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News > Sheppard first Texas AF base to be NWS "Storm Ready"
Sheppard AFB Awarded Storm Readiness
Brig. Gen. Michael Fantini, 82nd Training Wing commander, and Jeremy Kirk, 82nd Civil Engineering Squadron DS2 Emergency Management specialist, stand with representatives from the National Weather Service and the local community in the wing conference room after recieving the NWS "Storm Ready" award Jan. 24, 2013. Sheppard Air Force Base is the first Air Force installation in Texas to receive the storm readiness award from the NWS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jelani Gibson)
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Sheppard first Texas AF base to be NWS "Storm Ready"

Posted 1/24/2013   Updated 1/24/2013 Email story   Print story


by Airman First Class Jelani Gibson
82nd TRW Public Affairs

1/24/2013 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Sheppard was named a "Storm Ready" community by the National Weather Service (NWS) during a ceremony in the 82nd Training Wing conference room Jan. 24. 

The base was the first Air Force installation in Texas to be awarded the storm readiness rating by the NWS, an award that requires a community to have proactive and clear-cut guidelines on how to respond in hazardous weather operations.

Brig. Gen. Michael Fantini, 82nd Training Wing commander, accepted the award on behalf of the base from Richard Smith, a meteorologist for the NWS office in Norman, Okla., whose agency is in charge of disaster warnings in Wichita County.

According to Smith, storm readiness is based on communication and coordination between communities.  The base's rating helps solidfy Wichita Falls as one of the most storm ready communities in the country, with the county, city and several organizations holding the "Storm Ready" rating.

"This is something we've been working on for several years," said Smith. "Wichita County has the most types of different storm readiness in the entire U.S."

The rating is valid for a period of three years, then it is reevaluated.

Fantini praised the cooperative relationship between the base and the Wichita Falls community that contributed to the storm readiness effort.  The wing command post and base weather office were also congratulated.

"It's quite an accomplishment," the general said. "The award highlights the Department of Defense, Sheppard and downtown community's fantastic relationship."

Jeremy Kirk, 82nd Civil Engineering Squadron emergency management specialist, played a key role in preparing the base for potential disaster situations.

Partnerships with the community and being a team player are among the many qualities attributed to getting Sheppard Air Force Base disaster ready, said Kirk.
"We can't do it alone," said Kirk. "(Disasters) are not going to stop at the missile gate, or the city and county line."

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