According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the drill is a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.
Officials say the National Weather Service will send a tornado test warning over NOAA weather radio stations. This alert will sound a tone, show a text message, or flash to indicate a message to simulate what would happened during an actual tornado warning.
“Tornados can happen at anytime, anywhere so it is important that all Lynchburg residence, visitors, and employees prepare now,” according to Director of Emergency Services Melissa Foster. “Waiting until after a tornado warning is issued, is not the time to be putting together your emergency plan. The tornado drill will give you an opportunity to practice keeping yourself and those around you safe in the event of a tornado.”
To participate, the department says to designate one or more people of your family to coordinate the drill and follow these 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? Does anyone need special assistance in order to stay safe? How will you make sure everyone is safe?
- Make a Kit: Do you have an emergency supply kit? 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, floor by floor of your building.
- Everyone should act as though a tornado warning has been issued for the immediate area or a tornado has been sighted near the building. 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. Ensure that everyone in your group knows this.
- After everyone has moved to a safe place, the drill coordinator can announce that the tornado has passed and the drill is over.
- The Statewide Tornado Drill is a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.
After the drill:
- The drill coordinator should document any changes necessary in the procedure.
- 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?