By Julia Hillegass
Public Information & Community Affairs Administrator
March 15, 2011 is Tornado Preparedness Day in Virginia. A statewide drill will occur at 9:45 that morning. The drill is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.
To start the drill, the NWS will send a test tornado warning that will trigger a tone alert and broadcast message on NOAA Weather Radio, simulating what listeners will hear during an actual tornado warning. This will prompt radio and television stations to broadcast a tone and message.
When the test tornado warning is sounded, people should move as quickly as possible to a previously designated tornado safe area in their building. Safe areas are basements, 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.
To get complete instructions for conducting a tornado drill and to register, go to www.vaemergency.com. Registration is voluntary, and about 760 Virginians have already signed up to participate in the drill.
Tornadoes can happen anytime, anywhere, with little or no warning. Knowing what to do when seconds count can save lives. Be prepared to act quickly.
To learn more, check out these resources: