S207 Warning Systems in Franklin County, OH: Toward a StormReady Community

Sunday, 10 January 2016
Hall E ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
John R. Banghoff, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; and S. E. Smith

Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security (FCEM&HS) is a local government agency in Franklin County, Ohio, responsible for coordinating county-wide emergency/disaster planning, education, warning, response and recovery to minimize the adverse impact of disasters on people and property in the county. A 2013 Risk Assessment conducted for Franklin County, Ohio found that tornadoes pose the largest risk to the county and severe summer weather poses the 10th largest risk. Franklin County experienced 26 tornadoes from 1954 through 2008, all of which were rated F3 (i.e., EF3) and under. F4 tornadoes have occurred in other parts of Ohio and neighboring states. Only one F5 tornado has been reported and that was in the southernmost portions of the State. Based on data from 1999 to 2008, Franklin County can undergo as many as 15 severe thunderstorm warnings each year.

In the coming year, Franklin County EMA will be implementing an improved warning dissemination system. In advance of that implementation, the Agency would like a database which consists of all warning systems in place across the county. This summer project will compile a database of any outdoor areas in Franklin County that may have some sort of outdoor warning system. These areas may include golf courses, parks, arenas, schools, etc. The outdoor system may be for lightning detection, evacuation, etc. The duration of the project will involve initial work with the Warning Systems Program Manager and then switch over to the GIS Coordinator to plot the data in the FCEM&HS system.

The results of this research will be used to identify where additional warning systems need to be installed and analyze the effectiveness of FCEM&HS at combatting the biggest and 10th-biggest threat to the county. This project will be approached from the perspective of emergency management and social science and will draw on severe weather climatology for the county.

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