Monday, November 30, 2020   |   Public Safety

Baron Threat Net a Powerful Weather Tool for County-level Emergency Management

Located in south-central Alabama, Crenshaw County has an Emergency Management Agency (EMA) run by Director Elliot Jones and his Deputy Director Randy Mahone. The agency is responsible for working with local, state and federal agencies to plan and execute recovery efforts when disaster strikes. Staying weather aware and providing real-time weather information to the residents of the county is a key component of Jones’ job. Crenshaw County experiences frequent severe thunderstorms with damaging straight-line winds, plus occasional tornados. The southern border of the county is located about 75 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico, so hurricanes often blow through during tropical season.

The EMA selected Baron Threat Net as its solution to improve weather awareness and communication. Baron Threat Net is a web-based tool with a companion app that delivers a wealth of current and forecasted weather information, including data for severe weather, tropical events, winter weather, and more. Using Baron Threat Net Jones can deliver detailed weather information, including a storm’s time of arrival, to specific areas of the county.

Rainfall data for different areas of Crenshaw County displayed on Baron Threat Net.
 

“I can look at different areas of the county and see where some areas are at more risk for future times, and I can get that information out specifically to those areas,” Jones says of his use of Baron Threat Net. “It’s totally changed my weather program.”

Custom Alert Points

When the Crenshaw County EMA acquired its Baron Threat Net subscription, Jones worked with the Baron support staff to set up ten strategically placed alert points throughout the county’s 611 square miles.

“Nothing can get inside my county without me knowing about it,” Jones said.

He receives a notification any time significant weather approaches any of those 10 points. Knowing that Baron will notify him when weather is potentially putting the people of Crenshaw County in danger has freed up Jones and his Deputy Director to focus on the other tasks they need to handle.

“I used to have to sit all day and just watch the radar when severe weather was around us. I don’t have to do that anymore,” claims Jones. “Here in the office we can carry on with our normal day to day duties.”

Jones says he typically receives Baron alerts faster than alerts from the National Weather Service. When he does get a notification, he goes to BaronThreatNet.com to assess the situation and quickly passes the information along to residents. Jones estimates more than half the county’s population follows the agency on Facebook or Twitter, so he able to quickly and easily pass the information from Baron onto people potentially in harm’s way.

The Crenshaw County EMA distributed wind speed data from Baron Threat Net during Hurricane Zeta on Facebook.

Faster and More Effective Communication

The fast access to site-specific weather data allows Jones to ensure the safety of first responders during a destructive weather event. On October 28, 2020, Hurricane Zeta went through Alabama. No one in Crenshaw County was injured, but crews from local utility companies, law enforcement, fire and road departments quickly responded to downed power lines and trees while the storm was still dangerous. Jones used Baron Threat Net to monitor surface wind speeds throughout the county and make sure no responders were in a hazardous situation.

“Once it (wind speeds) reached a certain level, we would pull everybody in. I was able to get that info to the 911 center immediately.”

Weather Data that Travels

The Baron Threat Net App is another tool Jones says has made his agency more effective. With the app he can access Baron data on his smartphone, enabling him to go to an impacted area even before a storm has cleared.

“I can go out in the field and do my work for recovery while watching the app, get my information and send stuff out as I’m working,” Jones claims.

Jones says Baron Threat Net has proven to be a powerful tool for his agency that is easy to use, backed by excellent customer support, and an outstanding value.

“This is just a great asset. I have categorized this program as a critical asset for my office to use in the community safety program.”


Baron Threat Net displayed in the Crenshaw County EMA office.