StormZone, a school-based science and social studies program that teaches secondary education students about severe weather and earthquakes, the role of emergency management, preparedness and volunteerism, announces the launch of Weather Rangers.
“Weather Rangers will be dedicated middle and high school students who are responsible for teaching their classmates and the community at large about the importance of severe weather-related disaster preparedness and community volunteerism,” said StormZone director Bay Proby, who founded the program in 2006. “In any conversation, the most talkedabout topic is weather, whether it is local, national or even international.”
Every year, thousands of Americans find themselves in harm’s way from weather disasters such as hurricanes, winter storms, tornadoes, floods and flash floods, wildfires and earthquakes. “No one is exempt,” Proby said. “That’s why understanding the most dangerous weather threats in each locale and making advance plans can save lives and protect property.”
Following are descriptions of Weather Rangers on-campus and community activities:
Weather Expo —The Weather Rangers will coordinate these on-campus events held in school gymnasiums, auditoriums or other suitable campus venues. These halfday events feature an emergency management center styled disaster preparedness simulation; a storm resistant house contest, and building a disaster survival kit and a family communication plan. Time-permitting, the Weather Expo also will include a tornado drill simulation. Representatives from the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and FEMA, as well as state, county and municipal emergency management personnel will speak at the event about their respective responsibilities. Other local agencies could speak about animal protection, search and rescue, law enforcement and firefighting.
Student simulation at local EOC — Weather Rangers will conduct a disaster simulation at a municipal or county emergency operations center (EOC).The students would form their own government and simulate a severe weather disaster or earthquake striking their city. Included in this exercise would be problem- solving challenges where the students work together to resolve an assortment of emergencies. At the conclusion of the two-hour exercise a press conference would be held for student reporters to interview the student mayor.
Community outreach — There are numerous outreach opportunities for the Weather Rangers to inform residents about the importance of preparedness and volunteerism. Weather Rangers would publish articles in campus publications, area newspapers and magazines and social media about the importance of advance planning, location of storm shelters and evacuation routes, and home mitigation. This vital information also would be provided at community events.
To start a Weather Rangers program, middle and high schools should email the StormZone office at firstname.lastname@example.org. A representative will then call the school contact about how to organize student organizations and their various activities, as well as ordering Weather Ranger T-shirts.
StormZone is a school-based multidisciplinary science and social studies education program that teaches students about the science of severe natural hazards — hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and flash floods, severe winter weather, extreme heat, wildfires, and earthquakes — and how emergency management agencies work with federal, state and local governments to prepare for and recover from such disasters.
Within this framework is an interactive exercise where students form their own government and plan and recover from a major weather event. The program, designed specifically for 6-12 grades, also provides students with safety and preparedness information, including a Disaster Survival Kit and Family Communication Plan to take home to their families. Finally, StormZone provides information about how to become a Red Cross volunteer.