Public Warning Systems
Emergency Alert System (EAS) in Teton County is tested every Wednesday between 11am and 1pm, as long as there is no severe weather in the area.
To learn more about Teton County's siren warning system, click here, and click here for our EAS reference sheet flier/mailer
Informing the Public in Times of Crisis
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a nationwide network designed to inform and give instructions to the public before, during, and after disasters. At the federal level, only the President has the authority to enact a nationwide EAS broadcast, and he delegates that authority to the head of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If a nationwide activation ever occurred, you would receive the EAS message the same way you do for local EAS activations. Click on the diagram below to see one way that the EAS could work to deliver a message to you as a member of the public:
Click for larger view
Federal and State EAS Components
Locally, Teton County Emergency Management has access and authority to activate the EAS along with several other key groups. We have local devices that we use to alert the public, and we can also access parts of the state and federal EAS to distribute messages as the situation dictates.
NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio Network
As can be seen in the diagram above, we have access to several methods of communication during a disaster. At the federal level, we can have the National Weather Service (NWS) send messages for us over their NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio network. With one press of the button from the NWS office in Riverton, they can send our message out to all NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radios (which, with the alert function, will turn on automatically), local television, and local radio. Additionally, these messages will be broadcast over Wyoming's law enforcement teletype network, delivering the message to dispatch centers all over our area.
Electronic Highway Signs
At the state level, we can request Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) to put important messages (such as "tune to 96.9 for an important emergency message") on their electronic highway signs in Teton County. This would cover commuters and those who are on the road when an EAS activation occurs. These signs are located at:
Intersection of S Highway 89 and Highway 22, northbound and southbound (The "Y")
Highway 22 west of Wilson, westbound (heading up Teton Pass from Wilson)
Highway 22 at the state line, eastbound (west side Teton Pass)
S Highway 89 north of Hoback Junction, southbound
Wyoming State Warning Point
Additionally, our dispatch center has several direct communication methods with the Wyoming Highway Patrol dispatch in Cheyenne, which is our state-level warning point. We can receive warnings from the state and we can alert them of situations occurring in Teton County that they may not be aware of.
Local EAS Components
Teton County itself has resources that are part of the EAS.
Outdoor Warning Sirens
One of these resources are outdoor warning sirens. Although most cannot distribute a message, they can alert people so that they turn on their NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio, television, or AM/FM radio to get the emergency message. Teton County has outdoor warning sirens in the locations listed on the interactive map below:
Clickable map of Teton County outdoor warning sirens
View Larger Map
The following links are images of computer-modeled audible ranges for the sirens. Keep in mind that these are estimates, and rather conservative ones at that:
Not all areas of the county are, or ever could be, covered by outdoor warning sirens. Our topography prevents these from being an effective warning system for outlying areas of the county, which is why they are found in more populated areas. Even if you live near a siren, they are not designed to penetrate buildings; they are intended to warn those who are outside. Although some people may be able to hear these sirens inside of their homes, it may not be loud enough to wake you up if you were sleeping, for instance. For this reason, Teton County Emergency Management suggests that everyone, including those who live near the sirens, has a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. This ensures that you will receive timely notifications, and the alert function is loud enough to wake most people up.
In Teton County, a 3 minute continuous wail means tune to local radio, TV, or All-Hazards Weather Radio for further information. When Teton County tests its siren system, it will use a 1 minute or less wail. You can click the picture of the siren to hear what a typical tone sounds like, but be sure to turn down your speakers, it is loud! Additionally, the sirens located at Station 1 downtown and in Teton Village are voice-capable, and can relay voice messages within a 1/2 mile radius.
Local Television and Radio
We have several local media outlets that participate in the EAS. They are:
Bresnan is our local cable television provider, and they will broadcast EAS statements. If your television is on, you will hear a tone and it will change whatever channel you are watching to channel 13 where the screen will be black and scroll the EAS message across in white letters.
KJWY Channel 2
This is our local over-the-air NBC television affiliate. If you do not have cable, but can receive channel 2 over your antenna, this can be your EAS provider. If you are tuned to channel 2 on your television when the EAS is activated you will hear a tone then see the EAS message scroll across the screen. There will also be a voice reading the message aloud as it scrolls.
Radio stations FM 95.3 KZJH, FM 96.9 KMTN, FM 93.3 KJAX, 89.1 FM KHOL, FM 97.7 KJHB LP, and AM 1340 KSGT.
All of these radio stations will tone out and then broadcast EAS statements, preempting the current programming. Once again, your radio must be on and you must be tuned to one of these radio stations to receive the alert. Be advised that 90.3 KUWJ (NPR) will generally only make EAS statements for statewide emergencies as opposed to local emergencies since the station is based in Laramie.
Keep in mind that if you have satellite radio (such as XM Radio or Sirius Radio) or if you have satellite television (such as Direct TV or Dish Network) you will not receive local EAS messages. The only media that broadcast local EAS messages are local outlets, and only in the case of a national EAS activation would satellite radio or television broadcast EAS statements. If non-local providers are the only media services that you typically watch or listen to, Teton County Emergency Mangement strongly suggests that you have a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio so that you may receive local EAS messages.
Teton County's Emergency Web Ticker at www.tetonwyo.org
When information needs to be relayed to the public regarding general safety or emergency information, a ticker will scroll across the top of the screen with relevant information and web links.
Teton County Emergency Management's Twitter Feed
If you aren't familiar with Twitter, it is a free service that allows you to post short snippets about what you are doing and others can follow your "feed" to read up on your activities.
Emergency Management is using this to inform the public of routine day-to-day activities, but in times of emergency will utilize this service to give information to the public. To follow our feed click the button below and click "follow" in the upper left under the Emergency Management logo.
Nixle Emergency Email/SMS Alert System
This service allows our agency to relay emergency information to the public via email and SMS (text) messages. You simply sign up at www.nixle.com and be sure to list one of your locations as being within Teton County. Your personal information is not accessible by Teton County, and is kept secure by Nixle within the same facility that houses the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS).
Public Address Systems on Emergency Vehicles
This method is very localized, and would be used if a disaster were affecting a particular neighborhood. What would happen is Teton County Sheriff's Office, Jackson Police Department, and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS vehicles equipped with loudspeakers and sirens would drive through neighborhoods advising the area that the EAS has been activated and they need to tune to radio, television, or NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio for further information.
Lastly, Teton County may use Search and Rescue teams, CERT members, or other personnel to go door-to-door to deliver the emergency message to affected neighborhoods.
What do I need to do?
First, make sure that you have multiple methods to receive EAS broadcasts. These can be a reliable AM/FM radio, television (not satellite), or a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio. Many times for smaller scale events (such as winter weather shutting down highways) radio, NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio, and television will be the only systems that will be used to notify the public. Other elements such as sirens, emergency vehicles, and highway signs are usually used for larger scale or more imminent disasters.
If you receive an EAS broadcast, listen carefully. Be sure that it affects your geographic area, then be sure to follow any instructions given. These can be evacuation orders including routes to take, instructions on how to shelter-in-place, directions to Red Cross shelters, or information related to the disaster or pending disaster.