“StormReady encourages communities and universities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said Phil Hysell, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Blacksburg, Va. “StormReady arms locations with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before and during the event.”
Appalachian is one of only four campuses in the UNC System to receive StormReady® designation – joining UNC Wilmington, East Carolina University and UNC Greensboro – and one of 111 universities and colleges in the U.S. to complete the certification process.
“There is nothing more important than keeping our community of faculty, staff and students safe on our campus,” Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock said.
The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities and universities develop plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats. The program is voluntary and provides clear-cut advice from a partnership between local National Weather Service forecast offices and state and local emergency managers.
To be recognized as StormReady®, a university must:
– Have a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;
– Have more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings and to alert the community;
– Create a system that monitors local weather conditions;
– Promote the importance of readiness through community seminars;
– Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
“The United States is the most severe weather prone region of the world. The mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and StormReady will help us create better prepared communities throughout the country,” Hysell said.
“Just like communities, families need to be storm ready by having an action plan for severe weather. Through StormReady, the National Weather Service plans to educate every American about what to do when severe weather strikes because it is ultimately each individual’s responsibility to protect him or herself,” he said.