NBC10’s First Alert Weather Team is visiting five area malls over the five days. Why? To promote Severe Winter Weather Week, a week where the team plans to inform our community how we forecast during rough weather, what should be done to stay safe, and what to expect this winter.
Let’s begin by explaining why we’re visiting area malls. Aside from the fact that it’s a great location to meet everyone out in their neighborhoods, the malls NBC10 is visiting are all designated as Weather Ready Ambassadors. That’s a titled doled out to locations across the country that are prepared for dangerous weather, and have a dedication to ensuring safety to anyone affected at the location. It’s a title given out by the National Weather Service.
“All of our security guards have grab and go bags that they are able to grab in the case of any kind of emergency,” said Philadelphia Premium Outlets Marketing Director Kate Johnson.
All of the malls under the Simon Property Group umbrella, including the Philadelphia Premium Outlets, are part of the Weather Ready Nation. The initiative, which is ran by the National Weather Service, allows any type of organization, or individual, to join. They must simply be committed to planning safety routines and following the forecast to remain informed and prepared for all weather events.
“The weather service is trying to get more involved in making sure that people are not only getting weather information but are actually prepared to take action based on that information,” Joe Miketta, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, said.
When Simon Malls decided to join the nation, they reached out the National Weather Service for help preparing their employees.
“It was largely an online training course that our management team went through and our security team as well. So, it told us what to do in events such as tornadoes, severe snow storms which obviously we’re going to be dealing with this winter perhaps, and other types of severe weather that could be coming through,” Johnson said.
As a result of the training, Johnson said Simon malls developed different plans for different locations.
“We are going through an ongoing training process of scheduling training drills and evacuation drills for different types of emergencies that will be worked on with all the different store managers and the employment teams at all of the stores here at the Premium Outlets,” Johnson explained.
For an outdoor mall, Johnson told NBC10 they use “Exit Hallways” or hallways that commonly hold the restrooms, as part of their safety zones.
“There’s no glass, so they’re safe to go to in case of tornadoes, hurricanes, that type of thing.”
Johnson said the malls are each stocked with various emergency supplies as well to keep employees and customers safe.
“It involves evacuation cards, flashlights, first aide kits, things like that that they would need,” she said.
If you are interested in joining the Weather Ready Nation, visit this link.
One of the suggestions to help you remain a successful ambassador? Miketta said each ambassador needs a trusted weather source to keep you updated on the latest forecast. Good news! NBC10 tailors the forecast neighborhood by neighborhood every day and posts those updates to the NBC10 website, app, and on air shows.