Severe Weather Awareness Week and Tornado Drill

In News by Wes Willis, Deputy Director OEM

Feb 22-28

Severe weather is Kentucky’s most common threat and it’s important to plan and prepare.

As part of severe weather awareness activities, a statewide tornado drill will be conducted at 10:07 a.m. EST, Tuesday, Feb 23, the National Weather Service (NWS), in partnership with Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM), the Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee, Kentucky Broadcasters Association and the Frankfort-Franklin County Office of Emergency Management will issue a test tornado warning message.
During the test alert all Kentuckians, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, educators and government agencies are encouraged to participate in the tornado drill and update their emergency plans. Being prepared for severe weather starts with identifying threats and risks. The first step for each citizen is to become weather-ready by knowing what types of weather hazards exist where they live and work, and how the weather could impact them and their family. Citizens should check local weather forecasts regularly, get a NOAA Weather Radio, and sign up for alerts from local emergency management officials. Severe weather comes in many forms and emergency planning should consider the possibility all types of local hazards.

Remember, outdoor warning sirens are designed to warn people outdoors to seek shelter immediately. They’re not designed to warn people indoors. That’s what a NOAA Weather Radio is for. Think of it as a smoke detector for severe weather.

Tornadoes can, and do, strike during the night when people are more vulnerable and may not have a television or radio turned on when a severe weather warning is issued. Remember, weather alert apps on smartphones and social media may not wake you up! A battery back-up weather alert radio is recommended and is the most effective way to monitor, and receive, severe weather watches and warnings because they are always on and ready to sound an alarm and at any time of the day or night.
Homes and businesses alike should have and monitor weather alert radios, which transmit NWS severe weather watches and warnings automatically, 24 hours a day.

IF OUTSIDE DURING A TORNADO

Seek indoor shelter immediately! If you do not have time, or if shelter isn’t possible lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of potential flooding.

If inclement weather is forecast for Feb 23, the Statewide Tornado Drill will be rescheduled.

Help emergency managers and weather officials improve weather notifications and awareness campaigns by completing a short online survey, available on the KYEM website.

A Good Tornado Plan Should:

  • Designate a tornado sheltering area in an interior room on the lowest level of a building and away from windows. Basements are best, but if there is no basement, choose an interior bathroom, closet or other enclosed space on the lowest level of a building.

Ensure employees/family members know where the designated shelter is located. To conduct a tornado drill at home or work:

  • Announce the start of the drill.
  • Participants should act as though a tornado warning has been issued for the immediate area or a tornado has been sighted nearby.
  • They should move as quickly as possible to the designated tornado shelter.
  • Once people reach pre-designated safe areas, they should crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, covering their heads with their hands.
  • Once everyone has reached safe shelter, announce the mock tornado has passed and the drill is complete.
  • After the drill, perform an assessment. Determine whether the designated shelter was large enough for everyone, easy to get access and uncluttered.