Oak Ridge Fire Chief Darryl Kerley says this time of year is a perfect occasion to Be a Force of Nature, and the Oak Ridge Fire Department is proud to be promoting Severe Weather Preparedness Week. 

Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a nationwide effort designed to increase awareness of the severe weather that affects everyone, In addition, individuals, families, businesses and communities are encouraged to know their risk,
take action, and be an example.

Each year, many people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severe
weather, despite advance warning. In 2011, there were more than 1,000 weather-related
fatalities and more than 8,000 injuries.

“Severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every individual. 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,” said Chief Kerley.

“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. In the last four years, emergency service personnel
have responded to numerous tornado events across our area, which have killed numerous
Tennesseans. These storm events seem to becoming more prevalent in Tennessee than ever
before. We want to do everything we can to assist in the preparation for this type of event in our
community. The best preparation is public education.”

To help spread the word and make employees and members of the community better prepared,
the Oak Ridge Fire Department is committed to being a leader for weather-readiness by
knowing the risk, taking action and serving as an example.

On Thursday April 18, at 9:00 a.m. the Oak Ridge Fire Department will conduct a Tornado Drill
in each of the Oak Ridge Schools. The Community Alerting System (CodeRed) will be used to
notify all of the schools simultaneously, as if the National Weather Service had issued a tornado
warning for the Oak Ridge area. Firefighters will be in every school to assist with the drill and
answer questions.

Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of
hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact
you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and
sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials. Severe weather comes in
many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

Take Action: Be Force of Nature by taking the pledge to prepare at the website
http://www.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. The website contains additional
information on family preparedness for severe weather and how you can Be a Force of Nature .

Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms
and flooding is available at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severeweather or the
Spanish-language web site www.listo.gov. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/force.html

For additional information about the school drill contact Fire Chief Darryl Kerley at (865) 755-
5364 or visit the City’s website www.oakridgetn.gov