Severe Weather? Garfield County, Okla., has an App for That

The app features push notifications, access to Garfield County Emergency Management’s social media, alerts from the National Weather Service and a real-time reporting feature.

by Cass Rains, Enid News / March 30, 2015
Thunderstorm and super cell clouds observed over Enid, Okla. Flickr/NOAA

(Tribune News Service) — Severe weather in Garfield County, Okla.? There’s an app for that.

The Garfield County EM app has been live since January, and Certified Director of Enid and Garfield County Emergency Management Mike Honigsberg said it’s been thoroughly tested.

“We’ve been active on the app since the end of January and we’ve put it through its paces, too.”

There are Android and Apple versions, available for free on Google Play or the iPhone App Store, and can be found by searching for “Garfield County EM.”

The app features push notifications, access to Garfield County Emergency Management’s social media, registry with Nixle and alerts from the National Weather Service, and a real-time reporting feature.

“We can send push notifications on the system, and depending on how you have your phone set up, it will tone your phone,” Honigsberg said.

He said he types his own warnings issued through the app but also includes the National Weather Service warnings issued for the area.

The app includes links to Garfield County Emergency Management’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as links to directly register with the alert system Nixle.

“It will take you to our website to our storm shelter registry, to our preparedness tips and to our blog,” Honigsberg said of the app. “The cool thing about the emergency contacts is all the fire departments, county numbers and a few federal ones are all in there.”

The app also has a weather radar, direct links to National Weather Service alerts and forecast information.

Honigsberg said one of the key features of the app is under the damage reports heading.

“You can type in your location, put in your contact information, select a photo or take a photo, and you can send us the information in real time,” he said. “If you have large hail falling at your house, you can send that information to me immediately.”

He said the features works well and also sends information sent under the damage reports to his email and phone.

“If you just want to give us information, you can do that. It’s not strictly for damage,” Honigsberg explained. “If there is a problem or something like that and you don’t know who to get hold of, contact us and we’ll route it to the proper authorities.”

Honigsberg said when he began as emergency management director 19 years ago, he never imagined having the technology in the emergency management center today.

“I had no clue I would be doing all this stuff way back then,” he said. “It’s just amazing how technology has changed and what we can do with all of this now. We went from the single-screen computers to the four-panel super computers down here.”

©2015 the Enid News & Eagle (Enid, Okla.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC