Pinellas County residents and businesses should get ready to “duck and cover” on Wednesday, February 3 as the county runs their Great Tornado Drill.
“Since a tornado can hit within minutes after a Tornado Warning is issued, it is important to plan ahead, and know where to seek safe spaces, such as a bathtub or closet, and ‘duck and cover,'” read a press release from the county. “Safe spaces should be identified at home, school, work and other places where you spend time.”
Schools will also participate in the drill, and this county-wide alert encourages all to participate at 10 a.m., while also following CDC guidelines for safe distancing and mask protection.
“Tornado safety requires an additional level of planning this year: If the safe space is going to be shared, be sure to follow CDC guidelines by wearing a face covering and staying at least six feet from others who don’t live with you,” read the release.
Once you’ve made your safety plan, the county encourages all to give it a trial run during the drill at 10 a.m., or or sign up for Alert Pinellas (pinellascounty.org/AlertPinellas) to get a test alert. Practice getting to your safe space quickly, and take a selfie to post on social media. Use the hashtag #PCtornadodrill.
For fun, the county encourages people to take selfies as they shelter, and share them on social media with the hashtag #PCtornadodrill. The county will choose three winning photos, based on their demonstration of proper “duck and cover” while maintaining face covering and social distancing – you might even win a prize.
Join Pinellas County Live on Facebook starting at 9:50 a.m. at fb.com/PinellasCountyNews/
Instructions for the drill
- Before the drill
• Inform others at home, school or work
• Review and refine a tornado plan www.pinellascounty.org/tornado
- The day of the drill
Wednesday – After 8 a.m.
Consider a Tornado Watch to be in effect. A watch means tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms and closely monitor the weather.
• Designate an emergency coordinator
• Announce the “Tornado Watch – this is a drill” to staff and/or students either in person or virtually
- At 10 a.m.
Consider a Tornado Warning to be in effect. A warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
• “Receive” the emergency message (You must simulate this yourself or sign up for Alert Pinellas at pinellascounty.org/alertpinellas to receive a TEST alert.)
• Go to your safe space, duck and cover.
• Take a selfie and post it on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #PCTornadoDrill. Check Pinellas County Facebook and Twitter to see other participants.
- After the Drill
• Following the drill, discuss, assess and revise your tornado safety plan as needed.For more information on tornado safety, go to pinellascounty.org/tornado.