Governor Matt Bevin has signed a proclamation designating March 1 – 7, 2018, as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Kentucky. Severe weather knows no boundaries and impacts every individual in the Commonwealth.
As part of severe weather awareness activities, a statewide tornado drill will be conducted in conjunction with the proclamation. At approximately 10:07 a.m. EST, Thursday, March 1, the National Weather Service (NWS), in partnership with Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM), Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee (KWPC), and Kentucky Broadcasters Association, will issue a test tornado warning message.
Across Kentucky, outdoor warning sirens will sound, weather alert radios will activate, and television and radio stations will broadcast the alert along with mobile devices. This drill will give citizens the opportunity to practice tornado safety measures.
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 as needed.
“Severe weather is the Commonwealth’s most constant threat. Kentucky Emergency Management is committed to ensure our citizens are prepared for all types of hazards,” said Michael E. Dossett, director of KYEM. “Kentucky experienced 10 tornado events on February 24th in our western Kentucky counties, no better example exists as a warning to heighten our preparedness. Testing your emergency plan during Severe Weather Awareness Week, whether with family members or co-workers, helps ensure we all will be ready for the next severe weather event in the Commonwealth.”
Being prepared for severe weather starts with identifying threats and risks. The first step is to become weather ready by knowing what types of weather hazards can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Citizens should check local weather forecasts regularly, get a NOAA Weather Alert Radio and sign up for alerts from their local emergency management officials.
BE AWARE – BE PREPARED – HAVE A PLAN!
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 or 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 pre-designated tornado shelter.
Once people reach pre-designated safe area, 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 if 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, available at http://kyem.ky.gov/Preparedness/Pages/Tornado.aspx.
If caught outdoors and unable to access an 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.
Remember, outdoor sirens are designed to warn people outdoors to seek shelter immediately and NOT to warn indoor inhabitants. Tornadoes can, and do, strike each month of the year during both day and night when people are more vulnerable and may not have a television or radio turned on when a 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.
Weather safety tips, helpful links and resources along with the tornado drill survey can be found on KYEM’s website at www.kyem.ky.gov, where you can like and follow @KentuckyEM on Facebook and Twitter. Additional tornado safety information is also available at https://www.weather.gov/wrn/spring-safety, www.ready.gov/tornadoes and www.weather.gov.
KWPC asks that anyone posting to social media regarding the tornado drill, or other weather events, use the hashtag #kywx.