Poster Session P7.3 The Weather Safety Education Program at 45th Weather Squadron

Wednesday, 6 October 2004
William P. Roeder, 45th Weather Squadron, Patrick AFB, FL; and J. S. Jones, D. W. Oien, and J. T. Madura

Handout (1008.1 kB)

The 45th Weather Squadron (45 WS) is the Air Force unit providing comprehensive weather support to America’s space program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, NASA Kennedy Space Center, and Patrick Air Force Base. This weather support includes educating personnel on weather safety. This paper will summarize the weather safety education implemented by 45 WS. The authors hope this paper will encourage increased and improved weather safety education.

An effective weather safety education program has three key elements: local relevance, imminently practical advice, and highly effective set of teaching resources. The 45 WS program ensures local relevance by being both consistent by being climatologically based, and flexible by reacting to local weather events. The advice is kept imminently practical by combining recommendations from the top experts in each field, consulting local experts, interviewing personnel with many years of local experience, and incorporating audience responses. For the final element, the 45 WS has assembled a large collection of teaching resources including canned briefings, brochures, summary sheets, refrigerator magnets, digital image library, and websites. These materials have undergone continuous incremental improvement with the unit’s best communicators and weather safety experts.

The 45 WS weather safety education program is driven primarily by climatology. The training provided is based on the frequency and timing of the weather hazards, and the number and magnitude of the casualties inflicted by them. The training program is organized into two main categories: 1) recurring training, and 2) targets-of-opportunity training. Recurring training is done at the same time each year and is just-in-time training, just before the start of the climatological season for that hazard. Most of this training piggybacks on state, regional, and national weather safety awareness events. These events include the ‘Florida Hazardous Weather Awareness Week’ always the third week in February, the ‘National Hurricane Awareness Week’ the third week in May, and national ‘Lightning Safety Awareness Week’ the last week in June. Florida Hazardous Awareness Week includes all the main weather hazards for this state: lightning, tornadoes and thunderstorms, hurricanes and flooding, marine hazards (waterspouts, large surf, high winds, and rip currents), and wildfires and heat stress. Since the lightning season starts earlier in central Florida, around mid-May, and is the most important weather hazard in this area, the 45 WS conducts a separate recurring lightning safety awareness event in late April. Recurring training consists of articles in facility newspapers and newsletters, looped briefings on local closed circuit television, briefings to the leaders, and global e-mail. Training for individual organizations is always offered and provided on-request. For weather hazards with long seasons, recurring reminder training is also provided. As its name suggests, targets-of-opportunity training is provided as opportunistic events occur. For example, if hazardous weather is forecast, reminder training will be issued. If local casualties and/or damages actually occur, reminder training will also be issued, using the event to generate increased interest.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner