ATLANTA (WALB) - The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) is holding a statewide “PrepareAthon!” tornado drill Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 9 a.m.
This event coincides with Severe Weather Preparedness Week to encourage Georgians to prepare now for any type of severe weather.
“Severe weather can occur at any time,” Chris Stallings, GEMA/HS director, said. “It’s important for Georgians to practice what to do in the event of a tornado so they can respond appropriately and limit damage to life and property.”
GEMA/HS urges Georgians to participate, as the peak of tornado activity typically occurs in the spring months. To prepare, plan and stay informed about tornadoes with these tips:
- Make a “Ready Kit” for at least three days of self-sufficiency.
- Familiarize yourself with the terminology used to identify a tornado hazard. A tornado watch means weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. A tornado warning means either a tornado is occurring or expected to develop shortly in your area and you need to take shelter immediately.
- Determine in advance where you will take shelter during the tornado drill.
- Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
- If an underground shelter is not available, an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible is the best option.
- In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
During a drill
- Evacuate participants just as you would if you were taking shelter during a tornado warning. Use stairs to reach the lowest level of a building; avoid using elevators.
- Once participants reach the designated safe area, they should crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down and covering their heads with their hands.
- Once everyone has been evacuated and taken cover, announce that the drill is over.
After a drill
- Review the drill to identify any necessary changes or improvements to your tornado safety procedures. For example: Do more safe areas need to be identified? Do the designated safe areas need to have clutter removed or need to be cleaned out to be more accessible?
- Does everyone know the fastest routes to take shelter in the safe areas?
- Is there a better method for letting everyone know of an approaching tornado needed?
For more information on preparing for severe weather, contact your local EMA or visit Ready Georgia or click here.