The National Tornado Summit is scheduled for March 10-12 at the Cox Convention Center. The intent of the summit is to help improve disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery in order to save lives and property in the United States.
Also, the summit serves as a national forum for insurance professionals and regulators as well as international, national and state experts to exchange ideas and recommend new policies to improve emergency management.
On March 10, the summit will feature a weather fair titled “Our Weather, Your Life.” This is intended to be an interactive trade show to educate and inform the public about protecting their family and property in the wake of severe weather.
The summit will include a three-day trade show for conference attendees who are in the insurance industry and those who are weather experts. Those individuals will also have an opportunity to attend general sessions with presentations on crisis and disaster communications, business and home safety, disaster stress, and reinsurance.
More than 25 breakout sessions are scheduled featuring international, national, and state experts.
John Wiscaver, vice president of public affairs for Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance, is co-chairman of the 2013 National Tornado Summit with Kim Decker, director of government affairs for Farmers Insurance Group.
This is the second year of the summit.
“This started out as just an idea, we had seen some successful events, in particular the Hurricane Summit in Florida, so we felt what better state than Oklahoma for this?” Wiscaver said.
In addition to providing information for the public and the insurance industry, the summit now includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, others whose offices are in the National Weather Center in Norman, and additional weather experts.
“This year we will have those individuals as partners,” Wiscaver said. “So we will have a great opportunity to learn and share ideas.”
Wiscaver said it's important to gain as much knowledge about storms as possible, in terms of both preparation and reaction.
Wiscaver recently traveled to South Carolina to observe a full-scale simulation of a hailstorm. This was inside a tall research center, resembling an airplane hanger “only it is about three times taller,” Wiscaver said.
The simulated hailstorm consisted of about 10,000 hailstones of varying sizes being fired from multi-barreled air cannon arrays hung 60 feet above the test house. This was created by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety Research Center in a controlled laboratory to test how different types of roofing and siding perform during a hailstorm.
“It was a great opportunity to see it in person,” Wiscaver said. “It really reinforces what we already know. And that is if people make a choice of building materials that are less prone to hail damage, there's going to be less claims, less money out of your pocket in the way of premiums.”
For more information about the National Tornado Summit, go to www.tornadosummit.org.