Successful drills prepare schools for spring storms
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Feb 21, 2013 | 1116 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Severe Weather Awareness
STUDENTS ACROSS THE STATE took part in the Severe Weather Awareness Week tornado drill Wednesday. Oak Grove Elementary School’s drill went according to plan. Banner photos, GREG KAYLOR
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Emergency managers are gearing up for severe weather season after holding a city and countywide tornado drill along with other school systems across the state. Also, a National Weather Service Weather Spotters class is being scheduled.

On Wednesday, all city and county schools passed the test when it came to moving from the classrooms to hallways during the 15-minute drill.

“All went according to plan and schools were prepared,” said Jerry Johnson Jr. of Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency.

Emergency tones and communications were received at the schools at the beginning of the drill.

Schools Safety Coordinator Scotty Hernandez had checked paging systems Tuesday, prior to the testing and drill Wednesday.

According to Johnson, all 36 city and county schools have redundancy warning systems as well which kept the individual schools administrators in the loop.

In April 1974, a tornado ripped through Oak Grove Elementary School. Most of the students were already gone for the day but some had remained for after-school practices and activities.

Athletes were in the gymnasium when the tornado struck the main building and caused significant damage to the gym.

Dray Crumley of Bradley County Fire-Rescue was on hand to monitor the tornado drill Wednesday.

Crumley reported all went well and students performed as instructed in a timely fashion.

Johnson said overall, the drill had a good outcome.

The past two years, Bradley County and Cleveland have experienced tornadic weather.

Michigan Avenue Elementary School suffered damage and Blue Springs School was damage beyond repair in April 2011 storms.

The community continues to clean up and rebuild after the storms of 2011 and March 2012.

“Once again CBCEMA along with the National Weather Service will be hosting a Weather Spotter’s Class,” said Curtis Cline, administrative officer for CBCEMA.

“During the past few years, the classes have been overflowing with participants from the community,” said Cline.

Cline said the next class will be held Thursday, March 21, at Lee University’s Science Building.

Classes will begin 6:30 p.m.

“We suggest those residents who want to participate in the Weather Spotter’s Certification Class arrive early for seating,” Cline said.

For additional information, visit www.bradleyco.net and click on the EMA link.