It is Owensboro Community & Technical College Director of Safety and Security Jeff Hendricks' hope that the school being named a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will make it a leader in the community for preparedness.

The NOAA recognizes such ambassadors in an effort to make other people and organizations in the country "ready, responsive, and resilient to extreme events," according to the National Weather Service website, weather.gov.

Hendricks said when he stepped into his position in 2016 OCTC President Scott Williams tasked him with improving emergency management on campus. In this area, he said, while harm from others are a potential threat "we are more likely to get hit by severe storms."

"So I spent a lot my time trying to prepare the campus," Hendricks said. "Faculty and staff are my primary focus, and I use them to feed this out to the students."

The school also has presentations for students throughout the school year.

In order to become a WRN Ambassador, OCTC had to commit to setting an example of becoming weather-ready; promote WRN key messages in outreach activities; provide incentives to constituents and stakeholders to become more resilient; and share success stories, according to the NOAA.

Becoming weather-ready is important, Hendricks said, because being prepared for extreme weather allows emergency management in the community know the school is one less entity to be worried about.

Weather-Ready Ambassadors are also asked to be "change agents" for their communities in promoting and supporting awareness and preparedness. It is the hope of the NOAA that Ambassadors encourage others to take a look at their policy and procedures.

"This shows the community that we are promoting preparedness amongst our campus community to be prepared for severe weather and what actions and precautions you need to do to meet that preparedness level," Hendricks said.

Williams said OCTC is "excited to be named a Weather-Ready Ambassador."

"(And we) are grateful that the safety and security office is ensuring that our employees continue to focus on preparedness," he said.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

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