Sunday, 13 January 2002
StormReady! Developing Educational Iniatiatives for NJ Hurricane Preparedness
This presentation highlights the collaborative efforts between the educational, governmental, and private air-sea communities to bring schools and communities into a StormReady status. In May 2001, there was a Hurricane Preparedness Conference held in Atlantic City, NJ with over 700 attendees representing Emergency Management, Law Enforcement, the National Weather Service and others. Many of the discussions over the 2-day conference centered on NOAA's StormReady Project. A noted missing component, was education. Capitalizing on the strengths of the established AMS Local Implementation Team, an educational program coordinating efforts of several governmental and private organizations has been designed. Consequently, the project incorporates lessons from the AMS Project Atmosphere, DataStreme, Water in the Earth System, and the Maury Project. Along with the AMS Projects, the GLOBE Program, NASA's S'Cool Project, and Rutgers University LEO-15 Project, curricula have been incorporated into professional development workshops that provide content rich lessons on air-sea interactions, and making scientific observations. The NWS provides SkyWarn Spotter Training, and Educational Outreach Programs for participants with the intent for students, teachers, and citizens to become more knowledgeable about potential severe weather that can, and has impacted the residents of New Jersey. This provides real and practical Professional Development opportunities that satisfy the New Jersey Department of Education's new professional development requirement for teachers. The intent is to make schools StormReady and provide sources of information, data, and satellite imagery in the classroom. Using education as the catalyst, developing relationships with communities throughout NJ can bring every community into a StormReady status. A close working relationship with the broadcast community already exists, another important component. Using the technology of the AWS powered WeatherNet at NBC10, people via the Internet, have access to the latest local information, watches and warnings. The goal of this project is to develop a regional network of trained educators and spotters that can quickly and accurately provide reliable information and data in a time of emergency. Educating teachers, students and citizens about the air-sea interactions that impact NJ, and the potential outcomes of such interactions, is the first step in making communities truly StormReady. Exposing the residents of New Jersey to the array of information and data, and how to interpret information in a timely fashion in order to make wise decisions in times of emergency, has the potential of saving lives.