How Weather Decisions are Made in Schools: The First Step in Weather Ready Schools

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Sarah L. Stalker, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and M. K. Corbett, K. A. Kloesel, C. Fiebrich, J. Hocker, A. Melvin, and D. E. Mattox

Research has shown there is no clear cut information dissemination process when it comes to alerting school personnel about the possibility for severe weather on any given day. An online survey was administered to school district personnel, school building personnel, and emergency managers of the state of Oklahoma. Fifty percent of schools either somewhat or significantly rely on the NOAA Weather Radio and approximately 80% of schools districts rely on it to make critical decisions. However, the majority of schools do not know whether their school has a weather radio. This is clearly a confusing result because most schools don't know if they have a NOAA Weather Radio, but a majority rely on it to make critical weather decisions. In addition there is a serious lack of communication between all stakeholders during hazardous weather events. This study shows there is need to investigate the specific information sources, communication avenues, and weather knowledge of school decision makers and their information relationships with their emergency managers. This paper presentation will discuss the results from the study as well as the implications and uses for the design and development of programs designed to train educators and emergency managers and how the results have been used to create a training program for school decision makers.