WWU Receives NOAA Certification

William Woods University’s safety department is now
StormReady certified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We’re pretty proud that we’re getting this certification,”
said Will Ferguson, campus safety site supervisor. “Only about 80 universities
in the country have it. I believe that says a lot about how we feel about the
The nationwide community preparedness program uses a
grassroots approach to help communities and businesses develop plans to handle
local severe weather threats. The program is voluntary and provides clear-cut
advice from a partnership between local National Weather Service forecast
offices and state and local emergency managers.
StormReady began in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa,
Okla., area. There are now more than 1,600 StormReady communities across the
“When planning for any crisis, it is necessary to think in
terms of prevention and mitigation,” Mike Wills, WWU director of residential
life and campus safety, said. “When planning for events that cannot be
prevented, such as tornadoes, every reasonable step must be taken to mitigate the
impact such an event would have on our campus.”
He added, “The overriding goal in mitigating the impact of
any crisis event is life safety.  Following
the best practices laid out in the StormReady certification program helps the
university in its effort to maintain a high level of emergency preparedness.”
In addition to many other requirements, to be recognized as
StormReady, a university must:
  • Have an Emergency Operations
    Plan that includes severe weather procedures
  • Have more than one way to
    receive severe weather forecasts and warnings
  • Have several methods to warn
    students, employees and visitors of impending hazardous weather
  • Have shelter areas designated
    and clearly marked
  • Have an active preparedness
    program that educates students and employees of the dangers posed by
    hazardous weather.
During severe weather forecasts, the WWU safety department
sends mass texts to students and employees using “Woods Alert.” Safety officers
also announce severe weather warnings over loud speakers. To increase safety,
WWU has marked storm shelters and placed weather radios in every building with
each student community advisor and office building proctor.
According to Wills, NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic
security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and
climate-related events, as well as information service delivery for
transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s
coastal and marine resources.
NOAA works with its federal partners, more than 60 countries
and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as
integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

Will Ferguson, campus safety site supervisor