NPS earns rigorous 'Storm Ready' certification from National Weather Service
NORMAN, Okla. - After a comprehensive application process that began after Norman experienced a tornado at the end of the school day in spring 2012, NPS has been certified by the National Weather Service (NWS) as “Storm Ready.”
Nationwide, only 2,000 sites - which include communities, schools, universities, etc. - have been certified by the NWS as Storm Ready.
Rick Smith, a warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS, said the certification is significant for NPS.
“As we've seen in recent years, it's not a question of if we'll be dealing with hazardous weather, it's a question of when,” he said. “We believe that the strengthened partnership between Norman Public Schools and the National Weather Service will make a positive difference the next time we have to deal with dangerous storms."
NPS Assistant Superintendent Dr. Roger Brown said he worked with the Norman-based Weather Decision Technologies (WDT) housed on the University of Oklahoma campus to apply for the NWS’ comprehensive Storm Ready certification. He said it was actually WDT who approached NPS with the idea.
“We worked closely with WDT’s Stephanie Siewert on the application process and it involved devising a strategic plan from the district level to each and every school site of the specific individuals and actions that would be taken in the event of extreme weather,” he said. “Having a detailed plan of the procedures that are to be taken and by whom they are to be taken in the event of dangerous weather, and to have that reviewed by experts in the field, is extremely valuable to a school district.”
The NWS established Storm Ready certification in 1999 to help communities and organizations with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before and during extreme weather. According to NWS’ Web site, Storm Ready communities and organizations are “better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness.”
WDT’s chief technology officer, JT Johnson, said he and Siewart were pleased to work with NPS on the Storm Ready certification.
“Weather Decision Technologies recognizes that our clients are concerned about having thorough plans for severe weather response and the NWS’ StormReady certification provides a great framework for that preparedness," he said. "We felt it important to work with NPS to establish the dis- trict as a StormReady Supporter in conjunction with the support and services that we are providing the district to keep students, faculty and staff safe in severe weather situations.”