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: http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/emergency-supply-kit/
- 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.
- 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.
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?