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A Storm Ready University

On March 16, 2009 representatives from the National Weather Service traveled to the UWF Main Campus to present President Judy Bense with a plaque designating the University of West Florida as a StormReady University. UWF is only the third university in Florida to achieve this designation and the 29th in the nation.

The StormReady program is a nationwide preparedness program started in 1999 by the National Weather Service (NWS) to help arm America's universities, and communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property-before and during a severe weather event. The program encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines on how to improve their hazardous weather operations. No university or community is storm proof, but being part of the StormReady program can help save lives.

NOAA Storm Ready University Certification (pdf)

In order to qualify as a StormReady University, UWF had to meet rigorous criteria established by the NWS and then undergo a comprehensive inspection of our systems by meteorologists from the NWS in order to prove compliance.

The required criteria included:

  • Establish a 24-hour warning point emergency operations center.
  • Implement numerous ways to receive severe weather warnings and have mechanisms in place to disseminate the information to the campus community.
  • Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally
  • Promote public readiness throughout the campus
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises

Many of these notification requirements have been rolled up into the ArgoAlert Emergency Notification System. The ArgoAlert System provides numerous mechanisms for alerting the campus community to all manner of emergencies which might occur on campus.