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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > University of Maine at Presque Isle named StormReady Campus

University of Maine at Presque Isle named StormReady Campus

 

January 4, 2008

 

The University of Maine at Presque Isle is ready to handle severe weather of all kinds after receiving an important federal designation this month.

The University has been named a National Weather Service StormReady campus. The northern Maine institution is the second campus in New England, after Harvard, and the 21st campus in the nation to receive this designation.

StormReady, established in 1999, is a nationwide program that helps communities better protect their citizens during severe weather - from tornadoes to tsunamis to winter storms. Program "communities" can include cities, towns, universities, Indian Nations, and government and private entities. The program helps arm such communities with the planning, communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before and during storm events. It also helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety and awareness programs.

"We are excited to be only the second university in New England to receive this designation," Charles Bonin, Vice President of Administration and Finance, said. "Being a part of this program goes a long way in making us safer as a campus whenever severe weather strikes."

University and weather service officials will host an informational presentation regarding the StormReady Program and the University's designation at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 in the Campus Center. The campus and community are invited to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

The event will include a short presentation about the StormReady program and the collaborative efforts that the National Weather Service office in Caribou and the University have undertaken to implement this program. This will be followed by the formal presentation of a plaque by National Weather Service officials to President Don Zillman.

To become StormReady, the University has to:

  • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;
  • Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public;
  • Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally;
  • Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars;
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

The University was approached by Tony Sturey, Warning Coordination Meteorologist from the National Weather Service office in Caribou, last spring about becoming a StormReady campus. Greg Daniels, the University's security and safety coordinator, has led efforts on campus to implement the program.

Daniels and Sturey have worked with campus, weather, and local emergency management officials to meet the StormReady requirements. For example, officials have installed NOAA Weather Radios - which are part of the National Warning System and are operated directly from NWS offices - in every building on campus and at the local police department, and have established points of contact for each building. These contacts are responsible for monitoring the radios and getting warnings out to others in their building. Warnings also will be disseminated to the campus community through email, computer dialog pop-up box, voice mail, and radio stations.

The University also has a formal hazardous weather plan and severe weather spotters in place. It will also continue to host weather safety talks by the National Weather Service with an emphasis on high impact weather.

"Education and awareness are fundamental building blocks to help communities prepare for high impact weather," Sturey said. "The University of Maine at Presque Isle has embraced this concept and enhanced their hazardous weather mitigation plan through the StormReady program. It's a win-win situation for the University and their community."

 

Contact:

Aroostook County EMA
493-4328

 

Last update: 07/20/10