With 18 years of experience working for the City of Carrollton’s Parks & Recreation Department, Kim Bybee knows first-hand the importance and value of having a weather safety and monitoring system she can trust.
In her role as Parks Manager, she oversees the city’s fields, parks, pools, tennis, other facilities and more for the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of 135,000 people.
Public safety ranks among the top responsibilities for Bybee, as with any parks and recreation director.
Because so many people use the city’s facilities, Carrollton needed a dependable weather system to effectively monitor disruptive weather patterns and notify people of potential lightning strikes or other safety risks.
Perry Weather’s system has met their needs and more.
“Honestly, we don’t have to think about it, because it just works,” Bybee says. “With as much as we have to deal with, knowing there’s something that’s already taken care of, is a relief.”
From the first time she saw Perry Weather’s system in action, Bybee saw how it stood apart.
“It did everything that we wanted a system to do,” she says.
“That’s when I started the process of saying, OK, we’ve got to start phasing (their old system) out, we’ve got to get Perry Weather in here.
“The relationship grew from there.”
Carrollton started with a handful of outdoor warning systems, saw the value, and began adding more units the next year.
They’re currently operating nine outdoor warning systems and two weather stations, which work hand-in-hand with the Perry Weather web dashboard and mobile app.
Perry Weather’s system provides Bybee the peace of mind of knowing staff members are well-equipped to quickly share info about potential lightning strikes and other hazards.
She likes the flexibility to configure the system to Carrollton’s varying parks and locations, and she loves the app.
“I love being able to go on the app, and see where the lightning is,” she says. “I know that it’s going to notify the people who are on our facilities in a timely manner. I know I’m going to get a text message.”
“During the pool season I always have a text message come if lightning is within so far of the pool,” she says,
“We don’t have to think about it, because it just happens,” she says.
A Weather System Upgrade
Previously, the city used a different weather notification system, but found it didn’t meet their needs.
“It just wasn’t reliable enough,” she says. “It would go off, and then we’d get the all clear and two seconds later, it would go off again.”
“Our guys would be out dragging the fields on a bright, sunny day, and the dust would set it off.”
For sporting events in particular, this was a problem.
“You can’t stop a game, and then start it back up again, and then stop it again five minutes later,” Bybee says. “Same thing at our pool. We’d clear the pool, get the all-clear and let everybody back in and then, boom. It would go off again.”
This led to challenges and confusion for coaches, players and parents, who wanted clarity about weather decisions, and also to know that when it came to park-goer safety, the city had their back.
Carrollton learned the awkward way about their old system’s failings, during a live demonstration with a local TV news channel. The plan was to unplug the old system, to trigger a warning alert.
“On live TV,” she says. “We pull the plug and nothing happens.”
“It was a little embarrassing.”
With Perry Weather’s systems in place, Carrollton and Bybee now have a system they can trust to deliver accurate information for their staff, not to mention busy parents and coaches.
“I’ve never gotten a complaint about it,” she says. “That’s kind of a big deal.”