Weather Week to Feature Testing New Outdoor Warning Siren
(February 24, 2017 Paris, TN) Henry County Emergency Management wishes to announce the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service have declared February 26- March 4, 2017, “Severe Weather Awareness Week”. Henry County will be participating in several events throughout the week and month relating to severe weather preparedness.
According to Ron Watkins, Henry County Emergency Management Director, “The best way for residents to prepare for severe weather is to stay informed and have a shelter plan. Today’s electronic devices can assist in receiving important information so you can have advanced warning to take the proper steps to protect yourself and your family.”
Director Watkins is encouraging residents to use this year’s Severe Weather Awareness Week as an opportunity to prepare early for the spring storm season. It is imperative that individuals, families, schools, businesses, and communities be ready now before severe weather strikes. Severe weather events impact lives and property in our area every year. The step you take this week could make a difference for you and your family in the days to come. Watkins states, “Northwest TN experienced a very mild fall/winter season this year and we have been fortunate the worst weather has stayed to the north and south of our area, however, spring is approaching rapidly and once again spring storms could produce threatening weather here again. We need to be prepared.”
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency will be hosting a Facebook Live event at 10 a.m., CST, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, as part of the agency’s effort to help Tennesseans understand the hazards and threats of severe weather. TN Dept. of Health and National Weather Service representatives will also participate in Facebook Live session at www.facebook.com/TNDisasterInfo.
On Wednesday, March 1, Henry County will once again participate in The State Wide Tornado Drill Day. Watkins has asked local schools to practice facility tornado preparedness plans by conducting a tornado drill in each school. This gives the students and faculty an opportunity to practice the actual motions to go through if a real warning were given for our area. Each school in the county has a NOAA Weather Radio and access to immediate warning information. The “test warning” will be broadcasted by the National Weather Service at 9:30 AM Wednesday morning. We are once again asking our Henry County folks to take a “safety selfie” in their safe locations and post to twitter @HenryCountyEMA and we will post pictures to our facebook page.
Additionally, The Henry County Schools and Paris Special School District emergency radio communication systems will be tested by the county 911 dispatch center by passing along the “mock warning information.”
Local daycare and healthcare facilities, businesses, manufacturing plants, and government agencies are urged to participate by conducting tornado sheltering drills on Wednesday as well. This is an excellent opportunity to practice your severe weather plan at home, at school and at work. Residents should use this week to make sure that they have access to some form of weather warning technology including NOAA All Hazard radios and weather-related Smartphone applications.
This year’s awareness week will include testing a new outdoor warning siren installed in area of KOA Campground off at East Antioch Rd. Stephen and Shannon Bentley, owners of Paris Landing KOA Campground, purchased this siren for KOA campers and the surrounding community. The County of Henry and the Paris Board of Utilities partnered with The Bentley’s to provide a pole, the equipment install, electrical work, and the ongoing electrical service. It is estimated it will be heard up to a 1 ½ – 2 miles away. Foliage and wind direction will determine actual distance the sound will travel. Tests will be ongoing to make sure it is operational ready when needed.
Additionally, other county sirens at Paris City Hall, Henry, Cottage Grove and Paris Landing will be tested on the morning of March 1st. Residents should be mindful when a siren is activated, either a tornado warning or severe thunder storm warning with high winds has been issued for their area. Consider moving indoors to find shelter and seek information on local weather conditions and other important emergency information.
Other ways to prepare for severe weather includes purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio. Our area transmitter is located in the Vale community using the frequency 162.450 MHz and can be received on any standard NOAA Weather Radio. The 1000-watt transmitter provides up to the minute weather forecasts and advanced warning of approaching severe weather such as a tornado. Watkins adds, “Advanced warning of severe weather is important to the safety of your family. An advanced warning could provide that extra time desperately needed to react and take cover.”
Watkins suggests families make preparedness plans now and practice sheltering in safe areas of your home or work for severe weather. “Get to the lowest level possible and try to put as many walls as you can between yourself and outside. Use helmets, pillows and cushions to cover yourself when sheltering.” Consider creating an emergency supplies kit with extra food, water, flashlights, flashlight batteries, extra cell phone battery chargers and stock kits with blankets, first aid supplies and small tools. These all can be useful in an emergency situation. PRACTICE YOUR PLANS!
Local residents are reminded they have access to county tornado safe shelters put into use by our local school systems. The Paris Special School District now has three tornado shelters. Inman School Community Tornado Shelter, Paris Elementary School and Rhea Elementary School all have tornado safe areas. Additionally, the Henry County School System have tornado safe shelters at Lakewood, Harrellson, and Henry Schools. School shelters are available for community use when school is not in session. Emergency Management and Law Enforcement officials will coordinate the opening during forecasted high risk weather events and will notify the public via news media and social media when activated. Henry County Sheriff, Monte Belew, has provided Sheriff Dept School Resource Officers of each school to monitor shelters when opened.
More information on severe weather preparedness contact the emergency management office at 644-2678 or visit the Henry County Emergency Management website at http://www.henrycountytn.org
This should be a great week for participating!