BGSU participates in Severe Weather Awareness Week

This week (March 20-26) is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Ohio, a time for families, businesses and other public places to review emergency plans, get re-acquainted with weather warnings and watches, and update safety kits and supplies. 

Bowling Green State University’s Department of Public Safety is following the state of Ohio’s guidelines in getting the message out about preparing for severe weather.  On Wednesday, March 23 at 9:50 a.m., Wood County and the city of Bowling Green will take part in the Statewide Tornado Drill. The purpose of the drill is to sound and test outdoor warning sirens. Schools, businesses and households are encouraged to practice their tornado drills and emergency plans. Procedures for campus can be found on the BGSU Emergency Management and Response website.

As part of the University’s emergency plan, students, faculty and staff automatically receive text messages from AlertBG. It was developed nine years ago as a way to quickly reach students, faculty, staff and local first responders in emergency situations. There is the option of de-activating the alerts through the MyBGSU account.

BGSU’s Department of Public Safety is currently working on a plan to become a StormReady University. The program was developed by the National Weather Service to help communities protect citizens during a weather crisis. It recognizes organizations that develop comprehensive plans that will help save lives during severe weather. 

“The BGSU StormReady University Plan will enhance the University’s preparedness efforts to better protect students, faculty, staff and guests from severe weather events that may impact our campus,” said Matthew Keefe, BGSU emergency management coordinator.

There are 27 members of the BGSU StormReady University Planning Team. Right now, Keefe is working on applying for various grants and finding additional partners to enhance the planning efforts.

“Working with BGSU staff and local, state, federal and private partners provides us with a synergistic approach to public safety to the BGSU community,” Keefe said.

BGSU already has one of the best lightning safety plans in the nation, Keefe said.. Last November, the University became the first in the state of Ohio and the first in the MAC to be recognized by the National Weather Service for the implementation of its lightning safety plan. The plan includes efforts to reduce the risks associated with lightning for students, staff and visitors to BGSU’s outdoor stadiums and fields.