Williamson County Animal Center (WCAC) is the first animal shelter in the United States to receive designation from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a StormReady Supporter facility. StormReady is a program for entities that demonstrate weather safety and preparedness by meeting criteria established by the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies.
Supporter facilities develop weather preparedness plans that include the ability to receive warning notifications, the means to communicate advisories, dependable sheltering locations and hazardous weather response planning. WCAC's staff worked closely with Jason B. Wright, Senior Meteorologist from the NWS Office in Nashville, TN, who also resides in Franklin, TN, in completing the application process.
Even though the new center opened just over one year ago, WCAC’s staff has implemented portions of the preparedness plan on multiple occasions. “It was such a relief to have all the pieces in place when they were needed,” said Director, Ondrea Johnson. “Within seconds of receiving the warnings on our weather radio, we were able to use our intercom system, which includes outdoor speakers, to alert our guests, volunteers and staff. Everyone was in the building, in the safe spots in just a matter of minutes.”
Johnson believes taking the steps needed to earn the designation makes the animal center safer for the thousands of community members who visit each year as well as the animals in its care. “Public safety is always a primary concern for our workers, as well as the public doing business within our departments,” said Williamson County Mayor, Rogers Anderson. “We are proud to have the capabilities to offer weather warnings and to receive this recognition from the National Weather Service.”
Status as a Supporter facility is valid for five years, after which, WCAC will then have to re-apply to maintain its designation.