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VUMC’s storm preparedness efforts lauded by National Weather Service

Jul. 24, 2014, 8:44 AM

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the first medical center in Tennessee to be named a Storm Ready Supporter by the National Weather Service (NWS), a designation that recognizes a superior level of preparedness for tornadoes and inclement weather.

“This designation is the work of a lot of people who were interested in making us a storm-ready facility,” said Pam Hoffner, MSN, R.N., director of Emergency Preparedness and Response.

VUMC has been recognized by the National Weather Service for its high level of preparedness for inclement weather. (file photo)

In order to gain the recognition of the NWS, the Medical Center had to meet several benchmarks, including:

• The ability to receive weather warnings in a variety of ways, including via weather radio. There are now several weather radios in strategic locations around VUMC, including areas where critical warnings can be quickly relayed to staff, faculty and students.

• Having trained storm spotters on staff. More than a dozen staff and faculty took NWS storm spotter training earlier this year, with additional opportunities for additional staff planned.

• Having NWS-approved hazardous weather plans for both inclement weather and specifically for tornadoes. VUMC has had these plans for many years.

• Providing information about weather-related drills to make sure staff are informed and up to date about what actions to take in an emergency. This information is part of the annual safety review during the employee evaluation process.

Also, representatives from the NWS — a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — made a site visit to VUMC as part of the designation process.

“I think it’s important we have a hazardous weather plan that everybody is versed in to keep our faculty, staff, students and patients safe,” Hoffner said.

More information about the Storm Ready program is at

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