SANDUSKY -- Cedar Point has been deemed "StormReady" by the National Weather Service, and is the first amusement park in the state the earn the credential.

The NWS StormReady program aims to help local communities, government, University and commercial sites prepare for severe weather by strengthening safety programs. Communication, education and awareness are the hallmarks of a StormReady site.

Photos: Cedar Point during the offseason

There are six categories that must be satisfied:

1) Establish a 24-hour emergency operations center and maintain a 24-hour warning point, which relays severe weather information to the public.

2) Have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings, such as NOAA Weather Radio, commercial data reception, TV and/or radio broadcasts, and others.

3) Be able to monitor the precipitation with radar data, and have the instruments to monitor local accumulations.

4) Have a clear path for warning dissemination. That means deciding on a specific plan for alerting the public when severe weather is an issue.

5) Educate employees and the public on severe weather and plans for safety.

6) The administrative team must take the lead to ensure the program works and that action plans are followed. This includes oversight for training and maintaining the hazardous weather action plan. Open communication and annual visits with the National Weather Service is also a requirement.

Cedar Point is the only commercial site in Ohio to receive the designation. Other StormReady recipients include Ohio University, Wright State University, Xavier University as well as several counties across the state including Sandusky, Huron, Richland, Medina, and Tuscarawas.

Cedar Point will open for the 2012 season on Saturday, May 12. Cedar Point is owned and operated by the Sandusky based Cedar Fair Parks.

Photos: Dinosaurs invade Cedar Point