Think - Know Your Community

Garland Texas is a suburb located in northeast Dallas County and is a major part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 226,876, making it the 12th most populous city in Texas and the 87th most populous city in the United States.


Garland is located adjacent to the City of Dallas and Lake Ray Hubbard. We are home to a waterpark, a mall, an arena/conference facility, and two college campuses (Richland College and Amberton University). Garland also has some major transportation infrastructure, as well. We are bordered by interstate highways and have both traditional railroad lines and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail lines.

Familiarize Yourself

Becoming familiar with your surroundings will benefit you and your family in a disaster. Keep reading to find out more reguarding specific hazards that Garland is vulnerable to and those resources that you can use to prepare for disasters.

Know Your Hazards

Many types of natural disasters threaten Garland, including tornadoes, floods and flash floods, winter storms, drought and more. Other emergencies Garland citizens should learn about and be prepared for include pandemics, hazardous-materials incidents, and bioterrorism. Learn more information specific to our community such as severe weather, hazardous materials, and biological information. Learning about our community is the first step to being prepared.

Know Your Resources

While potential threats are numerous, so are the resources for response. Knowing about those resources that are available to you could save your life. Learn more about disaster resources before beginning the next step in your journey to preparedness.


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. 


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 we are interested in you.

Storm Spotters

The effects of severe weather are felt every year by many Americans. To obtain critical weather information, NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, established Skywarn® with partner organizations. Skywarn® is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.


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.


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 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 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.