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Okaloosa County continues to excel in severe weather preparedness, StormReady status reaffirmed by National Weather Service

Okaloosa County, Florida – Okaloosa County has successfully maintained its StormReady status, reaffirmed by the National Weather Service (NWS). This designation recognizes the county’s efforts in enhancing its emergency communications infrastructure and its heightened awareness of severe weather threats. Since 2002, Okaloosa has demonstrated its commitment to safety and preparedness, a priority for the region prone to such events.

Recognizing Excellence in Storm Readiness

The confirmation of StormReady status by the NWS, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), comes after rigorous evaluations by both the NWS and the local StormReady Advisory Board. To achieve this recognition, communities must meet specific criteria that ensure their readiness for severe weather conditions. These requirements include:

  • Establishing a 24-hour warning point and an emergency operations center.
  • Implementing multiple methods to receive severe weather alerts and to inform the public.
  • Developing a local system to monitor weather conditions.
  • Promoting public readiness through community education seminars.
  • Creating a formal hazardous weather plan that involves training for severe weather spotters and conducting emergency exercises.

Read also: Okaloosa County moves forward with planning study to address rapid growth in northern regions

“I am extremely proud that Okaloosa County remains at the highest level of storm readiness,” expressed Okaloosa County Board Chairman Paul Mixon. “While we cannot prevent natural disasters, it is important for all of us to be prepared so that we can react appropriately before, during, and after a storm.”

A Commitment to Public Safety

Okaloosa County’s efforts are driven by a dedicated team under the leadership of Patrick Maddox, the County’s Director of Public Safety. “Meeting the metrics defined by the National Weather Service for this recognition is a reflection on the hard work of the County’s Emergency Management team,” Maddox stated. He emphasized the importance of their proactive measures, “The fact that we pay attention and have plans and policies in place, ensures that we are as prepared as possible in the event of a disaster.”

The county’s StormReady status is effective for four years, after which it will need to be renewed. This ongoing process reflects the county’s dedication to maintaining high standards of readiness. Residents and those interested in learning more about the StormReady program and how to enhance community safety against severe weather can find more information at https://www.weather.gov/stormready/.

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