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Monday, February 8, 2010

Ilwaco Recognized as TsunamiReady and StormReady

Ilwaco, WA, has completed NOAA’s National Weather Service StormReady® and TsunamiReady™ programs, better equipping the city to handle severe weather and tsunamis. The City of Ilwaco, supported by the Pacific County Emergency Management Council, fulfilled a rigorous set of warning and evacuation criteria, including the development of a formal hazardous weather plan. The City of Ilwaco, as well as the entire peninsula is vulnerable to tsunamis and severe weather due to its location on the Washington coast, at the mouth of the Columbia River. As we experienced in the December storms of 2008, it’s not if, but when we will experience the next disaster. These programs raise public awareness and preparedness which are essential for the safety of our citizens. The City of Ilwaco was able to achieve this recognition because of the planning partnerships we have within our county along with state and federal agencies like the National Weather Service. The continuing support of the Pacific County Emergency Management Director Stephanie Fritts and Deputy Director Denise Rowlett has raised awareness throughout the county. Aided by the focus and support brought to this important subject by the Pacific County Commissioners and County Sheriff John Didion, the citizens of Ilwaco will be better prepared for the next event. At the ceremony in the new Ilwaco Community Building, a recognition letter and TsunamiReady™ and StormReady® road signs were presented to city council officials, Gary Forner, Gini Chin, Will Greene, and Pacific County Emergency Management Director Stephanie Fritts. To be recognized as TsunamiReady™ and StormReady®, a community must: • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; • Have more than one way to receive tsunami and severe weather warnings and forecasts to alert the public; • Create a system that monitors local weather conditions; • Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars; and • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises. Resilience to disasters is everyone's responsibility. Educating yourself and your family on environmental hazards, maintaining a disaster supply kit, and having an emergency plan in place, are all proactive ways you can be better prepared. The TsunamiReady™ and StormReady® programs are part of NOAA National Weather Service's working partnership with the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Emergency Management Association, and the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program. The TsunamiReady™ and StormReady® recognitions expire in three years, after which the city will go through a renewal process. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects. On the Web: TsunamiReady™ program: http://www.tsunamiready.noaa.gov StormReady® program: http://www.stormready.noaa.gov StormReady® and TsunamiReady™ are registered trademarks of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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