The Amarillo/Potter/Randall Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is taking a new approach to warn residents about potentially dangerous situations in our area before they get stuck in them.
First, a new emergency alert app, called ping4alerts!, sends you emergency warnings in Potter and Randall counties all specific to your exact location.
"We can pare it down just to a parking lot or the entire area and you will receive an alert on an emergency, an incident, something to that effect," said Chip Orton, Director of Emergency Management for the Amarillo/Potter/Randall OEM.
Alerts could be for tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, grass fires, hazmat situations and more.
The app, which can be downloaded now for free for Apple and Android phones, will also alert you if you're about to drive into an area where an incident is taking place.
"When we have flooding we can draw an alert around this area where we have common flooding and when you drive into the area the app will actually alert you as soon as you break that boundary," said Orton.
As an extra precaution for flash flooding in Amarillo, the OEM has created Flood Alert Strike Teams - known as FAST.
The FAST teams will use city vehicles and warning lights to let drivers know when they're approaching a road that may be too flooded to drive through.
"The street department, we have several vehicles with the warning lights plus we have traffic control devices that we use for our daily activities that we can use to block lanes or block roadways to keep vehicles from driving into the flooded areas," said Chris Mitchell, Street Superintendent for the City of Amarillo.
In one of this year's flooding events, first responders assisted in 32 incidents where people and cars were stuck in flood waters.
They hope the FAST teams and the ping4alerts! app will prevent situations like that for residents.
TxDOT is also working to add more warning signs ahead of the areas on I-40 that flood easily, namely at Washington and Bell streets.