There may be no better place than UCF to call home when it comes to facing a storm.
UCF is the nation’s largest “StormReady” university, according to the National Weather Service, which gave the school the special designation in 2010. The title means UCF is a leader in emergency preparedness.
UCF earned the National Weather Service recognition because of its commitment to keeping the campus community safe and informed, as well as the many resources it provides to students and staff and faculty members.
Students and staff and faculty members are encouraged to visit UCF’s hurricane resources website, which includes checklists for UCF students and staff and faculty members and other resources.
StormReady is a nationwide program that helps communities, including universities, military agencies and commercial centers, develop plans to handle severe local weather. The communities work in partnership with National Weather Service officials and state and local emergency managers.
UCF’s commitment to keeping the campus community safe and informed begins with presentations during orientation sessions. The university has enhanced its UCF Alert emergency notification systems, added severe weather training for resident assistants and provided free emergency radios to all resident assistants and to many staff members who assist with emergency responses.
“Students from all over the world attend UCF, and we want to make sure they are fully prepared for the hurricanes, thunderstorms and other severe weather that we often experience in the Sunshine State,” said Jeff Morgan, UCF’s director of Emergency Management.
Morgan credited the National Weather Service and the Orange County Office of Emergency Management for helping UCF become “StormReady” and a leader in emergency preparedness.
To be recognized as StormReady, communities must establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; have more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings and to alert the public; and create a system that monitors local weather conditions. They also must promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars and develop a formal hazardous weather plan that includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
UCF’s Office of Emergency Management monitors local conditions with weather sensors, rain gauges and multiple Internet radar sources. In the event of an emergency, UCF notifies the campus community using one or more of several communication tools. Those tools include campus wide e-mails, text messages, outdoor sirens and the university’s website.
“StormReady encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness in partnership with their local National Weather Service office,” explained Bart Hagemeyer, meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS forecast office in Melbourne.
The StormReady designation is part of a voluntary certification program created and managed by the NWS in partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association. The recognition is valid for three years and can be renewed after that.