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Henry County Observes Severe Weather Awareness Week

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Paris, Tenn.–ARE YOU WEATHER READY? Henry County Emergency  Management wishes to announce the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and  the National Weather Service have declared February 25 – March 2, 2024 “Severe Weather Awareness Week”. Henry County will be participating in several events  throughout the week and month relating to severe weather preparedness. 

The National Weather Service will feature a specific preparedness topic each day  during the week as follows: 

Sunday February 25 – Important Role of SKYWARN Spotters  

Monday February 26 – Flooding & Flash Floods 

Tuesday February 27 – Lightning, the Underrated Killer  

Wednesday February 28 – Tornado Safety & Preparedness Drill Day  Thursday February 29 – Severe Thunderstorms 

Friday March 1 – NOAA Weather Radio and the Emergency Alert System  Saturday March 2 – Importance of Social Media 

To get more information contact the emergency management office at 644-2678  or visit the Henry County Emergency Management website at  

http://www.henrycountytn.org or visit the our facebook page,  www.facebook.com/hcema.

According to Ron Watkins, Henry County Emergency Management Director, “The  best way for residents to prepare for severe weather is to be weather aware and to  have a shelter plan. Today’s electronic devices can assist in receiving important safety information so you can easily have an advanced warning to take the proper  steps to protect yourself and your family.” 

Watkins is encouraging residents to use this year’s Severe Weather Awareness Week  as an opportunity to prepare now for the spring storm season. It is important for  individuals, families, schools, businesses, and communities be ready before severe weather strikes. Severe weather events impact lives and property in our county every year. The steps you take to plan for severe weather could make a lifesaving difference for you and your family during the next severe weather event.  

In 2023, Henry County implemented a new Henry County Alert  

On Wednesday, February 28th, Henry County will participate in The National Weather Service 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 will give 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 as the usual weekly test. We are once again asking our Henry  County folks to take a “safety selfie” in their safe locations and post to  twitter/facebook @HenryCountyEMA. 

Additionally, The Henry County Schools and Paris Special School District emergency  radio communication systems will be tested by the county 911 dispatch center who  will pass the “mock warning information” to the schools. 

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 plans 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 a NOAA All Hazard radio and weather-warning smartphone  applications. 

This year’s awareness week will include testing outdoor warning sirens in the  county. The sirens at Paris City Hall, City of Henry, City of Cottage Grove, Paris  Landing State Park and KOA campground will be tested on the morning of February 28th. Residents should be mindful when a siren is activated, either a tornado  warning or severe thunderstorm warning with dangerous high winds has been issued  for their area. Consider moving indoors to shelter and seek information on local weather conditions. 

“Henry County is vulnerable to different types of weather hazards and it is critical that our residents understand the threats, such as wind or flooding, have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings and have a plan to quickly get to a safe  place when a warning is issued.” according to Watkins. 

Watkins suggests families make preparedness plans 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 or cushions to cover yourself when sheltering.” Consider creating an  emergency supplies kit to include extra food, water, flashlights, batteries, extra  cell phone battery chargers and stock kits with blankets, first aid supplies and small  tools. Extra medication could also be useful if disaster strikes. 

Local residents are reminded they have access to tornado safe shelters put into use  by our local school systems when school is not in session. 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 Lake wood, Harrellson, and Henry Schools. Emergency Management coordinates with  Henry County Sheriffs Dept and the Paris Police Dept to open during forecasted high risk weather events and will notify the public via local news media and social media when they are opened.

Henry County Sheriff, Josh Frey and Paris Police Chief, Rick Watson, provide School Resource Officers to monitor tornado shelters when opened. Town of Cottage Grove has installed two above ground tornado shelters that are  available for local residents. 

The National Weather Service will feature a specific preparedness topic each day  during the week as follows: 

Sunday February 25 – Important Role of SKYWARN Spotters  

Monday February 26 – Flooding & Flash Floods 

Tuesday February 27 – Lightning, the Underrated Killer  

Wednesday February 28 – Tornado Safety & Preparedness Drill Day  Thursday February 29 – Severe Thunderstorms 

Friday March 1 – NOAA Weather Radio and the Emergency Alert System  Saturday March 2 – Importance of Social Media 

To get more information contact the emergency management office at 644-2678  or visit the Henry County Emergency Management website at  

http://www.henrycountytn.org or visit the our facebook page,  www.facebook.com/hcema.

Photo: HC Emergency Management photo from December 2022.

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