Rockford StormReady

The Chicago Area StormReady Advisory Board has certified the city of Rockford as a StormReady Community.  A recognition ceremony took place at the Rockford Fire Department Headquarters at 204 South First Street in Rockford on Wednesday August 11 at 130 PM.     
StormReady is a program developed by the National Weather Service (NWS), in cooperation with state and local emergency management agencies, to recognize communities, counties, or universities that have established outstanding severe weather preparedness plans. The certification requires;
·         A 24-hour warning point and an emergency operations center that is manned during severe weather.
·         Redundant methods of monitoring weather conditions, receiving warnings from the NWS, and disseminating warnings to the community.
·         Trained severe storm spotters and established communications with NWS.
·         Educational outreach programs.
·         Tone activated NOAA Weather Radios in all public buildings.
Fire Chief Derek Bergsten and Division Chief Matthew Knott have ensured that the city met or exceeded all of the requirements of the StormReady program. NWS warnings are received from the internet and NOAA Weather Radio, as well as emergency management and law enforcement communications systems.  Other weather information and radar data are monitored as well. Every public building and school receives severe weather bulletins via NOAA Weather Radio. The community is notified of impending severe weather through a new network of outdoor warning sirens, cable TV override, text messaging, and reverse 911. Winnebago County Emergency Management Agency and the City of Rockford have hosted Skywarn Storm Spotter classes every spring.
“StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness,” says NWS
Meteorologist in Charge Ed Fenelon. “In light of the flooding events and the severe wind damage that have occurred over the past few years, we wanted to ensure that we, as a fire department, have done all we can to ensure that the citizens of Rockford are protected from severe weather. The StormReady designation for our community is the culmination of our continuing efforts of preparedness,” says Chief Derek Bergsten.
Rockford is one of 46 StormReady communities in Illinois, and along with Aurora and Naperville, one of the largest. There are 1636 StormReady entities nationwide as of August 3.

The Chicago area local StormReady advisory board that oversees the program includes Jim Allsopp of the NWS office in Chicago/Romeoville, Kathy Spellman of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, and Jim Goldasich of Illinois Emergency Services and Management Association. 

For more information on StormReady, visit National Weather Service, Chicago on the web at or

Pictured from left to right; Rockford Fire Department Chief Derek Bergsten. Division Chief Matthew Knott, Brandon Manhiem (NIU Student Intern), Patrick Rassmussen (NIU Student Intern), Jane Furness (NIU Student Intern), Jim Allsopp (National Weather Service), Edward Fenelon (National Weather Service), Mayor Lawrence Morrissey


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