The Dallas/Fort Worth office of the National Weather Service has officially renewed Prosper’s StormReady designation, recognizing the work accomplished in maintaining an active and comprehensive storm readiness posture.
“Prosper residents are no strangers to violent storms, and because of that we’ve worked diligently to meet some important readiness criteria,” says Kent Bauer, Emergency Management Coordinator. “Among these is the establishment of a 24-hour warning system and emergency operations center. When violent storms or other catastrophic events threaten Prosper residents, we activate our warning system and, if necessary, populate our EOC with people who have the skills and training necessary to deal with the emergency.”
Officials of the local National Weather Service authorized the recertification documents and approved the placement of a road sign that officially declares Prosper as a StormReady community. The Town Council was presented with the certification at their regularly-scheduled meeting on Aug. 22.
In addition to the emergency operations center, a community must have multiple methods of receiving severe weather warnings and forecasts, as well as more than one way to alert the public of these impending weather events. In Prosper, alerts are transmitted via social media, email messages, texts and telephone calls to residents participating in the Smart911 program.
Other criteria for eligibility includes: the creation of a system that monitors weather conditions locally; promoting the importance of public readiness during community events; developing a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters; and holding emergency exercises.
“In the greater DFW area there are approximately 42 cities that have completed the criteria for recognition as StormReady,” said Bauer. “Once attained, the NWS rechecks every three years to ensure that cities and towns are keeping up their preparedness. The designation then can be renewed.”
In Prosper, as in most communities, the Office of Emergency Management is co-located within the Fire Department. Bauer worked with a number of other departments to meet the strict standards necessary for the StormReady recertification.
“Our principal job is to look for and implement ways to keep residents safe,” he said. “We use our social media presence as well as our alert system to share safety messages and severe storm warnings. Residents should actively subscribe to these outreach systems to ensure they get the latest information.”
To receive warning messages through Prosper’s alert system, residents and business owners may sign up on www.smart911.com. For Facebook, residents and businesses should search for and follow “Town of Prosper Fire Department.”