SAFETY

Utah Tech named a ‘Storm Ready’ community with emphasis on safety

Nov 7, 2022, 12:30 PM
NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Kevin Barjenbruch, left, recognizes Utah Tech University’s Josh Thayn, executive director of university safety & risk management; Steven Broadbent, university safety & risk management support specialist; and Valerie O'Rourke, parking manager, for earning the StormReady community distinction at Utah Tech University. (Utah Tech University)
(Utah Tech University)

ST. GEORGE, Utah — The National Weather Service’s Weather Forecast Office in Salt Lake City designated Utah Tech University as a ‘Storm Ready community‘ on Monday.

Utah Tech received the Storm Ready award for excellence in preparedness for its emphasis on safety through its University Safety and Risk Management Department. The department site reads that their “efforts require going beyond historical public safety, EHS and risk management practices.

“Our unified departments consist of Enterprise Risk & Emergency Management, University Police, Fire Marshal’s Office, Parking Services, Central Scheduling, Health & Safety,” according to the website.

To become ‘Storm Ready,’ a community must:

  • establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;
  • have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public;
  • create a system that monitors weather conditions locally;
  • promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars; and
  • develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

The main goal of the Storm Ready program is to save more lives in a weather-related disaster. According to the National Weather Service website, 98% of all presidentially-declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage.

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