Posted at 1:30 p.m.
Just last month (Feb. 24), four people were killed in Virginia during the state’s first deadly February twisters on record.
Did you know that registration for Virginia’s statewide tornado drill — Tuesday, March 22, at 9:45 a.m. — is now open. Have you registered yet?
Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. They can appear suddenly without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Be prepared to act quickly.
- There were 67 tornadoes in Virginia from 2011 to 2013.
- 12 tornadoes occurred in Virginia in 2014.
- Seven tornadoes were recorded in Virginia in 2015.
When it comes to tornadoes, there’s no such thing as a “tornado season.” Tornadoes can strike anywhere, anytime — and you need to know the drill. That’s the reason the March 22 tornado drill is so important.
Sign up today as an individual, or register your family’s participation, your school or your business.
Posted at 8:15 a.m.
In a couple of hours, don’t be surprised if you see folks around you start dropping to the floor, crawling under sturdy desks or tables and covering their heads. It’s all part of the annual Great Southeast ShakeOut earthquake drill that starts at 10:15 a.m.
Practicing these simple steps — drop, cover and hold on — is just one of the ways you can prepare for tremors.
- DROP to the ground (before the shaking drops you).
- Take COVER under a sturdy desk or table if possible, protecting your head and neck.
- HOLD ON to the desk or table until the shaking stops.
Not to Late to Participate
Over 2 million people have registered to participate in this morning’s drill — including over 1.1 million in Virginia alone! But if you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late to do so. Just go to www.shakeout.org/southeast/register to register. And don’t worry if you’ve already got plans for this morning. You can conduct your own earthquake drill any time over the next two weeks to have your participation counted. So register now and drop, cover and hold on at 10:15 a.m.
Earthquakes in Virginia
Virginia experiences earthquakes each year, but only a few are felt. Since 1977, more than 195 quakes have been detected as originating beneath Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. Of these, at least 29 were large enough to be felt at the earth’s surface. This averages out to about six earthquakes per year, of which one is felt.
The Aug. 23, 2011 earthquake centered near Mineral, Va., was felt by one-third of the U.S. population from Georgia to Maine and it caused over $200 million in damage. Earthquakes like that one can cause sudden and intense back and forth motions of several feet per second. They can cause the floor or the ground to jerk sideways out from under you, while every unsecured object around you could topple, fall, or become airborne, potentially causing serious injury.
Now is a good time to check your home for unsecured objects that could move, break or fall as an earthquake shakes your home. Pay attention to tall, heavy or expensive objects like bookcases, home electronics, appliances and items hanging from walls, especially over beds, tables, desks or chairs. FEMA and our emergency management office recommends that you secure those items with flexible fasteners, such as nylon straps, or relocate them.
Posted at 11 a.m.
For the fourth year, Virginia will participate in the Great Southeast ShakeOut, a multi-state simultaneous earthquake drill scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 15, at 10:15 a.m.
As of this morning, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management reports that more than 797,000 Virginians have signed up for the earthquake drill. Have you?
Learn more about what to do if there is an earthquake and then practice these easy-to-remember steps during the ShakeOut:
- Hold on!
There are many ways for you, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, community groups and others to participate in the Southeast ShakeOut and to get prepared for earthquakes. Visit www.shakeout.org/southeast to learn more and register to participate. And if Oct. 15 isn’t a convenient time for your organization to hold an earthquake drill, you can still participate in the ShakeOut — you can hold a drill any time between then and Dec. 31 and still be counted as long as you register your participation.
Posted at 9:45 a.m.
Tornadoes can happen anywhere and at any time of year, making preparedness for these potentially deadly storms even more important. For example, Fairfax County had a couple of tornado watches and tornado warnings in 2014.
To be better prepared, businesses and organizations, schools and colleges, and families and individuals can practice taking cover from tornadoes by participating in the annual Statewide Tornado Drill Tuesday, March 17, at 9:45 a.m.
Registration for the tornado drill is not necessary, but you can learn more and show your support by signing up at www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
The annual drill is a joint effort of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service (NWS).
To start the tornado drill at 9:45 a.m. on March 17, the NWS will send a test tornado warning that will trigger a tone alert and broadcast message on NOAA Weather Radio. The message will be picked up by TV and radio broadcasts, simulating what listeners will hear during an actual tornado warning.
“Receiving a tornado warning as quickly as possible can make the difference between life and death,” said Bill Sammler, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “One of the fastest ways for people to get a tornado warning is by NOAA Weather Radio, which provides warning information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. However, cellphone apps such as Ready Virginia are also available that quickly provide critical warning information at little or no cost. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) also provide tornado and flash flood warnings via text message to any compatible cell within the warning area, even if you are visiting or just traveling through an affected area.”
For help in conducting a tornado drill and to register for next week’s statewide drill, go to www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
Posted at 11:30 a.m.
The exercise is on Saturday, Nov. 15, from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Lorton training site, located at the former Lorton Juvenile Detention Center in Lorton. The exercise is perfect for drama classes, students needing community service hours, retired persons, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and anyone interested in disasters.
Victim actors must:
- Be 16 years of age or older.
- Wear closed-toe shoes (no flip-flops, Crocs, sandals, etc.).
- Dress in clothes appropriate for the weather and that you don’t mind messing up with fake blood, etc.
- Sign a waiver.
CERT will provide simulated wound makeup and give you symptoms to role-play during the exercise. And when the exercise is over, they’ll also feed you lunch.
To volunteer for the Nov. 15 exercise, email firstname.lastname@example.org.