Having a plan: Edinboro University earns title of StormReady

Category:  News
Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 at 5:31 PM
Having a plan: Edinboro University earns title of StormReady by Amber Chisholm
Photo: Kelly Staschak

In spite of the dreary morning weather, occupants of the Reeder Hall lobby stayed cheery as Edinboro University was officially recognized for its adherence to weather safety standards.

At 11 a.m. on Sept. 6, the National Weather Service (NWS) program called StormReady, which was started in 1998, acknowledged the university for, “improving the timeliness and effectiveness of hazardous weather warnings for the public through a diligent and proactive approach of increased communication and preparedness.” 

The entire process started in June of this year, which included an on-site visit from NWS professionals and members of the StormReady committee. One of the main reasons for the university being noticed was its 24-hour warning protocol and its ability to “develop a formal hazardous weather plan,” which is one of the main requirements, according to Christine Riley, a weather coordination meteorologist for the NWS who works in the Cleveland Weather Forecast Office. 

Many praised the university for this accomplishment, especially since it happened for the first time on its first attempt. 

“You guys were all set,” said Riley, regarding the eight-page application process. Riley is also confident in the university’s ability to renew their status in three years, which is how long accreditation lasts. 

Edinboro is now the second Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) school and one of six universities in Pennsylvania to function as one of 95 statewide sites. There are currently sites in 62 Pennsylvania counties, 16 communities or, living areas such as towns or cities that are smaller than counties, and 10 commercial sites, all of which hold 22 supporters, one of which is an “organization, business, facility or local government entity actively engaged in weather safety and preparedness that is unable to meet all the requirements of the full StormReady or TsunamiReady program,” as defined on weather.gov

Being “StormReady” also “creates a partnership with the NWS for emergency preparedness and weather-related emergencies,” said Jim Dahle, director of environmental health and safety for the university. 

September is National Preparedness Month and Campus Fire Safety Month, and Dahle said that he finds both the event and accreditation fitting.  

Those in attendance learned that “98 percent of presidentially declared disasters are weather related,” a statistic that is included on the NWS website and was shared by Dahle in the beginning. 

Hannan was pleased with the achievement of this goal. “We have for many years tried to provide as safe a campus as possible,” he said during an interview. Hannan also said that this event serves as “recognition of the work we have been doing over many years” and that taking emergency procedures seriously is “a positive for the university.”

After acknowledging current use of the “EU Shield” safety app, which was discussed recently on JET-24, a direct comparison was made between this and Edinboro’s weather safety recognition. “We have always tried to be as prepared as possible,” said Hannan.

To be StormReady is to be prepared, and while preparedness does not guarantee prevention, Edinboro University’s tenacity and likelihood of future recognition is clear.

Amber Chisholm can be reached at eupnew.spectator@gmail.com.

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