NORAD prepares for one of their busiest times of year- Santa’s arrival

Christmas in the Panhandle

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Members of the 601st Air Operations Center in coordination with NORAD are in charge of tracking Santa every year for children to watch.

Usually, the AOC is where military personnel tracks everything that flies in and around Canada and the United States.

On Christmas Eve, they take on extra duties.

“We’re very good at mixing work and play if you will, so our 24/7, 365 mission continues and then we fold Santa into that so we can multitask and protect the Nation and give Santa the information that he needs as well,” Chief of Combat Operations Col. Jeremy Wood said.

The AOC and North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, have been tracking Santa’s sleigh since 1955. They said there’s a lot of preparation that goes into the big day.

“First procedure, get a lot of sleep because it’s going to be a long night,” Senior Air Defense Officer Lt. Col. Nick Trudell said.

Next, officials check radars, satellites, and fighter jets. They said one of the most difficult parts about tracking Santa is timing.

“In Santa’s time, he’s got months and months to do this and he doesn’t track time the same way that we do,” Trudell said. “So yes, for us a split second we could miss him. We’ve got really good sensors though.”

NORAD has never missed Old Saint Nick and his reindeer. Children have been captivated for years by their tracking and they don’t intend to stop that now.

To follow Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, download the NORAD Tracks Santa app, or click on here to go to NORAD’s Santa tracking website. You can also call their hotline for updates 1-877-HiNORAD.

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