Maricopa County is StormReady
National Weather Service awards rating
The National Weather Service presented Maricopa County with their third consecutive StormReady rating at Wednesday's Board of Supervisors meeting. The StormReady program was designed by the National Weather Service to encourage counties and communities to better prepare for the effects of extreme weather. Achieving this rating is another important facet of our emergency preparedness program.
StormReady standards included in the rating are specific to the community given the area’s potential and history for severe weather. A large portion of the rating concentrates on warning systems and communication infrastructure, as well as inter-agency cooperation. For example, the county’s Emergency Management Department is tied in with the National Weather Service and monitors weather activity on a 24-hour basis. The Flood Control District has deployed a large network of rain and flow gauges at strategic points around the county. This allows the District to monitor upstream weather and downstream flows, giving both transportation officials the ability to set road closures and emergency planners to initiate flood response actions.
While Maricopa County is prepared for a severe weather event, there remains concern among emergency planners and county leaders if the public is as prepared as it should be. A recent survey of county residents revealed that 47% are somewhat unprepared and not at all prepared for a natural disaster such as an earthquake, wildfire, or flood. This is concerning, given the right severe weather event could leave residents stranded and without electricity for a number of days.
County officials recommend residents be StormReady as well:
1. Make a Household Disaster Plan
2. Have an Emergency Supply Kit
3. Make a “Go” Bag
A good household plan will cover what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in an emergency. Weather alert radios are also recommended for each household. In addition to turning itself on to warn of weather events in designated areas, the tone alert radio broadcasts both Amber alerts and instructional messages related to other emergencies. These radios are modestly priced ($15) and available at a number of retail electronic or department stores and online.
For information about personal preparedness, visit www.ready.gov or the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management online at www.maricopa.gov/emerg_mgt
Visit the National Weather Service for more information or call Maricopa County Emergency Management at 602-273-1411.