Statewide tornado drill planned for Feb. 23
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb 18, 2016) — Gov. Matt Bevin signed a proclamation designating Feb 22–28 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kentucky. Kentucky had four weather-related federally declared disasters in 2015.
“Testing your plan during Awareness Week, whether by family members or with your co-workers, ensures we are all ready for the next weather hazard that may challenge the commonwealth,” said Michael Dossett, director of Kentucky Emergency Management.
A statewide tornado drill will be conducted at approximately 10:07 a.m. (EST) on Feb 23 by the National Weather Service (NWS), in partnership with Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM), the Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee and Kentucky Broadcasters Association. Outdoor warning sirens will sound, weather alert radios will activate and television and radio stations will broadcast the alert.
At 10 p.m. on Feb. 22 Kentucky Education Television will host the popular live viewer call-in show, “Severe Weather – Staying Safe.” A panel of weather experts will field questions from the general public.
The first step for being prepared is to become weather-ready by knowing what types of weather hazards can affect a given area. Kentuckians should check local weather forecasts regularly, get a NOAA Weather Radio and sign up for alerts from local emergency management officials.
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.
- Help emergency managers and weather officials improve weather notifications and awareness campaigns by completing a short online survey.
If caught outdoors and unable to seek indoor shelter during a tornado warning, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
Outdoor sirens are designed to warn people outdoors to seek shelter immediately and are not designed to warn indoor inhabitants. Tornadoes can 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. 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 day or night.
Weather safety tips, helpful links and resources and the tornado drill survey can be found on the KYEM website at http://kyem.ky.gov. To receive text cell phone alerts from KYEM, text “FOLLOW KYEMPIO“ to the number 40404 (standard texting rates apply).