November 21, 2018

Winter Weather Preparedness

As the winter season approaches, the National Weather Service encourages people to prepare for extreme winter conditions by taking the following steps:

– Check your vehicle’s battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer, ignition, thermostat, and tires.

– Even if you do not make long trips, put a winter survival kit in each vehicle–you may need it if your car breaks down or you have an accident.  It should contain a windshield scraper, jumper cables, tool kit, tow chain or rope, tire chains, bag of sand or cat litter, shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, warm boots, coat, hat, gloves, and a blanket.  For longer trips; add extra clothes, sleeping bags, a portable radio, high-calorie nonperishable food, matches and candles, and large coffee cans for sanitary purposes or burning candles.

– Keep an adequate supply of fuel for your home or get an alternative heating source.  Learn how to operate stoves, fireplaces, and space heaters safely and have proper ventilation to use them.

– Add insulation to your home; caulk and weather-strip doors and window sills; install storm windows or cover windows with plastic.

– Stock emergency supplies at home; such as flashlights, candles, matches, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, and a first-aid kit.

– Monitor Internet web sites, NOAA Weather Radio, or local radio or television stations for forecasts and information about impending storms.


Know the terms used to describe hazardous winter weather and what actions to take for each situation.

A WINTER STORM WATCH means a dangerous winter storm is possible.  WATCHES are issued to give people time to prepare for hazardous conditions before they develop.  When a WATCH is in effect:

– Postpone trips or take a different route.  Put a survival kit in your vehicle.  Tell someone your schedule and route; call them when you arrive at your destination.  If possible, travel in daylight and use major highways.  Keep your fuel tank as full as possible to avoid ice in the tank and lines.

– At home; have high energy food or food that requires no cooking, one gallon of water per day for each person, and enough fuel for the duration of the storm.  Don’t forget special items for your family such as prescription medicine, baby formula and diapers, and pet food!

– Consider having elderly, ill, or oxygen-dependent family, friends, and neighbors who live in rural areas stay someplace where heat and electric power are available.


WINTER STORM AND BLIZZARD WARNINGS mean a dangerous storm will occur.

– Do not travel.  You are safer to stay where you are rather than risk getting stranded in a ditch.

– If you have no heat, close off unneeded rooms and wear extra clothes.

– Do not operate power generators indoors.


WIND CHILL WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES stress the increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia during cold and windy conditions.

– Stay inside as much as possible.  If you go outdoors; wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing and water-repellent outer garments. Cover all parts of your body; especially your head, face, and hands.

– When working outdoors, do not overexert yourself.  Remove damp clothing as soon as possible to avoid becoming chilled.


Additional information on preparing for winter weather is available from your county emergency management office, American Red Cross, or National Weather Service at


Nationwide Test of Emergency Alert Systems Oct. 3


PIERRE, S.D. – Cell phone users will be part of a nationwide test of emergency alert systems scheduled for this Wednesday, Oct. 3. The test had originally been scheduled for Sept. 20, but was postponed.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA). The WEA portion of the test begins at 1:18 p.m. CDT. The EAS portion begins at 1:20 p.m. CST.

All smartphone users will receive a wireless alert test message during the WEA scenario. The message will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Cell phones will display the test message under the header “Presidential Alert.”

Phone numbers are not shared with anyone.

Tina Titze, director of the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management, says the WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather or other critical situations. She says the test warning will be broadcasted for about 30 minutes, but cell phones will receive the message just once.

“This is the system that is used when the public, especially in a specific area, needs to be notified immediately,” she says. “This is a way that citizens can prepare for an imminent situation.”

The EAS test is made available to EAS participants such as radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers. It will last one minute and is similar to regular monthly EAS test messages heard on radio and television. Some cell phones, but likely not all, may receive this message as well.

Titze says the tests are designed to test the system that would be used in actual emergencies. “We encourage citizens to take these test warnings seriously,” she says. “Someday it may be a real situation and these tests can help you and your family stay safe.”

More information on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and Wireless Emergency Alerts is available at

The Office of Emergency Management is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

Courthouse Closed – Native American Day

The Fall River County Courthouse will be closed Monday, October 8th, in observance of Native American Day. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, October 9th.

Early Voting for General Election is Open!

Early voting in Fall River County will take place at the Fall River County Courthouse, 1st floor, Auditor’s office.  Early voting is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, except for October 8th (Native American Day). Please bring a photo id when you come to vote.

Citizens of Oglala Lakota County may vote early at either the SuAnn Big Crow Center in Pine Ridge or the Fall River County Courthouse in Hot Springs.

Wall Fire

There has been some public concern expressed over the Wall Fire. Below is a map showing the location and approximate size of the fire. This fire is a good distance from any structures.