On March 9, 2016, Buncombe County Emergency Management and the City of Asheville launched Buncombe County’s PrepareAthon! with a community-wide tornado drill.
Jerry Vehaun, director of Emergency Services in Buncombe County, and other volunteers encouraged residents to sign up for Nixle, their community emergency communication system that notifies subscribers of threats via text, voicemail, email, and social media. Buncombe County used this event to test the “reverse 911” component of Nixle by sending a test message out to all of the telephone listings in the county’s 911 database.
On the day of the drill, nearly 20,000 students and workers from Buncombe County and the City of Asheville schools and government offices, the Biltmore Group, Ingles Markets, and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College practiced taking cover for a tornado.
"We take great pride in being the
first county in North Carolina to take
part in America's PrepareAthon!
Severe weather can cause major
damage to our residents' homes and
businesses, and we believe that an
informed and engaged community is
a strong community."
- Jerry Vehaun, director of Emergency
Services in Buncombe County
“It’s important to remember that tornadoes can happen anytime, and the PrepareAthon! gave us a chance practice what we would do while at work,” said Kelley Klope, Public Information Officer for the Asheville Fire Department. “It was eye-opening, and now we are ready to take action when the next tornado comes through our county.”
To learn more about emergency preparedness in North Carolina, visit ReadyNC.