Our View: BJ-T Applauds local storm spotters

by BJ-T Staff

We applaud our city's storm spotters and emergency responders for preparing our city to effectively handle inclement weather. At the same time, we would like to remind our city officials that emergency services should always be our town's No. 1 priority.

On March 25, the United States Department of Commerce informed Blackwell Fire Chief Cory Hanebrink that the city of Blackwell had been named a “StormReady” community.

“On behalf of the National Weather Service's Norman Forecast Office StormReady Advisory board, I would to congratulate Blackwell for being re-recognized as a StormReady community. The citizens and the leadership of Blackwell should be very proud of this accomplishment. This StormReady recognition indicates that Blackwell has taken the extra steps to handle weather emergencies,” wrote Richard Smith, the warning coordination meteorologist for the department.

According to the National Weather Service's directory, Blackwell joins the Kay County towns of Newkirk and Ponca City in receiving the recognition. In total, only 59 Oklahoma communities have earned it to date.

We at the Journal-Tribune applaud the work of our community's storm-spotters, fire-fighters, and other first responders who made this achievement possible. Without their diligent work, our community would not be as weather-aware as it is. Living in the heart of Tornado Alley, we cannot understate the importance of their work to protect our lives and assets during severe weather.

This declaration should allow Blackwell residents to sleep in peace at night. Yet at the same time, it should remind our city leaders that these critical agencies must always receive the funding and resources they need in order to effectively serve our city. Without the proper resources, there is no way for our community to be ready to weather the storm.

We hope to see our city leaders make even more significant investments in our city's public safety departments in the future so that the fine men and women who serve and protect us can continue to make our community ready for any storm – no matter what it may be.