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The National Weather Service has presented the Town of Fountain Hills with its StormReady Community designation.

The presentation was made virtually at the Oct. 6 Town Council meeting by Marv Percha, Jr. with the weather service Phoenix office.

Fountain Hills Rural/Metro Fire Chief Dave Ott and Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Mike Winters accepted the presentation.

Ott credited Winters with bringing the designation to the attention of the town and doing much of the work to implement the recognition.

In Arizona flooding is a significant weather hazard but Percha noted that the StormReady designation covers all incidents from a tsunami to a haboob. StormReady is a partnership with the Town Fountain Hills, the National Weather Service and the American Red Cross.

Fountain Hills is now one of 11 StormReady communities in Maricopa County, along with the county itself. Other major non-municipal entities with the designation include Arizona State University, SRP and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

A NWS statement regarding StormReady states that “being part of a Weather-Ready Nation is about preparing for your community's increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events. Americans live in the most severe weather-prone country on Earth. You can make sure your community is StormReady.

“Some 98 percent of all Presidentially declared disasters are weather related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. The StormReady program helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before, during and after the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs.

“StormReady communities, counties, Indian nations, universities and colleges, military bases, government sites, commercial enterprises and other groups are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness. No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives.

“StormReady uses a grassroots approach to help communities develop plans to handle all types of extreme weather — from tornadoes to winter storms. The program encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines on how to improve their hazardous weather operations.”

To be officially StormReady, a community must:

*Establish a 24-hour warning point and 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.