Oak Ridge Fire Chief Darryl Kerley says this time of year is a perfect occasion to Be a Force of Nature, and the Oak Ridge Fire Department is proud to be promoting Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National OceanicAtmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is a nationwide effort designed to increase awareness of the severe weather that affects everyone, In addition, individuals, families, businesses and communities are encouraged to know their risk,take action, and be an example.Each year, many people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severeweather, despite advance warning. In 2011, there were more than 1,000 weather-relatedfatalities and more than 8,000 injuries.“Severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every individual. Because of this, we arecommitted to ensuring the safety of our community, and we’re calling on you to Be a Force ofNature,” said Chief Kerley.“Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to bebetter prepared and assist in saving lives. In the last four years, emergency service personnelhave responded to numerous tornado events across our area, which have killed numerousTennesseans. These storm events seem to becoming more prevalent in Tennessee than everbefore. We want to do everything we can to assist in the preparation for this type of event in ourcommunity. The best preparation is public education.”To help spread the word and make employees and members of the community better prepared,the Oak Ridge Fire Department is committed to being a leader for weather-readiness byknowing the risk, taking action and serving as an example.On Thursday April 18, at 9:00 a.m. the Oak Ridge Fire Department will conduct a Tornado Drillin each of the Oak Ridge Schools. The Community Alerting System (CodeRed) will be used tonotify all of the schools simultaneously, as if the National Weather Service had issued a tornadowarning for the Oak Ridge area. Firefighters will be in every school to assist with the drill andanswer questions.Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type ofhazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impactyou and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, andsign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials. Severe weather comes inmany forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.Take Action: Be Force of Nature by taking the pledge to prepare at the websitehttp://www.ready.gov/severe-weather. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first stepto making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includesdeveloping a family communication plan, putting an emergency kit together, keeping importantpapers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved. The website contains additionalinformation on family preparedness for severe weather and how you can Be a Force of Nature .Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstormsand flooding is available at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severeweather or theSpanish-language web site www.listo.gov. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/force.htmlFor additional information about the school drill contact Fire Chief Darryl Kerley at (865) 755-5364 or visit the City’s website www.oakridgetn.gov.