The National Weather Service renewed UCF’s StormReady recognition as hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30, begins. The recognition will remain in effect through 2023.
StormReady designation encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving hazardous-weather education and preparedness in partnership with the National Weather Service.
The university first earned designation as a StormReady University in 2010 and has maintained its standing ever since. As a result, the plans, technology and warning systems in place helped immensely when Hurricane Matthew (2016) and Hurricane Irma (2017) affected university operations.
“Our No. 1 priority is keeping our community safe,” says Jeffery Morgan, director of UCF’s Department of Emergency Management. “Our response team trains year-round to ensure UCF is prepared when hazardous weather becomes a threat to Central Florida, and I’m proud of the collaboration of the many departments on campus who are committed to supporting our efforts. I would like to especially recognize our warning and communications coordinator, Joe Thalheimer ’08, for his work in helping UCF maintain this partnership with the National Weather Service.”
Twenty-one universities and colleges are recognized as StormReady within Florida, and UCF is the largest university nationwide to have the designation.
To qualify as StormReady, 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
- Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe-weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
“While no community can be stormproof, UCF is better prepared to safeguard students, faculty and staff from severe weather hazards through enhanced planning, warning dissemination, education and awareness,” says Scott Spratt, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
It’s not just the Department of Emergency Management that is working to keep the public safe during hurricane season. Researchers in UCF’s E2i Creative Studio developed a simulator to teach users how to better prepare for hurricanes. They shared several tips from their game in the Fall 2018 issues of Pegasus magazine.
Here are a few more suggestions to help you stay prepared.
Prepare a Kit
A good emergency kit should help you survive for at least three days. Be sure to include water, food, weather radio, flashlight, first aid kit, batteries, a can opener, cash, a cell phone charger, identification cards and any prescription medications you may need. You should also include necessary personal sanitation items and clothes if you won’t be staying in your home. Watch to learn more about how to build a proper hurricane kit:
Update UCF Alert Contact Information
During severe weather, major emergency updates will be posted on the UCF homepage and distributed through the UCF Alert mass notification system. To ensure you receive these messages, update your contact information on myUCF via the student or employee self-service tab. You can add a parent, spouse, or other secondary contact’s email address, allowing them to also receive updates.
Follow @UCF and @UCFPolice on Social Media
For consistent updates and information before, during and after a hurricane, follow UCF and the UCF Police Department on Twitter and Facebook. These are helpful resources for the UCF community every day and become official resources for information during a severe weather incident.
For additional information, read UCF Associate Professor and natural disaster expert Christopher Emrich’s do’s and don’t’s for hurricane season and check out UCF’s Hurricane Guide.