Educating the Educators on Severe Weather

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A common concencus has been reached, I believe, due to several threads in this forum, that one of major inhibitors of intelligent severe weather planning is lack of proper and current severe weather knowledge by the officials we trust to educate children in the local school services.

I want to open up for dialogue what the feasibility is, and the interest is, for starting a non-profit organization dedicated solely to severe weather education for educational facilities.

Such an organization could hold:

1. Conferences geared specifically for educators that would cover:
a. Severe weather education for professionals
b. Proposals for proper planning for severe weather based on school
c. Distribution of NOAA Weather Radios
d. Educational material on severe weather for students

Questions are.

1. Does such a program already exist.
2. Is this feasible.
3. Is there enough interest to begin such a program.

Thoughts please. This is JUST EXPLORATORY.
 
I like the idea, I just think the budget realities of #2 prevent it... There's no way school principals are going to take time and money to go spend a day learning about tornado shelter procedures.
 
I like the idea, I just think the budget realities of #2 prevent it... There's no way school principals are going to take time and money to go spend a day learning about tornado shelter procedures.
Schools have inservice days for the teachers built into the schedule, so that's not a problem. Take one of those days and use it for that exact purpose.
 
I think that's a great idea, Jeffrey. After what happened in Alabama I've been wondering what safety plan the local school district here has in place. I've considered writing a letter to the Superintendent and see what safety plans are in place.
 
Schools have inservice days for the teachers built into the schedule

It's not the time, it's the transportation. You have to get the people to wherever the conference is going to be held, take care of expenses, feed them, and so on. Odds of all districts in an area having a day off on the same day aren't good either...
 
Especially for professional meteorologists, there is a concern we've run into, and that's perceived liability. I say perceived liability, because I don't know what would stand up in court.

We've been asked by schools to come out and identify some of the safest areas in a school for a tornado. That's pretty much textbook (interior rooms, no windows, etc.)

Then a few school administrators have asked us to tell them exactly what their people should do, and to help rewrite their severe weather action plan.

That's where a professional, non-gov meteorologist (read: a met who works for any company with deep pockets) should probably take a step back. To actually help *make* the rules could very well expose one and one's employer to suits if someone is ever killed when using those rules. That is the advice/instruction I have received, and follow.

I think this is mainly comes from the fact that people are sue-happy, and there's shouldn't really be liability, but this is no perfect world.

If schools or others want that kind of advice or work on a severe weather plan, they should probably involve the NWS, or an agency that can't get sued.
 
Dear Friends

We are a private weather company, but for the last ten years we have a social responsability initatiave called "Meteorology at School". This a free program oriented to primary school Science teachers in the public school system of the city of Sao Leopoldo, where we are based. The training includes basic lessons of weather and climate as well "severe weather 101".

http://www.metsul.com/estatica/m_escola.php

After six months of classes, the teaches receive a certificate and the "graduation" takes place in a cerimony with local authorities as the city's mayor. The students of those teachers also visit our weather station where they attend a lecture by one of our meteorologists. For that program we were listed by one of the most important business magazines in Brazil as "a company that practices the good".
 
I know it wouldn't be as effective, but couldn't such an outreach be started by producing a DVD/brochure that could be distributed to individual schools as well as districts? There have been such programs in existence for decades, I know, but perhaps more recent upgrades in structural understanding and event theories (early release or no school on high risk days) based on modern experience could be emphasized. Then schools/districts who desired in-depth consultation could schedule with other like-minded orgs and bring professionals in.
 
Okay, I might be slightly offtopic but still...here in Slovakia we have certain meteorologists who do not even know what SUPERCELL is and I remember my friend calling to meteorological office somewhere and he inquired on tornado that happend few days before. Meteorologist got upset, telling him off by this: Dear boy, tornadoes do not exist here. They form over tropical seas and are called hurricanes. Both me and my friend laughed on this although well, it is not funny at all. In Slovakia, we have almost none warning system at all, TORNADO has never been mentioned in any forecast.
Here, people simply do not know what tornado is. They think that it is some kind of strong wind and they often misinterpret tornado for a tropical cyclone...
You can imagine what happens when a really strong storms comes in. The famous supercell in 1998 killed 50 people. Meteorologists here were staring at radar, concluding that it IS a strange storm, so powerful looking. No warning. Supercell produced giant hail, severe wind and flash flood, which devasted whole village.
So...here in Slovakia, the situation is even worse, there are really few people, who have some knowledge about storms and tornadoes.
 
Tomas

Here in Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil, the most "celebrated" meteorologist at the PUBLIC weather service said for many years tornados couldn't happen in this part of the globe. One day the TV recorded a tornado and he was forced to recognize it. The same guy still say "El Niño" is an "american invention" to scare local producers and favor american agriculture. In the Catarina hurricane, he said the wind would be as normal as a windy day. He got suspended from his job after that.

There are days when we insist the severe weather situation is dangerous, that people should be cautious, etc, but the media start to interview these guys and people are forced to believe nothing will happen. Then, in the following day, in the front pages, the headlines are: "destruction, damages, etc".
 
Im guessing here. But I think the majority of Skywarn Spotters and Watchers are ordinary people who have a love for weather, but then there are emergency personel who Must also have the training as they are Outdoors most often.

I think that if you Live in Tornado and Hurricane Prone area's then All School, Office and various personel Must attend Skywarn Classes by there local NWS to better learn Watches and Warnings, Storm Structure, etc. This way the warning signs will be more evident for each individual as they will better understand the Concerns laid out by the SPC and there Local NWS and will guide them in Designing an Emergency plan for Severe Weather either Occuring or Prior to.

The more they understand, the more serious they will be in Doing there best to prevent any loss of life, etc etc.

-gerrit
 
There is no way to "force" people to go to Skywarn class, and to be honest going to a spotter training seminar won't teach you a thing about where to put kids in the face of a tornado.
 
If the schools ask for it, I'm sure they do. But 'local' means your mileage WILL vary. Some EM's are in the field to do good, and will be pro-active. Unfortunately there are still quite a few in it because they helped the mayor get elected.
 
It's not the time, it's the transportation. You have to get the people to wherever the conference is going to be held, take care of expenses, feed them, and so on. Odds of all districts in an area having a day off on the same day aren't good either...

Maybe not the principal of a single school, but it is the responsibility of the administration of a school district to make itself aware of this issue. The administration should send a person out to a conference or have someone well-versed on the topic come in to them.

Either way, it needs to happen.
 
I totally agree with everything being said - I just don't think an entity capable of doing it will ever come into existance because of budgetary issues. Schools don't have the money to pay for it.
 
For once, I can say I actually agree with rdale. No matter how dire this organization might seem to some, and I am right on board with those who do, it is ultimately up to the people who hold the cash as to whether or not it comes into being. I think it will take more school-related weather disasters for them to consider it.
 
I totally agree with everything being said - I just don't think an entity capable of doing it will ever come into existance because of budgetary issues. Schools don't have the money to pay for it.

School administrators have enough on their plate these days, so don't count on anyone going to spotter training classes. Money and time are both issues. However, school administrators do need to make sure the school has a working severe weather safety plan and they are ultimately responsible for the safety of the students. Having a functional weather radio and a pre-planned, actively practiced safety drill will go a long way towards savings lives.
 
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