ST. CHARLES – When severe storms approached the Tri-Cities area this week, Paul Bumba knew what to expect. As the emergency preparedness coordinator for St. Charles, it's part of his duty to be ready to respond in such a situation.
Last month, the city accomplished a National Weather Service designation acknowledging its emergency preparedness. St. Charles became a StormReady Community, joining dozens of other communities in the state and more than 2,000 in the nation.
"Not every community gets it," Bumba said. "Not every community tries for it. … It does require work, and it does require having procedures and policies."
According to the weather service, 64 Illinois communities have achieved the designation, including St. Charles and Batavia. Kane County is one of 23 counties in the state to receive the designation. And nationwide, the service listed 2,218 communities with the designation, as of Thursday.
According to the weather service, the program "encourages communities to take a proactive approach to improving local weather operations." It "provides emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines on how to improve their hazardous weather operations."
According to the weather service, communities must:
• Establish an 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.
• Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.