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Reference Material for the StormReady Applicant

The StormReady Program Criteria

 

Since the tax base typically dictates the resources applied to public programs and therefore is likely the greatest governing factor in a community’s ability to commit resources to emergency management and weather preparedness activities, the guidelines for successful participation in the StormReady program are based on population. Four population categories will be used for developing appropriate recognition guidelines related to weather disaster preparedness. The population-based criteria for each of the four categories will be applied uniformly to eligible counties, cities, and towns. The population-based categories are:

· < 2,500 people
· 2,500 to 14,999 people
· 15,000 to 40,000 people
· >40,000 people


Criterion 1: Communications and Coordination Center

The key to disaster management is effective communication. This is especially true in natural hazard emergencies (e.g. flood, wildfire, tornado) where rapid changes may permit only short lead-time warnings that require an immediate, educated response.

1. 24-Hour Notification/Warning Point (N/WP). To receive recognition under the StormReady Program, an applying agency will need to have a 24-hour N/WP that can receive NWS information and provide local reports and advice. Typically, this might be a law enforcement or fire department dispatching point. For cities, towns, or counties without a local dispatching point, another jurisdiction (preferably a county agency) could act in that capacity for them. If an applying town or city utilizes another jurisdiction, then that other jurisdiction must be a recognized as a StormReady jurisdiction in order for the applying city or town to be considered for the program. The N/WP will need to have:


· 24 hour operations.
· Warning reception capability.
· Warning dissemination capability.
· Ability and authority to activate local warning system(s).

2. Emergency Operations Center. All agencies must have an emergency operations center (EOC). For towns and cities with less than 15,000 people, the EOC may be provided by another jurisdiction within the county.

The following summarizes the weather-related roles and requirements of an EOC:

· The EOC will need to be staffed during hazardous weather events and, when staffed, would assume the N/WP’s hazardous weather-related functions. It must be staffed with the emergency management director or designee.
· Activation of the EOC should be based on predetermined guidelines related to NWS information and/or weather events.
· EOCs and N/WP’s may be in the same facility but must have independent capabilities. The redundant capabilities provide backup potential between the two.
· For the purpose of the StormReady Program, EOC’s are formal command facilities and are not evaluated on their level of protection, survivability or livability.
· Mobile Command Facilities cannot take the place of a permanent EOC.
· Warning reception capabilities. (See Criterion 2)
· Ability and authority to activate local warning system(s). Must have capabilities equal to or better than the N/WP.
· Ability to communicate with adjacent EOCs and/or N/WP.
· Established communications link with the Lubbock NWS to relay real time weather information to support the warning decision making process. A backup communications source is strongly recommended. Reports should include the type, location, and time of significant weather events.


Criterion 2: National Weather Service Warning Reception

N/WP’s and EOC’s each need multiple ways to receive NWS warnings. The StormReady Program guidelines for receiving NWS warnings in an EOC and N/WP require a combination of the following, based on population (see population-based criteria):

1. NOAA Weather Radio receiver with tone alert. Specific Area Message Encoding is preferred. Required for recognition only if within range of transmitter.
2. Emergency Management Weather Information Network (EMWIN) receiver: Satellite feed and/or VHF radio transmission of NWS products
3. Statewide law enforcement telecommunications: Automatic relay of NWS products on law enforcement systems
4. Amateur Radio transceiver: Potential communications directly to NWS office
5. Scanner: Amateur radio, NWR, and/or public safety frequencies
6. Wireless Devices: From a provider not directly tied to a local system such as EMWIN
7. Television: Local network or cable TV
8. Local Radio (Emergency Alert System - LP1/LP2)
9. National Warning System (NAWAS) drop: FEMA-controlled civil defense hotline
10. NOAA Weather Wire drop: Satellite downlink data feed from NWS
11. Other: For example, active participation in a state-run warning network

Criterion 3: Hydrometeorological Monitoring

While receipt of warnings is crucial to the success of any EOC or warning point, there should also be a means of monitoring weather information, especially radar data. To obtain StormReady recognition, each EOC/WP (based on population) should have some combination of the following recommended means of gathering weather information:

1. Access to radar data (via LDAD, Internet, commercial radar systems, local TV, etc.)

2. Instruments to provide a measure of local conditions and/or hydrologic conditions. For example, wind equipment, river gages, mesonetwork gauges. These cannot be the sole means of satisfying Criterion 3. These instruments need not be at the EOC or WP but must be displayable there.

3. Two way radio.

4. Locally owned and operated weather radar.

5. EMWIN

Criterion 4: Warning Dissemination

Once NWS warnings are received or local information suggests an imminent weather threat, the local emergency officials should communicate with as much of the population as possible. Receiving StormReady recognition will be contingent upon having one or more of the following means (based on population) of ensuring timely warning dissemination to citizens:

1. NWR receivers (Tone alert or SAME) in each local government-owned building that is accessed by the public. Required for recognition if within range of transmitter.

Required locations
Recommended locations
24 hour warning point Courthouses Fairgrounds  
Emergency Operations Center Public Libraries Public utilities
City Hall Hospitals Sports arenas
School Superintendent Office All schools Dept’s of Transportation

2. Cable television audio/video overrides
3. Local Flood warning systems with no single point of failure
4. Other locally-controlled methods like a local broadcast system or sirens on emergency vehicles
5. Outdoor warning sirens
6. Counties Only: A county-wide communications network that ensures the flow of information between all cities and towns within its borders. This would include acting as a warning point for the smaller towns.


Criterion 5:
Community Preparedness

Public education is vital in preparing citizens to respond properly to weather threats. An educated public most likely will take steps to receive weather warnings, recognize potentially threatening weather situations, and act appropriately to those situations. Those seeking recognition in the StormReady Program will need to:

· Conduct or facilitate weather-related safety talks for schools, hospitals, nursing homes and industries (number of talks per year will be based on population). These may be a part of multi-hazard presentations affecting local communities/regions (e.g. flood, wildfire, tornado).
· Accomplish weather-related safety campaigns, which include publicity for NOAA Weather Radios where coverage exists. These may be a part of multi-hazard presentations affecting local communities/regions (e.g. flood, wildfire, tornado).
· EOC/Warning point staff and storm spotters will need to attend NWS storm spotter training sessions at least every other year. All jurisdictions larger than 40,000 people will need to host/co-host a spotter training session every year.

Criterion 6: Administrative

No program can be successful without formal planning and pro-active administration. To be recognized in the StormReady Program:

1. Approved hazardous weather action plans will need to be in place. Georgia Lucero can assist you in developing such a plan. These plans will need to address, at a minimum, the following:

· Hazards/risk assessment
· Notification/Warning Point procedures relating to natural hazards
· EOC activation criteria and procedures, if applicable
· Storm spotter activation criteria and reporting procedures, if applicable
· Storm spotter roster and training record, if applicable
· Criteria and procedures for activation of sirens, cable television override, and/or local systems activation in accordance with State Emergency Alert System (EAS) plans
· Annual exercises relating to natural hazard

2. To facilitate close working relationships, the community/county emergency management program leader will need to visit the supporting NWS office at least every other year. NWS officials will commit to visit accredited counties, cities, and towns annually to tour EOC’s and N/WP’s and to meet with key officials.


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