The National Weather Service recognized eight local communities with their StormReady Community designation at a presentation on January 16, 2020. StormReady is a program that recognizes communities that make a commitment to prepare for extreme weather events through advanced planning, education and awareness activities. Representatives of the National Weather Service presented staff from the villages of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Mount Prospect, Schaumburg and Streamwood with certificates and road signs denoting the designation.
In order to attain the StormReady designation, communities undergo a rigorous evaluation by a team made up of representatives from the National Weather Service, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Cook and Lake County Emergency Management agencies, and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association. This team examined various aspects of each community’s emergency management program specifically in regard to severe weather planning and response, including:
• An evaluation of the communities’ 24-hour warning point, Northwest Central Dispatch Center
• Site visits to the Emergency Operations Center for each community
• Verification that these communities have more than one way to receive severe weather warning and to alert the public
• Ensuring that the communities have a system in place to monitor local weather conditions
• Demonstrating that they promote the importance of public readiness through community education
• Showing that they have developed and exercised a formal Hazardous Weather Plan
The eight communities join the City of Rolling Meadows and the Village of Palatine as local StormReady communities.
The communities were assisted in the application process by the Northwest Central Joint Emergency Management System, a cooperative effort by those ten communities to provide for shared, regional Emergency Management services. Through the system, participating communities utilize the program staff to drive industry standards and best practices into regional planning, training and exercises. From an all-hazards approach, JEMS staff collaborate with municipal leadership to build community-wide emergency management capabilities in all phases of emergency management.
More information about the program is located at www.nwcds.org/jems.html.
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