From left, Dan Reilly, National Weather Service, and Trish McIntosh, COM emergency management coordinator.

For its work to prepare the college and its community for any weather emergency, the National Weather Service recognized COM as being StormReady. The distinction notes that the college has systems to gather weather information and distribute warnings to staff, students and faculty.

COM is the first community college on the Gulf Coast to obtain this certification.

“StormReady certification is a recognition that the community has well-developed severe weather plans that allow members of that community to receive critical warning information from the NWS. (They) then know what actions to take to protect themselves,” said Dan Reilly.

StormReady is a national community preparedness program that helps communities develop plans to handle all types of severe weather.

Specifically, to qualify as StormReady, COM demonstrated that it:

• Has a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;

• Has multiple methods to receive and disseminate severe weather warnings and information for the community;

• Has various methods to monitor weather conditions locally;

• Promotes the importance of public readiness; and

• Has a formal hazardous weather action plan, including severe weather spotter training and drills.

COM also enhanced existing weather and emergency resources through purchasing of weather alert radios for the police department and various campus facilities and installing a weather station to monitor and track weather conditions on campus.

Other colleges and universities in Texas that have been designated StormReady include Angelo State University, Baylor University, Midwestern State University, Richland College, San Angelo University, Southern Methodist University, Texarkana College, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, Trinity University, University of Incarnate Word, University of North Texas-Denton, University of Texas and Wiley College.

Nationally, as of Jan. 28, 2014, there were 2,178 StormReady Sites in 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam.