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Georgia statewide tornado drill set for next Wednesday

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Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 10:35 AM CST
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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.

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Original Story: https://www.walb.com/2021/01/27/statewide-tornado-drill-set-next-wednesday/