NOAA03-R277
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Steve Rinard
6/17/03
NOAA News Releases 2003
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


NOAA HONORS CALCASIEU PARISH
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, today presented a Mark Trail NOAA Weather Radio Award to representatives of the Calcasieu Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness. The ceremony will take place on June 17 in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The office is being honored for its work with NOAA’s National Weather Service Forecast Office in Lake Charles, La., in disseminating critical emergency information to the public. NOAA is an agency of the Department of Commerce.

Now in its seventh year, the awards program honors individuals, organizations and states that use or provide NOAA Weather and All Hazards Radio receivers and transmitters to save lives and property. Nineteen award recipients will be recognized this year.

“NOAA is proud to honor the Calcasieu Parish emergency preparedness team,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph. D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Their actions have enhanced the safety of citizens in Louisiana.”

The Calcasieu Parish emergency preparedness team worked closely with the forecast office to develop and coordinate a means of quickly disseminating information about hazardous releases of toxic gases or other life threatening events.

“The combination of improved National Weather Service severe weather detection and forecasting capabilities, and expansion of our Weather Radio Network – is a proven formula for saving lives,” said Bill Proenza, director of the National Weather Service Southern Region.

Lake Charles and surrounding communities have a high concentration of petro-chemical plants located near dense population centers. While each plant has an in-compound warning and response system, the forecast office and the emergency preparedness team determined more was needed.

They decided the Civil Emergency Message (CEM) capability of the NOAA Weather and All Hazards Radio was an ideal means of alerting the public and the media when a threat existed. The broadcast alerts are also an efficient method of providing updates on the situation.
The Mark Trail awards are named for the nationally syndicated comic strip character which serves as the campaign symbol for the NOAA Weather and All Hazards Radio program. Since 1995, Jack Elrod, writer and illustrator of Mark Trail, and King Features Syndicate have been strong advocates for publicizing severe weather safety through the use of the radios.

Elrod’s Mark Trail character has been educating the public about the environment since 1950. He has taught readers to appreciate the beauty of nature while respecting its hazards. In recent years, the strip’s education message has included the fact that anyone listening to the weather radio has instant access to the same life-saving weather reports and “all-hazards” information provided to meteorologists and emergency personnel.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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NOAA National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/