National Weather Service Program Strengthens Preparedness Before and During Severe Weather
Siena Heights University became the first college or university in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana – and only the 24th nationally – to be granted StormReady® Community status by the National Weather Service.
According to the NWS, StormReady® is a nationwide community preparedness program using a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle all types of severe weather — from tornadoes to tsunamis. The program encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines on how to improve their hazardous weather operations.
“Siena Heights University is proud to have the distinction of being the first university in Michigan to receive the National Weather Service StormReady® recognition,” said SHU Director of Public Safety Cindy Birdwell. “The StormReady status reaffirms our commitment to the safety of our campus community. This partnership with the National Weather Service is another way for Siena Heights University to reach out to the community we serve to better educate them about the hazards associated with severe weather.”
The program that started in 1999 provides communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before and during the event. StormReady® helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs. According to the National Weather Service StormReady® provides communities with clear-cut advice from a partnership between the local NWS weather forecast office and state and local emergency managers.
“This not only benefits the safety of our students, faculty and staff, but the local community as well,” said Siena Heights University President Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD. “Safety is one of the top concerns on today’s college campuses, and I am pleased we were able to receive this designation. We believe this program will benefit the entire Lenawee County community.”
Some of the community benefits of the StormReady® program include:
· Improved timelines and effectiveness of hazardous warnings for the public
· Detailed and clear recommendations helping local emergency managers establish and improve effective hazardous weather operations
· The ability for improved preparedness for other civil emergencies
· An incentive to acquire additional Community Rating System points assigned by the National Flood Insurance Program
As of March 3, 2008, there were 1,317 StormReady® sites in 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. That number includes 692 counties, 573 communities, 24 colleges and universities, five Indian nations, 10 commercial sites, seven military sites and five government sites. Siena Heights was granted StormReady® status for a three-year period.
“One of the most valuable resources that StormReady® provides is the reminder to our community to be prepared for severe weather,” said Assistant Director of Public Safety Peter Ossmann. “It is my hope that everyone who notices the StormReady® signs or logo on our website will go a step further to investigate what they can do to be better prepared for an emergency. This recognitions reaffirms the administration at Siena Heights University’s dedication to providing a safe teaching and learning environment.”
For more information on the StormReady® program, please check out the web site at www.stormready.noaa.gov/index.html.