Act - Get Involved

Getting Involved

Maintaining Garland as a safe community is not just up to emergency managers and first responders. Citizens are the greatest resource to a community’s ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and bounce back from disasters. The Office of Emergency Management has many recommendations on how things you can do to get involved in the process.

Volunteer Service

Without trained and organized volunteers government cannot properly respond to or recover from the impacts of large disasters. The City of Garland Office of Emergency Management takes pride in the strong sense of community that local volunteers promote within the community. There are several ways that you can get involved as a volunteer. 


You must attend the mandatory training held each year and have a way of communicating storm reports to the NWS. In Garland, our storm spotting is handled by volunteer members of our Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) organization. Below you will find information about attending the Garland Skywarn Training School and becoming a member of Garland RACES.


The Skywarn® spotter takes a position in their community and reports wind gusts, hail size, rainfall rates, and cloud formations that could signal a developing tornado. Although Skywarn® spotters can provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility of a Skywarn® spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. 

Storm Chasing

Skywarn® spotters are not by definition “Storm Chasers.” While their functions and methods are similar, the spotter stays close to home and usually has ties to a local agency. Storm chasers often cover hundreds of miles a day. The term Storm Chaser covers a wide variety of people. Some are meteorologists doing specific research or are gathering basic information (like video) for training and comparison to radar data. Others chase storms to provide live information for the media, and others simply do it for the thrill.

Storm Spotting and Storm Chasing is dangerous and should not be done without proper training, experience, and equipment.


The annual Dallas County Skywarn® Training is conducted annually in Garland, typically in late February, and covers:

  • Basic severe weather safety
  • Basics of thunderstorm development
  • Fundamentals of storm structure
  • How to report information
  • Identifying potential severe weather features
  • Information to report

SKYWARN® Program

Skywarn is free of charge and typically runs about 6 hours broken into two 3-hour blocks. The program is broken into multiple lessons that have something to offer citizens at every level - from beginner to advanced. Be sure to check back around the first of the year for more information about the upcoming storm spotter training.

In Garland, most of our storm spotting is handled by our Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) volunteers. RACES is a radio communication service, provided by volunteer licensed amateurs, trained to provide essential communications and warning links to supplement State and local government assets during emergencies via amateur radio (HAM radio). RACES activation and operation is authorized by emergency management officials only.

What is RACES

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) appointees are a cadre of trained local public service minded Amateur Radio volunteers providing supplemental communications to the City of Garland, Texas and serve as mutual aid partners to others during times of emergency and disaster. Garland RACES appointees also provide communications support for other activities which include special events and public service activities. Garland RACES formed in mid-July, 1976. Discussions began with Garland city management in early June, 1976 that were prompted by a tornado touchdown in north Dallas on May 26 of that year. Garland city management learned that advance warning had come from Dallas RACES storm spotters. Dallas sirens were sounded as a result of these spotter reports. Since that time Garland RACES has been an integral part of Garland’s Emergency Management Team. RACES members also support many community and public service activities providing safety and logistics communications. 

Become a Member

We are always looking for amateur radio operators interested in using their skills for public service and emergency communications. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a member of this dedicated team of amateur radio operators please contact us at

BECOME An Amateur Radio Operator

In order to join the Garland RACES, you must have a radio license of technician or higher. The requirements and resources needed for a ham radio license can be found here.

PRivate, Non-Profit & Faith-Based Orangizations

Many private, non-profit, and faith-based organizations are active in helping the community to respond and recover from disasters. Organizations such as the following provide services that are essential to emergency managers and first responders:

  • The American Red Cross
  • Garland Emergency Corps
  • Citizens Fire and Police Academies
  • Community Emergency Response Teams
  • Local Food Banks
  • Salvation Army

These organizations provide feeding, sheltering, donations management, and other services to assist the community in emergency situations.


If you are interested in taking courses either online or in the classroom there are a variety of opportunities available. Receiving training to become more prepared for a disaster can be beneficial to ensure that you as an individual, business, or family are ready for an emergency.

American Red Cross

The local chapter of the American Red Cross provides training in CPR, First Aid, and Preventing Communicable Diseases amongst a number of other courses. There are also a number of online courses offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Many of these courses are eligible to be used as college credit. Courses include subjects such as incident management, incident command, and much other valuable training.

Garland Emergency Corps

The Garland Emergency Corps was formed in 1955 to assist citizens of Garland and Dallas County with water or wind damage, swift water rescue, and traffic control to crime scene preservation. The group is always on call for flooding, parades, city functions, traffic control, and search and rescue of victims or lost persons. To learn more please contact us at

Emergency Action

When an actual emergency occurs, it’s time to take action. Be prepared to assess the situation at hand and use your common sense to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Training to use emergency supplies around the house is a great way to stay prepared for this. Be sure that you are able to use a fire extinguisher properly, turn off your utilities, and how to shelter in place within your home.

Good Practices

Working with neighbors can save lives and property. Meet with your neighbors to plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster until help arrives. If you're a member of a neighborhood organization, such as a home association or crime watch group, introduce disaster preparedness as a new activity. Know your neighbors' special skills (e.g, medical, technical) and consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as disabled persons and seniors. Make plans for child care in case parents can't get home.