Statewide Tornado Drill
The Statewide Tornado Drill is a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.
Save the date! The Virginia State Emergency Communications Committee and the National Weather Service will conduct a statewide tornado drill and Emergency Alert System (EAS) test on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 9:45 a.m. or on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at 9:45 a.m. as the backup date if severe weather impacts the Commonwealth of Virginia on March 19.
At approximately 9:45 a.m., the National Weather Service will send a test tornado warning over NOAA Weather Radios. This test signal will sound a tone alert, show a test message or flash to indicate a message, simulating what people would hear or see during an actual tornado warning. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.
To participate, start your own tornado drill when you hear the test signal over NOAA Weather Radio or broadcast media.
Show your support by registering for the tornado drill. In recent years, 1 million Virginians have signed up for the drill.
How to Participate:
Designate one or more people in your family or business to coordinate your drill and have them follow the steps below.
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
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, 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.
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?
For more information about Tornadoes and Tornado Safety visit the following links:
VDEM Tornado Safety Tips: http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/threat/tornadoes/
Virginia Tornado History: http://www.vaemergency.gov/news-local/tornado-history/
Ready.Gov Tornado Safety Tips: https://www.ready.gov/tornadoes
National Weather Service Tornado Safety Tips: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/tornado/