A National Weather Service representative presented Brigham Young University-Idaho with a certificate on June 10 declaring the university StormReady.

"It's a comfort to students and parents to know that we are ready for any major storm that may hit the area," said Eric Harmston, BYU-Idaho safety officer.

The National Weather Service (NWS) started the StormReady program in 1999 in Tulsa, Okla., helping community leaders and emergency managers strengthen safety programs through planning, education and awareness. According to the NWS, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 2,500 floods and 1,000 tornadoes hit the United States every year, taking approximately 500 lives and costing nearly $14 million. Wanting to lower the number of storm-related deaths, the weather service began teaching people to be more prepared when disasters strike.

BYU-Idaho safety officials discovered the program approximately two years ago and immediately began working toward certification. Upon further inspection, they found that BYU-Idaho already met most of the criteria. The university already had an emergency council in place, which held a sufficient number of meetings and had instated satisfactory emergency response procedures.

To comply with StormReady criteria, BYU-Idaho officials distributed radios across campus with access to The Weather Channel. They also began providing additional training to building coordinators, those responsible for their building's occupants in case of an emergency.

After the university completed necessary updates to become StormReady, the NWS inspected campus. An NWS official will present BYU-Idaho's StormReady certificate at 10 a.m. in Room 150 of the Spencer W. Kimball Building.

The university plans on maintaining its certification in the future, monitoring and updating the program annually.