Tornado Preparedness Day Proclaimed for March 13

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)

March 2, 2007

 Tornado Preparedness Day Proclaimed for March 13 in Virginia

Governor Timothy Kaine has proclaimed Tuesday, March 13, as Tornado Preparedness Day in Virginia. A statewide tornado drill will take place at 9:45 a.m., providing an opportunity to practice tornado safety plans and prepare schools and businesses to protect students, employees and others if a tornado warning is issued. If severe weather threatens the state, the drill will take place on Wednesday, March 14, at 9:45 a.m.

Should a tornado approach, 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 or severe weather 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday, both of which would include alerts for tornado watches and warnings. To register, visit
For more information about tornado preparedness, visit or call the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management at 703-324-2362, TTY 711. Additional information about the tornado drill warning is available on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Web site at


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