JOPLIN, MO.--- With severe weather season approaching, Missouri is participating in Severe Weather Awareness Week. City officials want to make sure citizens can react quickly to any storm in Joplin. How they have done that is by implementing new technology around the city since May 22nd, 2011. Almost three years later, Joplin is considered a storm ready community.
On May 22nd 2011, Grace Martin was in her home hallway covered in cushions. Something she says she won't do again if another storm comes.
"I would probably go to a safer place, but we had a short notice in this case. So didn't know where to run too," said Grace Martin, Joplin Resident.
"Our average reaction time here in Jasper County runs about 10 minutes from when we actually spot a tornado to when it touches down. That's not very much time," said Keith Stammer, Jasper County Director of Emergency Management.
Officials in Joplin have worked to make the city a storm-ready community and have a faster reaction time. The city has increased the number of outdoor warning sirens.
"Parks, golf courses, recreation areas. Any place where citizens are gathered outside, we have our sirens," said Stammer.
Jasper County Director of Emergency Management Keith Stammer says more than 4,000 weather radios have been given to people in the area.
"All they are, are a receiving radio tuned in to the Noah Weather channels that are out there, so they also can hear the watches and warnings the same time I do," said Stammer.
There is now a website that allows the city to post storm watches and warnings to several community media outlets.
"To be able to send out information to text messaging or to email. Also to Facebook and to Twitter," said Stammer.
Stammer says the city will try to offer as much service as they can, but each person is responsible for being prepared.
"We need to pay attention to what's going on. And have thought through this process ahead of time, so we know what to do in order to be safe," said Stammer.
In all, there are 13 different things a city has to do to be considered a storm ready community.
1. Citizens must have a Noah Weather Radio.
2. 911 Dispatch Center
3. Pagers must be in use.
4. TV available to watch news
5. Phone availability
6. Internet Access
7. Wather station in house
8. Outdoor warning sirens
9. Call down telephone tree
10. Websire for communication
11. Annual weather spotter training
12. Area media in use
13. Onsite inspection by National Weather Service