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In the fall of 1976, a group of Citizen Band radio operators approached then Deputy Director of Emergency Management, Tim O’Laughlin, with a proposal to serve as volunteers for the County in weather spotting. That group became known as SAFCOM.
Today, the Scott County Safety Communications Group (SAFCOM), is a network of 24 trained volunteers operating under the Sheriff’s Office’s Emergency Management Division. They assist with year-round preparedness activities, such as all-hazard weather spotting, emergency levee building, emergency call-taking if the emergency hotline is activated, and evacuation site and pet shelter assistance.
These dedicated volunteers come from all walks of life and have one thing in common – a shared sense of responsibility for protecting others. Our SAFCOM volunteers are concerned community members, amateur radio operators, information technology specialists, EMTs, airplane pilots, math teachers, safety managers, private business owners, and retired individuals who volunteer their time and energy to help keep our communities safe.
When activated by Emergency Management during severe weather, SAFCOM volunteers acquire accurate, real-time weather information throughout Scott County. This information, when integrated with modern National Weather Service (NWS) technology, is used to inform communities of severe weather conditions that could threaten life and/or property.
Although, Emergency Management has access to data from Doppler radar, satellite, and weather stations, technology cannot detect every instance of hazardous weather. SAFCOM volunteers help fill in the gaps by providing vital “ground truth,” by reporting hail, wind damage, flooding, heavy snow, tornadoes, and other weather events that are impacting their specific, assigned areas. These reports help our Emergency Management officials issue timely, accurate, and detailed warnings that also help determine whether sirens should be activated.
“I am extremely proud of the work of these volunteers and the history of our SAFCOM program,” said Sheriff Luke Hennen. “They act as our eyes and ears in the field by providing critical verification information that helps improve our warning services.”
Thank you to our SAFCOM volunteers for serving our communities by acting as a vital resource when dangerous weather approaches.
We are always looking for dedicated and talented volunteers to help in our community! To learn more about SAFCOM and how to become a volunteer, please visit https://www.scottcountymn.gov/1567/SAFCOMv or for all volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.scottcountymn.gov/1203/Get-Involved
As always, please feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (952) 496-8625 or by mail at Scott County Sheriff’s Office, 301 Fuller Street South, Shakopee, MN 55379. You can also visit our website at https://www.scottcountymn.gov/