Whitfield County’s PrepareAthon

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Whitfield county became the only county in the state of Georgia to host a first of its kind event.

They call it the PrepareAthon. Claude Craig, Whitfield county Emergency Services Director said, "We are going around to various schools and businesses today and we are doing tornado drills. We are evaluating those to see if everybody is on the right page and do you know what to do." Emergency management, FEMA and GEMA representatives were all on hand during the drills answering important weather related questions and assisting with Friday’s event. Craig said, "We need to take it very seriously. Everybody needs to have a NOAA weather radio. Most people have a smoke detector in their home, NOAA weather radio is the same thing. Its mitigation and they save lives."

Various schools like Morris Initiative High School in Dalton took the tornado drills seriously with their students and staff. Rob Rojas, Morris Initiative High School Assistant Principal said, "It starts with a tornado watch which indicates anyone that is in a learning cottage, any structure that is outside the main building needs to come in. And then we identify spotters that look through windows to see if there is an imminent threat." Faculty have walkie talkies that alert them with any new weather warnings to stay informed. Even first responders at Dalton Fire Department went through the tornado drills in their hallway. Dalton Fire Department Chief Bruce Satterfield says its important for his staff to be involved. Satterfield said, "We never think that it’s going to happen to us, therefore if that’s what you are thinking and you really don’t change any behaviors or some type of modification to protect yourself, be it a fire or tornado, then you are setting yourself up to get injured or killed."

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Scheduled PrepareAthon events for Saturday are cancelled due to impending weather and will be rescheduled at a later date.

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