Tornado Drill, March 21 at 9:45 a.m.

Each year, the National Weather Service conducts a statewide tornado drill across Virginia to help individuals, schools and organizations test their emergency plans in the event of a tornado. At 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 21, a *test* tornado warning will be issued.  It will be sent out like a normal tornado warning, which will activate weather radios, text alerts, and the Emergency Alert System.

This is a great opportunity for individuals, businesses and organizations to practice their shelter-in-place plans and go over their office emergency kits. All organizations can register HERE and perform the following steps:

Before the Drill:
  • Make sure everyone knows the date and time of the drill.
  • Have a plan: Where and how will everyone shelter in place? How will you make sure everyone is safe?
  • Make a Kit: Do you have an emergency supply kit? If not, go to:
  • Make sure participants understand the plan, answer their questions beforehand to make sure they know what to do during the drill or a real tornado.
  • Remind participants about the drill before it begins.
 During the Drill:
  • Announce the start of the drill by using a public address system or having designated volunteers alert the members of your group.  Do this by going room to room and floor by floor of your building.
  • Everyone should act as though a tornado warning has been issued for the immediate area. They should move as quickly as possible to the nearest safe place.  Use stairs to reach the lowest level of a building; avoid using elevators.
  • Remind participants that when they reach their safe area during a real tornado threat, they must crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down and covering their heads with their hands.  
  • After everyone has moved to a safe place, the drill coordinator can announce that the tornado has passed and the drill is over.
After the Drill:
The drill coordinator should document any changes necessary:
  • Do you need more safe areas?
  • Are safe areas uncluttered and accessible?
  • Do employees know the fastest routes to safe areas?
  • Does your alert system work? Did everyone know the drill had started?
For more information or to learn how to create a shelter-in-place/evacuation plan, please contact Ioana Lutai at or visit