February 5th marks the tenth anniversary of a major tornado outbreak across parts of the Tennessee Valley, including northeast Alabama where one person died. Emergency Management officials everywhere want you to be as prepared as possible, which is why nearly 100 people went to the Dalton-Whitfield library on Monday.

Whitfield County EMA staff spent a couple of hours programming and putting fresh batteries in official NOAA weather radios, then giving them to county residents. 

"If you're in a dead sleep and you've got about a minute before a tornado hits your house, you need to have a way to know you need to take cover and take the appropriate actions," says director Claude Craig.

The radio is a great way to stay ahead of storms because they sound an alarm whenever the National Weather Service issues a severe weather Warning for your area.

"Normally our severe weather patterns during the spring time season, but tornadoes can happen any time of year," adds Craig.

This includes winter time. In February of 2008 a tornado killed one person in Jackson County, Alabama. A tornado hit Calhoun, Georgia in January of 2013. Also, a tornado killed two people in Polk County, Tennessee in November of 2016.

The weather radio not only warns you about tornadoes but also potential flooding, snow, and ice.

Steven Fletcher waited in line with his three-year-old son, Carter, to get his family's first weather radio. 

"We've had a lot of crazy storms lately. Hurricanes, snow. I think it's a good idea to start getting prepared for whatever comes to Dalton," says Fletcher.

Weather radios are plugged into outlets, but most also hold backup batteries. To keep your weather radio working perfectly, make sure the batteries are fresh by putting in new ones every six months. If the power goes out during storms, the batteries will kick in. So, if you can't watch television for information and cell service doesn't work, you'll get warnings on your radio.

"Not only check the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year, but to do the same thing with your weather radios," Craig suggests.

He urges everyone across the Tennessee Valley not to wait for the next giveaway in your area before buying a weather radio. They're available for about $30-$50 at Walmart, Target, and many other major retailers.