The Detroit Zoo has become the first zoo in the country to be certified “StormReady” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS).
“The safety of our animals, guests and staff is our highest priority and we have a responsibility to be top notch at keeping the Zoo safe in the event of severe weather. This certification is validation that we are,” said Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director Ron Kagan.
The nationwide StormReady preparedness program leads communities in developing plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats. The program is voluntary and provides communities with advice from a partnership between the local NWS weather forecast office and state and local emergency managers. StormReady started in 1999 with seven certified communities; there are now more than 1,600 StormReady communities in the U.S.
“StormReady encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness," said Richard Pollman, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS weather forecast office in White Lake, Mich. “The program arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before and during a severe-weather event.”
To be recognized as StormReady, a community or venue must:
· establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
· have more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings and to alert the public
· create a system that monitors local weather conditions
· promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars
· develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises
The NWS is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the U.S. It operates the most advanced weather, flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the research of weather and climate-related events, providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.
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The Detroit Zoological Society is a non-profit organization that operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo. Situated on 125 acres of naturalistic exhibits, the Detroit Zoo is located at the intersection of 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, just off I-696, in Royal Oak. The Detroit Zoo is open daily 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through Labor Day and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the day after Labor Day through October. The Belle Isle Nature Zoo is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). For more information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit www.detroitzoo.org