COUNTY DESIGNATED TSUNAMI- AND STORM-READY BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
The National Weather Service has recognized Clatsop County for its ambitious emergency preparedness program with the official TsunamiReady and StormReady designations.
Tyree Wilde, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service, and NWS meteorologist Steve Todd announced the designation to the board of commissioners Wednesday. He presented Chair Dirk Rohne with a plaque as well as informational signs for posting around the county.
The agency’s TsunamiReady and StormReady programs recognize local governments that have worked to reduce the risk from tsunamis and severe weather events through education, communications upgrades and planning.
“It’s a pretty hard designation to get,” Wilde said.
Among the criteria that potential designees must meet are:
· Establish an Emergency Operations Center
· Have multiple avenues for receiving storm warnings and disseminating information to public
· Have a system for local weather monitoring
· Host community seminars for promoting public preparedness
· Create a formal hazardous weather plan including training and exercises
Additional requirements for the TsunamiReady program include identifying hazard zones and developing evacuation and response plans.
Wilde said the designation is the result of hard work by Emergency Management Director Dean Perez, Deputy Emergency Manager Gene Strong and Emergency Services Coordinator Tom Manning. Strong added that Transportation and Development Services Director Ed Wegner and Planner Jennifer Bunch made contributions, including development maps, for the county’s preparedness program.
Clatsop County joins Coos, Douglas and Tillamook counties as county governments in Oregon designated under the programs. The City of Cannon Beach has also earned the designations.
The county has taken several steps to improve its emergency readiness. They include securing funding for communications upgrades and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. In April the board of commissioners approved an update of the county’s Emergency Operations Plan, which details the roles and duties of various county departments’ and personnel during emergencies. As part of the plan the Emergency Management Division is organizing training for county staff under the National Emergency Management System/Incident Command System program.
A centerpiece of the county’s efforts is the planned construction of a Communications Wing onto the Emergency Operations Center at Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center in Warrenton. Located at the camp’s Warrior Hall, the EOC is reserved for the county’s use during major natural disasters or other events. The county recently received a federal grant for construction of an addition on Warrior Hall to permanently house the EOC’s communications equipment, reducing set-up time and allowing for more frequent training exercises.
PHOTO CAPTION: Clatsop County Board of Commissioners Chair Dirk Rohne, Emergency Services Coordinator Tom Manning, Emergency Management Director Dean Perez, Deputy Emergency Manager Gene Strong and National Weather Service Meteorologist Steve Todd at Wednesday’s StormReady and TsunamiReady designation presentation.
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