Tornado drills set in local schools
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Feb 19, 2013 | 703 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The season of change has arrived, and Cleveland and Bradley County residents well know the potential as spring approaches. Warm days and cool nights can spawn severe weather.

In preparation for this period of unstable weather, a tornado drill will be held Wednesday in all local schools.

This time of year is a perfect occasion to “Be a Force of Nature” and the Bradley County Emergency Management Agency is promoting area awareness during Severe Weather Preparedness Week, according to Curtis Cline, administrative officer at BCEMA.

“To help spread the word and make residents of the community better prepared, we are planning an all-school tornado drill during Severe Weather Awareness Week, as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” Cline said.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a program designed to increase awareness of the severe weather that affects everyone and encourage individuals, families, businesses and our community to know their risk, take action and be an example.

Local residents have not forgotten the last two episodes of tornado outbreaks that devastated parts of the community — April 27, 2011, and March 2, 2012. The devastating pair took lives, destroyed homes and flattened property from corner to corner of the city and county.

Bradley County has also experienced high winds, flooding, drought, snow and ice and other weather-related issues for which residents should be prepared.

As new Bradley County fire stations are being built in the Hopewell, Waterville and Oak Grove communities, FEMA has approved funding for tornado shelters.

During the past two years, many area residents have purchased shelters and constructed safe rooms in new houses or existing structures.

“Severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every individual, and because of this we are committed to ensuring the safety of our community and we’re calling on you to ‘Be a Force of Nature,’” Cline said. “Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared and assist in saving lives.”

Tornado drills will be held Wednesday in all schools across the state.

Responders from Cleveland Fire Department, Bradley County Fire-Rescue, BCEMA and the Auxiliary Communications Service will monitor drills.

Drills are one platform for preparedness. Staying informed is another. Whether through social media, weather alert radio, television, radio or newspaper, residents need to stay up on conditions if those conditions are favorable for severe weather, according to Cline.

“Take Action: Be a Force of Nature by taking the pledge to prepare at Ready.gov/severe-weather. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather.

“This includes developing a family communication plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved,” he said.

CBCEMA’s website also has information and links to learn more about severe weather.

“Be an Example: Once you have taken action and pledged, share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook, comment on a blog, or send a tweet. Post the ‘Be a Force of Nature’ widget on your social media profiles,” added Cline.

During recent tornado events in Bradley County, social media was credited by National Weather Service officials for helping save lives.

CBCEMA officials are also planning a Weather Spotters Class in March.

For additional information regarding any aspect of emergency planning, visit the CBCEMA website at www.bradleyco.net and click on the EMA link.