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The National Disaster Preparedness Training Center successfully conducted the first two demos of their new Tornado Awareness course in Oklahoma.


Posted on Nov. 20, 2013



The National Disaster Preparedness Training Center successfully conducted the first two demos of their new Tornado Awareness course in Oklahoma

The first delivery took place in Norman, OK on November 5, 2013, and the second delivery was held in McAlester, OK on November 7, 2013. These two locations were selected by the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security to represent the urban and rural environments.

 Oklahoma was selected as the location of the first deliveries for this course because of their experience with numerous tornadoes each year and their local expertise in tornado science, preparedness, and response. The participants represented a wide variety of professions, including urban and rural fire departments, security professionals, emergency management, National Guard, amateur radio, and storm spotter groups. Many of the participants in the Norman, OK delivery had first-hand experience responding to and recovering from the EF-5 tornado that hit Moore, OK on May 20, 2013.

 The 4-hour Tornado Awareness course provides emergency managers, first responders, and community members across all sectors with a basic understanding of the latest knowledge in tornado science, forecasting, warning, and preparedness. The course prepares participants to understand the basic principles of tornado science, including geographic distributions, conditions of formation, and typical characteristics, as well as to appreciate the complexities of the tornado forecast process. This allows them to make better-informed decisions when severe weather threatens. The course concludes with a group activity designed to facilitate dialogue about how best to prepare and respond to a tornado scenario, based on an actual event.

 The course demos were successful, and NDPTC received good feedback from the participants. The feedback is currently being compiled, and the course is being revised in preparation for the upcoming target audience pilots, which will likely take place in the Northeast U.S. and the Southeast U.S. Representatives from the National Weather Service were invited to attend both deliveries in Oklahoma, and they felt that this course will be a good complement to their existing storm spotter training courses and will reach an even broader audience.

 Given that the demand for the Tornado Awareness course far exceeded the availability of seats (30) for each of the deliveries in Oklahoma, it is likely that this course will see high demand across the country as tornadoes continue to be a threat to numerous states well outside the Great Plains.