Posted by Jean Gordon Cook
(JACKSON, Miss.) – The StormReady Advisory Board for the National Weather Service in Jackson, Miss., has awarded Jackson State University the recognition of a StormReady university. According to the National Weather Service, StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness.
“This distinction honors JSU’s proactive approach to improve local hazardous weather operations and public awareness to save lives and property before and during a weather event,” said Felix Okojie, JSU’s vice president for research and federal relations.
The StormReady designation is the result of a rigorous evaluation of Jackson State’s readiness to alert and communicate with JSU constituents, community partners and first responders in the event of an emergency, said Curtis Johnson, research coordinator for the National Center for Biodefense Communication at JSU. The process included a site visit from representatives from the National Weather Service, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and a certified StormReady county, who evaluated the university’s emergency response processes, equipment, personnel and training. Steve Wilkinson with the National Weather Service assisted tremendously in getting JSU ready for the site visit, Johnson said.
“We appreciate this recognition from the StormReady Advisory Board for the National Weather Service,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers. “This is part of my administration’s commitment to enhance the university’s response to emergencies and to provide safety and security to the communities we serve.”
Jackson State is the third public university in Mississippi and one of 86 public institutions nationwide to earn the StormReady designation.
In related news, Jackson State has been awarded $315,000 from the Mississippi State Department of Health to purchase and install a generator for the T.B. Ellis Building, which houses a gymnasium and other sports facilities. The building has been designated to serve as a Special Medical Needs Shelter during designated emergency periods.
Jackson State has worked with the Mississippi Department of Health and Federal Health Services on various projects over the years during national disasters, said Johnson, who is actively involved in emergency management collaborations with the university and various external agencies. The shelter project is expected to benefit JSU students, faculty and staff, as well as the larger community, and provide Jackson State with new opportunities for innovation in the areas of emergency management and safety.
The funds are part of Mississippi State Department of Health Hazard Mitigation Grant.