Greene County

Students practice tornado safety following morning scare

GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. - We all are enjoying the warm weather compared to the last couple of weeks, but the change came about quickly Wednesday morning; that sparked a tornado warning for parts of the region.

One of those areas was Greene County, where in 2011 seven people lost their lives when five tornadoes touched down.

On this tornado drill day, the fourth day of Severe Weather Awareness week in Tennessee, we found that awareness and being prepared is especially important for young children.

As the region has discovered, a beautiful spring-like day can turn ugly in a moment's notice. The hallway at Baileyton Elementary quickly filled with students of all ages for a tornado drill, and they've learned it can happen anytime. "Just like this morning, anytime it can spring up. We practice drills, not only severe weather drills, but fire drills, lockdown drills. We try to be prepared for any emergency that comes on," principal George Frye said.

Teachers know that with training, no matter the age of the students, they can stay safe. "Practice makes perfect. We train them and they know exactly what to do, it's automatic," first grade teacher Karen Willis says.

"As soon as we learned it in Pre-k we started learning it better and better," some of her students told us.

"You get on your knees, put your head down, and put your hands over your head," others added.

"Because it doesn't have windows. If the tornado breaks the glass the glass can come and stab you," they said.

These are first graders, but they know that it can happen here. "It does happen around here and we need to be more aware. We talk about it that if we do the proper things and we do our best to protect ourselves," their teacher adds.

But many of the students were waiting on the bus when the warning went out Wednesday morning. "We did actually have some kids out waiting for the bus. Matter of fact, I ran into a couple, and they had no clue that we were under a tornado warning. I actually took those kids back home," county EMS Director Bill Brown said.

'Practice, be prepared, and keep aware of weather conditions' is now something we're learning in first grade.

To learn more about Severe Weather Awareness Week in Tennessee, click here.

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