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March 31, 2006

Weather Service Will Test Emergency Communications During Hazardous Weather Week

Weather Hazards Awareness Week will be observed in Oswego County and throughout New York State April 2 through 8. Oswego County Emergency Management Director Patricia Egan said the purpose of the educational campaign is to remind people of the precautions they should take when hazardous weather conditions are predicted.

“Every year Oswego County, like other regions across New York State, is buffeted by hazardous weather,” said Egan. “Thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding, and winter storms carry the potential of threatening public safety and property and disrupting our daily lives.”

The Oswego County Emergency Management Office works closely with New York State, the National Weather Service, and local agencies to quickly respond to potentially dangerous weather situations. In 2004, Oswego County was designated a “StormReady” county by the National Weather Service. The designation recognizes the multiple hazardous weather warning systems in place throughout the county.

“As part of the 18th annual statewide hazardous weather week, the National Weather Service offices serving New York State will issue test-warning messages for hazardous weather threats that develop rapidly,” said Egan. “The drills will take place Tuesday, April 4, and Thursday, April 6. They will involve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Radio and Weather Wire Service, the emergency management community’s National Warning System (NAWAS) and the New York Statewide Police Information Network (NYSPIN).”

NAWAS and NYSPIN are New York State’s official emergency management information communications systems for state agencies and local officials.

The communications drills will give National Weather Service staff the opportunity to practice skills usually applied under stress. The statewide drill also gives public safety and preparedness officials, the broadcast media and all New Yorkers the opportunity to test plans for responding to a weather emergency.

In Oswego County, the Emergency Management Office is encouraging schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities that have tone-alert weather radios issued by the office to participate by logging their receipt of the test messages and reviewing their hazardous weather plans.

Egan encourages residents to prepare themselves by putting together a family disaster kit with emergency supplies.

To help local residents become prepared for hazardous weather emergencies, the Oswego County Emergency Management Office offers a number of brochures on winter storms, thunderstorms and tornadoes, flooding preparedness, and general family disaster planning.

Brochures are available by visiting the office in the County Branch Office Building, state Route 481, Fulton, or by calling the Emergency Management Office at 591-9150. Information on hazardous weather emergencies is also posted on the Oswego County Web site at www.oswegocounty.com/emo/weather.html

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