Fort Fairfield Awarded StormReady Community Designation, Again
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Program Once Again Recognizes Town's Efforts to Prepare for Severe Weather
Fort Fairfield Journal, October 12, 2016
The Town of Fort Fairfield is no stranger when it comes to the impacts of severe weather. The community of 3500 lies on the banks of the Aroostook River, and every year come ice-out, everyone braces to see what curve Mother Nature will send down river.
“We have experienced several major floods since the settlement of Fort Fairfield more than 200 years ago,” stated Tony Levesque, the Town of Fort Fairfield’s Code Enforcement Officer and resident historian. “The last major flood, in 1994, sunk our Main Street under five feet of water. Our experience bouncing back from that devastating flood led us to do more to plan and prepare for natural disasters, and in the process, we have undertaken many projects which are designed to protect the people and property – including construction of a dike and participation in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s StormReady program.”
The Storm Ready program is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events. Roughly 98% of all presidential disaster declarations are weather and flood related, leading to over 500 deaths, 2,500 injuries and nearly $24 billion in damages each year (sources: Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA), National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and Munich Reinsurance Company). The devastating impacts of extreme events can be reduced through improved readiness. The StormReady program (www.stormready.noaa.gov) is a partnership with emergency management that helps reduce risk and increase community resilience to hazards.
Fort Fairfield has been at the forefront of emergency planning for decades and was one of the first communities in the country to receive the StormReady designation. Since 2001, Fort Fairfield has made planning and preparing for natural disasters a priority, and has been designated as a StormReady community for its efforts. On October 3rd, Fort Fairfield was once again recognized for these efforts and has been awarded the StormReady Community designation for 2017 - 2020.
“ It is vitally important to our residents that we as town staff and first responders take necessary and meaningful steps to assure their lives, the lives of their children and their investment in our community are protected and that we are proactive in making sure we are prepared in the event of a natural disaster,” said Jim Risner, Fort Fairfield’s Town Manager.
“Being awarded the StormReady designation is proof that our efforts to be prepared are effective and our investment in time, money and resources to prepare are being recognized by our federal partners,” said Shawn Newell, Fort Fairfield’s Emergency Management Director. “Residents should rest assured that, as one of less than 1000 StormReady communities nationwide, the town of Fort Fairfield is a leader in storm preparation and our community is better positioned should a natural disaster strike our region.”
“The National Weather Service (NWS) is proud to partner with communities like Fort Fairfield who take seriously storm preparation,” explained Donald Dumont, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou who worked with town staff to develop their emergency management and response plans. “While no one can predict where and when severe weather will strike, it is important to be prepared to take action when it does happen. Fort Fairfield’s planning and coordination among departments is to be commended.”
The StormReady program is designed to reduce fatalities, injuries and minimize property damage through timely distribution, receipt and effective communication of hazardous weather and flood warnings between the NWS, emergency managers and the public; provide detailed and clear recommendations emergency managers may use to establish or improve hazardous weather and flood planning, operations and public response and to empower Americans to make better decisions before and during weather and flood hazards through community preparedness.
For more information about this designation, please contact Fort Fairfield Public Information Officer Tim Goff at 472-3802 or email email@example.com For more information about the StormReady program, please contact Donald Dumont at the National Weather Service offices in Caribou at 492-0180 or email Donald.firstname.lastname@example.org