Tornado Preparedness Day
Fairfax County Office of Public
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 711, FAX 703-324-2010
Feb. 28, 2006
March 14 Is "Tornado Preparedness Day" in Virginia
The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management encourages county residents, business owners, schools, nonprofit organizations, homeowners associations and others to participate in Virginia’s Tornado Preparedness Day on Tuesday, March 14, co-sponsored by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service. As part of the awareness day, a statewide tornado drill will be held at 9:45 a.m. that will provide an opportunity to practice tornado safety plans and prepare schools and businesses to protect students, employees and others if a tornado warning is issued. The test alert for the drill will be broadcast over NOAA weather radio and the Emergency Alert System.
C. Douglas Bass, coordinator of emergency management for FairfaxCounty, urges all residents to participate in the drill and become more aware of the dangers of tornadoes. “We encourage everyone to become more familiar with tornadoes, their warning signs and specific steps that can be taken to ensure personal safety,” said Bass. “Residents should also use the opportunity to purchase a NOAA weather radio and check their emergency supply kits at home and work.”
The Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management offers residents these tornado safety suggestions:
- “Go low and stay low,” which means to go to the lowest level of a structure away from windows and crouch in a low position with your head covered.
- Mobile homes and cars are extremely unsafe during a tornado. Take cover inside a nearby sturdy building. If that’s not possible, lie down in a ditch away from your mobile home or car and cover your head with your hands.
- Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A watch means current weather conditions may result in a tornado. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted. When a tornado warning is issued for your area, take cover immediately.
- Be aware that the majority of tornadoes occur between 3 and 9 p.m. Think of where you would normally be during that time – at school, at work or in the car. You may only have a few seconds to react. Decide now where you would go if a tornado warning is issued.
- Have a weather radio nearby so you can listen for tornado watches and warnings. Tornadoes can also occur with little or no advance warning. If the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for your area, your weather radio will sound an alert, indicating you need to move to a safe area immediately.
- Remember that tornadoes can occur any time of the year and often strike with little or no advance warning.
The Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to sign up for the Community Emergency Alert Network, or CEAN. The CEAN will deliver important emergency alerts, notifications and updates to county residents during severe weather, a major crisis or emergency. Messages will be delivered to e-mail accounts, cell phones, text pagers, satellite phones and wireless PDAs registered on the system. In addition, residents also may register for any or all of the additional CEAN alert categories, including severe weather 24/7 and severe weather 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday, both of which would include alerts for tornado watches and warnings. To register, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cean.
For more information about tornado preparedness, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency or call the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management at 703-324-2362, TTY 711. Additional information is available on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Web site at www.vaemergency.com.