COD Offers New Weather Hazards and Preparedness Certificate

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By Brian Kleemann

College of DuPage is offering a new Weather Hazards and Preparedness certificate program this fall that maximizes meteorological skills for people who work in public safety, emergency and risk management, and school/business administration.

Recently approved by the Illinois Community College Board, the program will increase a person’s knowledge and preparedness for the impact of weather as it relates to business, emergency management and response, environment, and other meteorology careers.

“When you look at emergency management, for example, 60 percent of their responses is addressing severe weather incidents,” said Paul Sirvatka, Professor of Meteorology at College of DuPage. “Unlike a terrorist attack or a similar event, bad weather happens all the time, and people in both the public and private sectors need to be prepared.”

The certificate program consists of 16 to 17 credit hours and includes one new course, “Weather Impacts and Preparedness.” Victor Gensini, Assistant Professor of Meteorology, said coursework focuses on a variety of topics starting with the basics of forecasting.

“We examine everything from understanding climate to severe and unusual weather, the scientific reasons behind such occurrences as thunderstorms and hurricanes, and how to interpret information gathered from radars and other equipment,” he said. “We also look at the sociological aspects of weather and new weather developments.”

According to the National Climactic Data Center, hazardous weather events have significantly impacted local, state and national economies. Between 1980 and 2011, 110 weather-related disasters in the U.S. caused more than $1 billion in damage. During the last 10 years, more than 6,400 people have lost their lives and the economy suffered more than $240 billion in losses due to weather-related disasters.

Sirvatka said it’s imperative for managers and supervisors to have a hazardous weather plan in place for their employees.

“People earning this certificate will have the tools to create a comprehensive plan, whether it’s for their business, school or organization,” he said. “They also will have the knowledge to make informed decisions when severe weather occurs.”

For more information about the Weather Hazards and Preparedness certificate program, contact (630) 942-2118 or (630) 942-3496, email sirvatka@cod.edu or gensiniv@cod.edu.