MARY MEAUX — This free service will alert you to emergencies in your area – Port Arthur News

MARY MEAUX — This free service will alert you to emergencies in your area

Published 12:10 am Thursday, January 26, 2023

I had been keeping up with the weather Tuesday as I scrolled through social media and noted with a mix of disbelief and shock as a line of storms swept across far parts of the state and into Houston.

After the storm hit Houston came the videos of the destruction, from apartment buildings and overturned 18-wheelers to the roof torn off Pasadena Animal Shelter.

The skies darkened here and rain began to fall when I left work for the safety of my home. I had a text message alert as I was driving and didn’t try to check it as I focused on the road. Immediately after that was a phone call. By that time I had turned onto a street near my house and no other traffic was around, so I grabbed the phone to check and see who was calling. It was a message from the City of the Netherlands saying there was an active tornado approaching the area and to take cover now.

I’ll pause my story for a second to explain I am signed up for notifications from various local cities. Part of that is because I travel around the area because of my job, the other part is because I have family in surrounding cities.

I live in Port Arthur, but my daughter and son-in-law live in the Netherlands.

That’s when the seriousness of the situation hit me. While stopped on the side of the road I quickly copied and pasted the notification and sent it to my daughter, then got home as the rain began to hit hard.

My daughter told me her electronics went off notifying her of the tornado sighting, so she knew to get to safety. Luckily, she too is signed up for alerts.

The notifications from Southeast Texas Alerting Network are tailored to you specifically.

Netherlands City Manager Chris Duque said the notifications came in handy with the storm as well as last month when there was a boil water notice following a freeze.

The problem is getting residents signed up, he said. Duque said some people will sign up for the notifications during hurricane season but unsubscribe from the service when the season is over.

Local emergency management uses STAN to send two types of messages: emergency messages that warrant public action and outreach messages, such as in the case of street closures, water outages and traffic notices, according to thestan.com.

STAN serves Jefferson, Orange, Hardin and Jasper counties and is a free service. You can register for the notifications on the website.

So go ahead, sign up today. Your safety may depend on it.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at [email protected]

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