92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 3:30 PM
Advancements in Severe Weather Alerting Technologies for School Operations
Room 348/349 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Frank McCathran, Earth Networks, Germantown, MD

Arguably, K-16 institutions have one of society's largest supervisory roles for the safety of their constituents from severe weather events. From outdoor athletic events, transportation logistics, offsite field trips, to daily recess – school official are tasked, officially and unofficially, with protecting students, staff, visitors and the general public during school sponsored events. One would be hard pressed to find a group more at risk than our youth - and one more deserving of protection. As a result, school officials at all levels are one of the most critical consumers in the use of severe weather information and alerting.

Both weather information and alerting solutions within the education space have become in-demand increasingly as of late. This evolution is, of course, tied to the speed of technological advancements. However, changes in society are also driving the need for severe weather alerting technologies that take the “guessing game” out of safety decisions when there is so much to risk.

The need for improvements in severe weather alerting in the education space are compelling. Included in these needs are enhancements in technology, policy, processes, and training. Not only is it important for those in a decision making capacity to employ solid safety practices and policies; they should lend support to the implementation of the necessary tools and policies to protect everyone involved. This presentation will discuss historical methods of monitoring severe weather and issuing alerts to school and district operational personnel. Additionally, an overview of the current methods employed by school/district officials and the associated policies implemented to protect persons, facilities and assets will be provided.

As technology and society changes, so must the lightning and severe weather policies, practices and mindsets of the past. There are far too many real-life case-studies that document this need. This analysis via the WeatherBug Schools suite of safety solutions will validate the need for us to reevaluate the methods and policies of alerting - an evaluation that hasn't been done since last century.

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