Whitfield County to hold Disaster Awareness event this weekend - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Whitfield County to hold Disaster Awareness event this weekend

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DALTON, GA (WRCB) -- Nearly everybody has a smoke alarm in their house, so why don't they have a weather radio, too? That's one of the important messages being delivered by the Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency as it prepares for a Community Safety and Disaster Awareness Event this weekend.

The public is encourage to attend the event on Saturday, March 31 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the parking lot of Market Street Shops, 933 Market St.

"We're trying to make people aware of disasters and the importance of being prepared in case of a disaster," Whitfield EMA Director Claude Craig said. "You need to be prepared; you need to have a plan of action."
Craig praised the West Walnut Kroger Store No. 458 for partnering with the local EMA to have Midland Weather Radios available for purchase for $29.95 on Saturday.

"We will also have representatives from North Georgia Radio Group and our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to help people program their weather radios right there on site," Craig said.
He pointed out that weather radios are the country's No. 1 source to provide notification of when a severe weather threat is approaching your area.

"What we're trying to do with the weather radios is called mitigation, or prevention," Craig said. "We want to mitigate the loss of property and human life as much as possible. To relate to what mitigation is, the one most famous piece of equipment that is used to mitigate injuries or loss of property is a smoke alarm. Everybody's got a smoke alarm in their house, so why don't they have a weather radio in their house? Because a tornado can knock down your house a whole lot quicker than a fire can, so why do you not have a weather radio?"

Craig pointed out that other weather events besides tornadoes can be devastating, too. "Keep in mind that straight-line winds can produce as much damage as a tornado like the straight-line event we had here last June 17 during a severe thunderstorm," he said.

Representatives from all public safety agencies will be on hand for Saturday's event, as well as officials with Red Cross, Salvation Army, and United Way that play key roles during disasters.

Whitfield Emergency Management's Mobile Command Unit will be on site, and visitors can take part in the DUI Goggles experience with the Whitfield County Sheriff's Department.

Fun for the kids is also planned, including face painting and free pictures with the Easter Bunny.

Area residents have to look no further than last April 27 to remember the deadly force of severe weather.

"Keep in mind that we're approaching the first anniversary of those tornadoes," Craig said. "Everyone needs to be prepared just in case. And you always want to have a backup plan, too, because everything doesn't always work right every time as we all know. So if you've got a weather radio, you're still going to need to watch the TV or listen to the radio in case of severe weather. Never be dependent on one source of information."

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