May 11, 2009
The National Weather Service (NWS) provides a nationwide community preparedness program titled, StormReady. After completing the requirements for this emergency preparedness program, Grand Teton National Park has subsequently earned recognition as a StormReady unit. The NWS confirms that Grand Teton is the first national park to gain this key designation.
Nearly 90% of all presidentially-declared disasters are weather related; these disasters lead to about 500 deaths per year and cost approximately $14 billion in property damage. The NWS designed the StormReady program to help prepare people, government agencies, and community organizations for the communication and safety network necessary to save lives and reduce property damage during a severe weather event.
StormReady uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle all types of severe weather. To be StormReady, a community, organization or agency must:
- Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
- Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts
- Have more than one way to alert the public to severe weather events
- Create a system that monitors local weather conditions
- Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars and outreach
- Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and conducting emergency exercises
To meet the StormReady emergency management guidelines,
Grand Teton was required to demonstrate its capability to provide an essential and response-ready communication network. In addition, several park employees completed training as weather spotters; these employees will provide critical weather observations to field offices for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott said, “Grand Teton National Park continually seeks new ways to improve safety for visitors, local residents, and park employees. Completing the StormReady requirements—and gaining the knowledge and network necessary to effectively deal with severe weather events—is an important step in creating a safer environment for anyone residing in, or recreating throughout the park. We are proud to have earned StormReady status, and we intend to effectively implement the StormReady communication system for the benefit of not only the park, but also our neighbors.”
For more information about the StormReady program, please contact Chris Jones, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton, Wyoming at 307.857.3898, ext. 726.