148th Fighter Wing becomes first National Guard StormReady Community

Mr. Michael R. Stewart, meteorologist in charge of the Duluth, Minn., National Weather Service (right center) presents the  148th Fighter Wing with certification as a StormReady Community at the Duluth, Minn., ANG Base May 3, 2010.  The 148th Fighter Wing has become the first National Guard unit to be certified by the National Weather Service as a StormReady Community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jason W. Rolfe/Released)

Mr. Michael R. Stewart, meteorologist in charge of the Duluth, Minn., National Weather Service (right center) presents the 148th Fighter Wing with certification as a StormReady Community at the Duluth, Minn., ANG Base May 3, 2010. The 148th Fighter Wing has become the first National Guard unit to be certified by the National Weather Service as a StormReady Community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jason W. Rolfe/Released)

Mr. Michael R. Stewart, meteorologist in charge of the Duluth, Minn., National Weather Service presents U.S. Air Force Col. Frank Stokes, 148th Fighter Wing Commander, certification of the 148th Fighter Wing as a StormReady Community at the Duluth, Minn., ANG Base May 3, 2010.  The 148th Fighter Wing has become the first National Guard unit to be certified by the National Weather Service as a StormReady Community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jason W. Rolfe/Released)

Mr. Michael R. Stewart, meteorologist in charge of the Duluth, Minn., National Weather Service presents U.S. Air Force Col. Frank Stokes, 148th Fighter Wing Commander, certification of the 148th Fighter Wing as a StormReady Community at the Duluth, Minn., ANG Base May 3, 2010. The 148th Fighter Wing has become the first National Guard unit to be certified by the National Weather Service as a StormReady Community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jason W. Rolfe/Released)

DULUTH, Minn. -- The 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., has become the first National Guard unit to be certified by the National Weather Service as a StormReady Community.

Carol Christiansen and Mike Stewart from the National Weather Service presented the 148th with its StormReady certification and road signs on Tuesday May 4, 2010 at the Duluth Air National Guard Base.

"Because of such a large employee base mixed with our capabilities at the Guard Base makes this certification an important achievement for our unit," said Airman 1st Class Teri Eicher, 148th Fighter Wing Emergency Management Specialist.

The 148th has become one of only 13 military installations to become a StormReady Community. Of these communities, only three are active duty Air Force bases; Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., and FE Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.

"Meeting StormReady requirements to protect the assortment of on-duty personnel and the varied types of shelters available was a substantial undertaking," said Michael R. Stewart, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office. "StormReady helps commanders make decisions that will help everyone at the airfield year-around."

StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs. Ninety percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $14 billion in damage. The National Weather Service's StormReady, a program started in 1999 in Tulsa, Okla., helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property-before and during the event.

Once a community meets preparedness criteria, outlined by a partnership between the National Weather Service, and state and local emergency managers, it will be pronounced "StormReady." However, before that happens, communities must establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center and have more than one method of receiving severe weather forecasts and warnings to alert the public. They must create a system that monitors local weather conditions. Communities must also promote the significance of public readiness through training as well as develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding exercises.

For more information on StormReady, visit http://www.stormready.noaa.gov/index.html