Tornado Safety drills, Have a plan

Lightning illuminates a house after a tornado
Lightning illuminates a house after a tornado touched down in Jefferson County, Ala., damaging several houses in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, state-wide tornado drills are scheduled for 9 AM Wednesday in South Carolina…and at 9:30 AM in North Carolina.

These drills are a time to practice what you would do if a tornado warning is issued.

Whether you’re at home, at work, or at school…the rules are the same.

If you have a basement or a built-in tornado shelter…get there.

If not, get to the lowest floor of the building.  Stay away from windows and exterior walls…put as much between you and the outside world as possible.  Interior hallways, bathrooms, or closets are good.  If there’s anything you can do to block possible debris, like getting under sturdy furniture…do it.

Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do and where to go…you may not have time to round everyone up.

In an office, school, or public building…there should be designated shelter areas…or an announcement directing people where to go.  If not, follow the same procedures you would at home.  In larger buildings, you will want to avoid large, open roof areas.

If you’re in a car or a mobile home, get out.  Your best bet is to make sure you have access to solid shelter well before storms arrive.  Don’t try to out run a storm; they don’t have to follow roads and can travel at speeds up to 60 miles per hour!

Your absolute last resort if outdoors is to lie flat in a ditch, covering your head with your hands.  You’re still subject to flying debris and rising water…so you want to avoid this if at all possible.

If you live or work in Spartanburg County, emergency management would like you to take part in the drill as part of their Prepareathon program…and let them know that you did by taking a short survey.  Visit their website for details, and for information on the county’s Code Red emergency alert system.


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