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How Spotter Training Classes Positively Impact Communities

Cait French

I’m a meteorologist working in the local sector of Emergency Management and have gotten together with our local college and NWS office to set up a Spotter Training class. I’m concerned that it won’t have much of an impact on my community but I hope I’m wrong! I really want to see the public become more aware of dangerous weather and take more initiative to protect themselves and their families.

In what ways have you noticed these classes positively impact your communities? Or did it never take off?

Do you think they’re still helpful or should we try to go a different route as a spotter community trying to encourage Joe Q. Public?
In the NWS FWD (Fort Worth/Dallas) area NWS holds spotter training in all 46 of their counties. They would not do this if they didn't think it made an impact. These classes play to full houses in many counties and for ever person they directly train, that person becomes almost like an ambassador to their friends, family, and co-workers - so the reach is much larger than it looks. I think there are a couple of key things to success . First get your local media outlets to plug it on air and even ask them to come talk for 15 mins. Second, invite every em, fire, police, school district offical, and ham club around you.
We were very fortunate and had about 80 people there (including one VERY excited 6-year-old)! It was a fantastic turnout and I couldn’t have been happier! I did push for a lot of first responders and a lot of the county fire fighters came. Most of the ones that did were some that I’ve done training with (hazmat ops, SAR, etc), so it definitely pays to befriend those around you.