The Norman Transcript


February 26, 2014

Facility managers gain insight from experts on severe weather planning

NORMAN — Facilities managers, safety officials and administrators representing Oklahoma public schools, technology centers, higher education, police, emergency management and the weather industry met last week at the Moore Norman Technology Center’s Franklin Road campus to learn about the necessity of emergency preparedness.

Attendees heard a welcome from Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi, who thanked them for continuing their education and training in the area of school safety and preparedness.

Attendees also heard from local experts in meteorology, engineering, law enforcement and emergency management about topics ranging from the structural engineering of safer buildings to severe weather planning.

Program Manager Jennifer Newell of the Oklahoma Safe Schools Initiative (OSSI) shared information about how her new office has made strides in training members of school districts around Oklahoma.

The first of four free training opportunities through OSSI will be from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. March 4 at MNTC’s Franklin Road campus. The session will include a review of the School Security Assessment program and the School Emergency Operation course. Interested superintendents, principals and administrators may register at online at

Albert Ashwood, director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, discussed a new education program called Safe Schools 101, which was developed through the efforts of OEM and FEMA and brings industry experts together to provide training for volunteers who want to make a difference in school safety. After receiving training through the program, the volunteers will travel and perform assessments of school structures when asked by independent school districts.

National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rick Smith shared information on severe weather planning and said schools should have a severe weather plan as a component of their school emergency plan, along with having multiple, reliable sources of critical weather information and a weather monitor available.

To join the meetings or for more information, contact

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