May 30, 2012

Storm spotter class open to campus community

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A seminar early next month will give members of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale community a chance to become storm spotters.

Pat Spoden, the science and operations officer with the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky., will speak on “Skywarn: Storm Spotter Information,” on Tuesday, June 5.  The session is from 8 to 11:45 a.m. and is in the Student Center Auditorium.

Richard F. Bortz, a professor in Workforce Education and Development, helped arrange the class that is open to SIU Carbondale faculty, staff, students and Building Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T.) members.  Bortz attended a similar seminar this spring, and said the program is important for everyone, including University employees who serve their communities in a variety of capacities, including coaching youth sports.

“I’m one who now believes that everybody should be a storm spotter just like everyone should know CPR,” he said.

The class is free.  Advanced registration is encouraged to help in determining space consideration.  To register, contact Bortz at

Russell Thomas, a police officer with the SIU Carbondale Department of Public Safety and B.E.R.T. coordinator, has received an “overwhelming response” from B.E.R.T. team members who received notice of the seminar.  There are about 100 buildings on campus that have B.E.R.T. teams, and about 400 members, he said.

“This is a great idea,” he said.  “This is just one aspect of being a B.E.R.T. team member and University employee.  It’s one extra tool to have in being able to spot storms.”