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Naperville’s Emergency Volunteers

When the weather rages in Naperville, the Naperville Emergency Management Agency meets here, in the city’s communication center.

“The weather unit is trained individuals that are into meteorology and we sponsor them in classes to get more advanced training and they go through and watch severe weather for us both during watches and warnings as well as our municipal events like Ribfest, the Fling and marathon, things like that,” said Dan Nelson, Coordinator of the Office of Emergency Management.

When watches are issued, two groups come together: the first, meteorologists, who use the latest software to study Doppler radar to assess threats to our area.

“When there is the threat of severe weather being large hail, high winds and or tornado or a combination and a watch comes out we man our post down here in the communication center where we have our ham radio and radar software and we watch and see whether or not the city of Naperville is under a threat,” said Allen Fisher, Head of the Weather unit with NEMA.

The second; a communications team that works with other cities to be aware of what could be coming.

“Communications is really the heart of warning, you can’t warn people about what is happening unless you communicate it. The role of the communications department is to connect with the National Weather Service as well as other jurisdictions, which usually have spotters out. For instance I just heard from Kane County which has an extensive group of spotters they’ve deployed and so listening to them gives us really advance notice of a weather event going on,” said Dave Harr, Captain of the Communications for NEMA.

We even have our own group of spotters that go out to assess the sky and determine if a threat is imminent to our city.

But once the warnings are expired, the job isn’t quite finished.

“What is the damage in town, are we getting reports of limbs down, houses damaged, flooding – there are some areas in town that flood every time it storms. Then we pass that on to the weather service because that helps them determine how bad the storm really was,” said Harr.

And you can get involved with the emergency agency, just head over to the city’s website and fill out the application.

Naperville was the first storm ready city in Illinois.

Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale Reports.


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