Crawford County residents will get a chance to learn to recognize storms and hazardous weather during a Feb. 23 class organized by the Crawford County Department of Emergency Management.

Crawford County Fire District 5 will host a storm spotters class Monday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. at Figure Five Fire Station at 5920 Arkansas 59.

No registration is required and the class is open to the public, said Crawford County Department of Emergency Management Director Dennis Gilstrap.

Ed Calianese from the National Weather Service in Tulsa, Okla., will serve as the instructor. Calianese will speak on topics ranging from storm safety to storm spotting and storm recognition techniques, Gilstrap said.

"Figure Five Fire District, Crawford County and the cities of Mulberry, Alma and Van Buren have all met the requirements to be recognized as StormReady communities," Gilstrap said. "This training is one of the requirements required for this recognition."

According to the National Weather Service, weather-related disasters lead to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damages.

StormReady communities and groups are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness, the NWS website states.

As of Feb. 3, there were 861 StormReady communities in the United States and its territories, according to the NWS.

For more information contact Gilstrap at the Crawford County Department of Emergency Management by calling (479)471-3260. For other training opportunities visit http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tsa/.