Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Participate in Statewide Tornado Drill March 20

Participate in Statewide Tornado Drill March 20

Last year, 51 tornadoes hit Virginia, the second highest number on record.

While Fairfax County government will be participating in our three-day tornado exercise described yesterday on this blog, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service are hosting the annual statewide tornado drill on Tuesday, March 20, at 9:45 a.m.

While we’re working in the county’s Emergency Operations Center on the tornado scenario, we’re asking you to participate in this simple statewide drill.

Businesses and organizations, schools and colleges, and families and individuals are encouraged to practice taking cover from tornadoes.

Here’s how it works:
1.At 9:45 a.m., the National Weather Service will send a test tornado warning that will trigger a tone alert and broadcast message on NOAA Weather Radio. The message will be picked up by TV and radio broadcasters, simulating what listeners will hear during an actual tornado warning.
2.When the test tornado warning is sounded, people should move as quickly as possible to a safe area in their building. Safe areas are basements and crawl spaces, as well as interior rooms, bathrooms, closets or hallways on the lowest level of a building. In choosing a safe area, stay away from windows. Once in the safe area, crouch down or sit on the floor, facing down, and cover heads with hands.

Everyone in Fairfax County (and throughout the Commonwealth) can participate in the statewide tornado drill. Please register for the drill so state emergency managers know how many people are practicing tornado safety. Registration is voluntary – the most important thing is for you to hold a tornado drill in your home, school or workplace at least once a year. Learn how to conduct your own drill.