WWU Receives NOAA Certification
|12/7/2011||Mary Ann Beahon|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||(573) 592-1127|
William Woods University’s safety department is now StormReady certified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“We’re pretty proud that we’re getting this certification,” said Will Ferguson, campus safety site supervisor. “Only about 80 universities in the country have it. I believe that says a lot about how we feel about the students.”
The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help communities and businesses develop plans to handle local severe weather 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.
StormReady began in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now more than 1,600 StormReady communities across the country.
“When planning for any crisis, it is necessary to think in terms of prevention and mitigation,” Mike Wills, WWU director of residential life and campus safety, said. “When planning for events that cannot be prevented, such as tornadoes, every reasonable step must be taken to mitigate the impact such an event would have on our campus.”
He added, “The overriding goal in mitigating the impact of any crisis event is life safety. Following the best practices laid out in the StormReady certification program helps the university in its effort to maintain a high level of emergency preparedness.”
In addition to many other requirements, to be recognized as StormReady, a university must:
- Have an Emergency Operations Plan that includes severe weather procedures
- Have more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings
- Have several methods to warn students, employees and visitors of impending hazardous weather
- Have shelter areas designated and clearly marked
- Have an active preparedness program that educates students and employees of the dangers posed by hazardous weather.
During severe weather forecasts, the WWU safety department sends mass texts to students and employees using “Woods Alert.” Safety officers also announce severe weather warnings over loud speakers. To increase safety, WWU has marked storm shelters and placed weather radios in every building with each student community advisor and office building proctor.
According to Wills, NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events, as well as information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.
NOAA works with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
CUTLINE:Will Ferguson, campus safety site supervisor