Members of Hennessey police, fire, town employees, and All About Hennessey met Monday morning, March 6th to develop the severe weather plan for this storm season. Mayor and Fire Chief Bert Gritz laid out the plan as to how the fire department will be dispatched to be the storm spotters. Police Chief Arron Pitts said that he will be at the station anytime we have the threat of severe weather. For storms that happen after business hours or on weekends, Tony Hicky will man the police station and will communicate with the police and fire via radio. The police department will be the one to trigger the siren if needed.
Jack Quirk, with All About Hennessey, spoke about the process he use to follow when he was a network TV news storm chaser. Quirk said, “My role has now changed. When I was chasing it was my job to get under the storm and tell the meteorologist what I saw, and they broadcast it to the public on TV. Now I most likely will be stationary where I can see the radar and gather information. The fire and police will be communicating with me about what they are seeing in the field. I will use All About Hennessey to broadcast the information to the public via Facebook and the AllAboutHennessey.com website.”
Quirk told the group that when Oklahoma City is in a tornado warning the television stations tend to focus their attention there and touch on our area as needed. That can be unnerving when our area is experiencing severe storms also. The planning we are doing will allow us to better take care of ourselves in those situations.
The group talked in detail about when to sound the tornado siren. If it is sounded when we go under a warning it may be too late. It was decided that if there was a warning of a storm heading toward Hennessey that was say in Okeene, but Hennessey was not in the warning yet then it would be time to sound the siren. Quirk said, “Every storm is different but it would be best to get people into the shelters before the worst of the storm was already upon us.”
The town has 2 storm shelters. One is attached to the old gym south of the library on Main St, and the second is the Eagle Event Center (The Dome). The shelter on Main Street will be unlocked and manned by a police officer if it looks like we are in the line of a storm. The Eagle Event Center front doors automatically unlock when Kingfisher County goes under a tornado warning.
It is important that you are weather aware on potential weather days. Stay near a TV or radio. Make sure you have the weather warnings turned on for your cell phone. And regularly check the All About Hennessey Facebook page and the AllAboutHennessey.com website. AAH will be constantly updating information and if we get a warning