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Niagara County has been deemed “StormReady” by the National Weather Service, according to Jonathan Schultz, Niagara County’s emergency services director. NWS officials came to the county’s public safety building on Tuesday to present the “StormReady” designation.
“We have had our fair share of weather events in recent years, from snowstorms to rains and flooding to damaging high winds, so receiving this designation sends a message that our team and our community are prepared for what comes our way,” Schultz said.
The NWS stated some 98% of all federally declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. The “StormReady” program helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property – before, during and after the event.
To be officially “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; and
√ Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
“Being storm ready starts with preparedness, which means we focus on our training and our planning to make sure we can tackle adverse weather events, even though you can’t predict the future,” Schultz said. “This includes the release of our Prepare Niagara smartphone app last summer to keep the community informed and help them plan ahead, as well. It takes all of us in the community working together to really be storm ready.”
Schultz said the Prepare Niagara app is available for download from Google Play and the Apple App Store at no cost.