Borough Earns New Emergency Preparedness Certification

RAVE

FAIRBANKS — The National Weather Service awarded the Fairbanks North Star Borough a certificate Tuesday for being “StormReady,” which means the municipality meets national criteria for emergency communications systems and emergency preparedness.

To be StormReady, communities must maintain a 24-hour emergency operations center, have the ability to monitor weather and flood conditions, conduct community preparedness programs and have formal emergency plans in place, to name a few of the criteria.

The borough is the first borough in Alaska to receive the certification, though 18 communities and three military bases in the state have it.

 “It’s nice for our community to know that we are planning ahead,” borough Mayor Karl Kassel said during a news conference.

The borough’s Emergency Management Department has been working on earning the certification since at least 2007.

Emergency Management Director David Gibbs said Smart911, a database where people can submit information they want 911 call takers to automatically have, is an example of an emergency preparedness system that helped the borough become StormReady.

About 1,900 communities in the United States reportedly meet the criteria.

The Weather Service also offers certification for communities that face tsunami threats. Thirteen Alaska communities are “TsunamiReady.”

 In Interior Alaska, Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Greely have the StormReady certification along with the community of McGrath.

The Weather Service reportedly started the community preparedness program in 1999.

“StormReady communities have made a strong commitment to implement the infrastructure and systems needed to save lives and protect property when severe weather strikes,” according to a news release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the National Weather Service.

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  • By: Amanda Bohman
  • Newsminer

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