UWF was designated a StormReady university in 2009, only the third university in Florida to earn the designation from the National Weather Service (NWS). Started in 1999, the program helps communities, including universities, military and community agencies develop sound plans for use before and during severe weather. Today, eight campuses in Florida are designated as NWS StormReady, including UWF.
“UWF has more than 12,000 students and thousands of faculty and staff, and it’s our goal to ensure they are prepared for the variety of severe weather we often face in Florida and particularly on the Gulf Coast,” said Peter Robinson, director of environmental health and safety at UWF, which houses the University’s emergency management operations.
Many of the criteria required for StormReady designation are included in UWF’s ArgoAlert emergency notification system. Students, faculty and staff may register to receive text messages or instant messages in the event of any emergency on campus, including severe weather.
Updates are also emailed directly, posted to the University’s emergency website at www.uwfemergency.org and shared via the UWF Facebook and Twitter accounts. A siren/loud speaker system alerts those on campus both indoors and outdoors. The campus radio and television stations, WUWF 88.1FM and WUWF-TV, serve as a primary source of emergency information at UWF.
Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week is an excellent time to register for or verify your contact information with the ArgoAlert system. Students, faculty and staff may do so online through MyUWF, or follow the instructions at http://uwfemergency.org/notification.cfm.
Other criteria to earn the StormReady designation include establishment of a 24-hour warning point emergency operations center, implementing multiple avenues to both receive and communicate severe weather alerts, creation of a system to monitor local weather conditions, promoting public emergency readiness through campus and developing a formal severe weather emergency plan, training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week is Monday, Jan. 30 through Friday, Feb. 3. More information, including education about types of severe weather possible in Florida, is available at http://www.floridadisaster.org/swaw/.