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State of Rhode Island StormReady Achievement

Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency External Affairs

Press Release

State of Rhode Island StormReady Achievement

For Use: Immediately

Date: February 2, 2018

Re: StormReady

The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency is pleased to announce that Rhode Island is the first state in the country to have all municipalities recognized as StormReady by the National Weather Service (NWS). To celebrate this achievement, representatives from all 39 cities and towns gathered at the State House Rotunda for a group picture, holding signs that proclaim they are StormReady.

The NWS StormReady program encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines on how to improve their hazardous weather operations. To be recognized as StormReady by the NWS, all cities and towns across the state completed a six-point plan to manage severe weather. Those six points include: Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public; Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally; 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.

The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, in collaboration with the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Taunton, MA, led an 18-month effort across Rhode Island to become a StormReady State.

NWS Taunton Meteorologist-in-Charge Robert Thompson said, "Although StormReady designation doesn't keep the storms away, it does signify a community's commitment to be prepared when a storm does threaten and proactively respond for the sake of public safety. There can be no greater calling for government than helping to ensure the safety of its citizens."

Leading the effort on the ground was Stephen Conard from RIEMA and Glenn Field from the NWS Office in Taunton. To kick start the StormReady Rhode Island initiative, RIEMA purchased weather radios and lightning detectors for all of Rhode Island cities and towns. To further preparedness across the state, each municipality received a $2,500 grant from the Emergency funds which will continue to help strengthen preparedness within each community. "RIEMA provided pocket sized portable lightning detectors are among the resources we acquired to implement our StormReady program. We issued one of these lightning detectors to the chief lifeguard at our Town beach to provide advanced warning of approaching thunderstorms," said Portsmouth Emergency Management Director, John King.

Today, Governor Gina Raimondo thanked everyone at EMA and all 39 communities for their hard work and dedication in preparing Rhode Island and setting a national standard. "Preparedness is a full-time job. Thank you to every community in Rhode Island for taking the time to plan ahead and keep Rhode Islanders safe."

Contact: Kristina Murray (401) 536-5248 Cell (401) 462-7063 Office www.riema.ri.gov

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