Mar 23, 2012 10:36 AM by Cecilia Stevenson
McNeese is just the second university in Louisiana to receive the StormReady certification. In Louisiana, there are 16 StormReady sites including Calcasieu Parish and Lake Charles.
According to Andy Patrick, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, the StormReady program provides communities, including universities, towns, cities, counties, parishes, Tribal nations and industrial complexes, with guidelines and procedures to better prepare advance communication and responses to hazardous weather events.
"Being storm ready reaffirms the university's commitment to the protection of life and property, which is the core mission of the NWS," Patrick said.
The StormReady program focuses on advanced planning, education and awareness. According to the NWS, no community is storm proof, but communities can be prepared and that may reduce the potential impacts caused by natural disasters.
Approved sites are required to have a 24-hour warning point for monitoring NWS alerts and warnings, an established 24-hour emergency operations center, multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public, an established hazardous weather operations plan and ongoing training for emergency response personnel.
"This is a voluntary program," Cinnamon Salvador, McNeese police chief, said. "It was a good fit for McNeese because many of the requirements were already in place. Being proactive and submitting our communications, monitoring and emergency preparedness plans and operations for review by the NWS StormReady program helps us to continually focus on being prepared before a weather disaster strikes."
The NWS reports there are 1,881 StormReady sites in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. Other Louisiana sites include Acadia, Bossier, Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Ouachita, St. Charles, St. Landry, St. Martin and Union parishes, the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Dow Chemical-St. Charles Parish Operations.