Over Summer Quarter, the UW Emergency Management Office for UW Seattle campus completed a months-long process to be recognized as a StormReady University by the National Weather Service, becoming the first college/university in Washington state to be so recognized. The StormReady program is primarily aimed at helping towns, cities, counties and even tribal communities develop better capabilities to prepare for environmental challenges, monitor the weather and coordinate effectively with residents to stay safe when severe weather occurs. Since many sub-communities, such as institutes of higher education, state parks, military installations and airports/seaports may employ hundreds of people while serving thousands of others on a daily basis, they too are being encouraged to learn more about the StormReady program and a related program for coastal areas called TsunamiReady.
Since UW Seattle is in many ways “a city within a city,” our resources and needs are most certainly unique. We have our own police department, medical center, numerous shops & restaurants, as well as a talented team of educators, professionals and support staff to help keep life at the University moving ahead. Our specific preparations involved creating a dedicated Hazardous Weather Operations Plan as an annex to our All-Hazards Emergency Management Plan, procuring several NOAA weather radios to install near our areas of high public traffic and adjusting our public awareness/education curriculum to emphasize the environmental risks that Seattle is potentially exposed to by Mother Nature, to name a few of the steps taken. You can learn more about NWS’ StormReady program at the following link.