. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is at activation Level 5, Normal Operations.      Shelby County Office of Preparedness:  Twitter  @SCOP_HLS_EMA       Facebook!  Volunteer:     Reserves:  Email  Shelby Cares:  Email  Storm Shelter Registry:   Email  Active Shooter Awareness Training and Request a Speaker: Call 901.222.6700, email, or visit  Community Emergency Response Team Training:  Register at