A member of the Community Emergency Response Team assists an injured woman

Getting ‘All Shook Up’ with PrepareAthon! Week

October 2016

Shelby County PrepareAthon! LogoIn April 2016, Tennessee’s Shelby County hosted a week-long PrepareAthon! to help residents practice severe weather safety. The Shelby County Office of Preparedness planned various activities for more than 220,000 area residents.

“Our week-long event included learning sessions and drills. Schools, businesses, community groups, faith-based organizations, and neighborhood associations all took part,” explained Shelby County Office of Preparedness Director Dale Lane.

 
Students at First Assembly Christian School sheltered in place during a tornado drill. School officials and local emergency management determined the best sheltering area.
Students at First Assembly Christian School
sheltered in place during a tornado drill. School
officials and local emergency management
determined the best sheltering area.
Getting the Word Out about the Importance of Preparedness

The Shelby County Office of Preparedness used many different tactics to promote the event. Several area mayors, including Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr., held a press conference to kick off the week’s activities.

Local print and social media highlighted ways to participate. Lane and Luttrell also appeared on television many times to get people excited about joining in. Several local houses of worship also helped by giving out flyers.

Fousing on Different Ways to Prepare Each Day

Each day of the PrepareAthon! Week focused on a specific action that keeps people safe during weather threats. For example, community-wide drills for tornadoes and earthquakes helped people determine their best available refuge area in a storm. 

Many businesses and organizations also took part. Naval Support Activity Mid-South hosted a festival for the whole community. And members of the American Red Cross visited 200 homes in Desoto County, MS, to share safety tips and install smoke detectors.

FedEx, the Memphis Light Gas & Water utility company, public and private schools, and area hospitals had drills and shared the event’s daily messages with staff. The U.S. National Weather Service made public service announcements about activities. It also held a Google Hangout session to answer questions about severe weather.

During the week, the Shelby County Office of Preparedness urged residents to: For more details and preparedness tips to keep your community safe, visit the Shelby County Office of Preparedness.