Statewide tornado drill scheduled for Wednesday morning

Statewide tornado drill scheduled for Wednesday morning
A tornado in Putnam County, Georgia, caused this damage on March 4. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division says our state ranks twenty-sixth in the United States in the number of tornado strikes, and eighteenth in the number of tornadoes per square mile. (Source: WVLT)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Do you know what to do if a tornado was headed for your home or workplace?

State leaders hope you'll take a few minutes Wednesday morning to think about that question during a statewide tornado drill.

The drill is happening Wednesday at 9 a.m. Public schools, state and local emergency management officers, the South Carolina Broadcasters Association and other groups will participate in the annual event. The purpose of the drill is to test communication systems and safety procedures.

South Carolina received a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission to use the tornado warning alert on NOAA weather radios during the drill, which means you may hear what sounds like an actual tornado warning on your weather radio and on television or radio.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division recommends you practice the following actions during the drill:

  • At home:
    • Get indoors to a pre-designated shelter area such as a basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level.
    • If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
  • In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper:
    • Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building away from glass and on the lowest floor possible.
    • Then, crouch down and cover your head.
    • Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly.
    • Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.
  • At school:
    • Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or windowless room in an orderly way as you are told.
    • Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms.
    • Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

South Carolina has averaged 11 tornadoes each year since 1950, resulting in 47 fatalities and 1,057 injuries, SCEMD says.

The Palmetto State ranks twenty-sixth in the United States in the number of tornado strikes, and eighteenth in the number of tornadoes per square mile.

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