The Norman Transcript
Norman Public Schools has joined 2,000 sites nationwide in achieving a “Storm Ready” status from the National Weather Service.
The comprehensive application process began after Norman was hit by a tornado at the end of the school day in spring 2012.
The 2,000 sites nationwide include communities, schools and universities.
Rick Smith, a warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS, said the certification is significant for NPS, according to a news release from Shelly Hickman, the school district’s director of public information and community relations.
“As we’ve seen in recent years, it’s not a question of if we’ll be dealing with hazardous weather, it’s a question of when,” Smith said in the release. “We believe that the strengthened partnership between Norman Public Schools and the National Weather Service will make a positive difference the next time we have to deal with dangerous storms.”
NPS Assistant Superintendent Dr. Roger Brown said he worked with the Norman-based Weather Decision Technologies housed on the University of Oklahoma campus to apply for the NWS’ comprehensive certification. He said it actually was WDT who approached NPS with the idea.
“We worked closely with WDT’s Stephanie Siewert on the application process and it involved devising a strategic plan from the district level to each and every school site of the specific individuals and actions that would be taken in the event of extreme weather,” he said in the release. “Having a detailed plan of the procedures that are to be taken and by whom they are to be taken in the event of dangerous weather, and to have that reviewed by experts in the field, is extremely valuable to a school district.”
The NWS established Storm Ready certification in 1999 to help communities and organizations with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before and during extreme weather.
According to NWS’ Web site, Storm Ready communities and organizations are “better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness.”
WDT’s chief technology officer, JT Johnson, said he and Siewart were pleased to work with NPS on the Storm Ready certification.
“Weather Decision Technologies recognizes that our clients are concerned about having thorough plans for severe weather response and the NWS’ StormReady certification provides a great framework for that preparedness,” he said in the release. “We felt it important to work with NPS to establish the dis- trict as a StormReady Supporter in conjunction with the support and services that we are providing the district to keep students, faculty and staff safe in severe weather situations.”