A statewide tornado drill takes place on Wednesday as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week.
Gov. Sonny Perdue proclaimed Monday through Saturday as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia to educate the public on preparedness, and safety and response procedures in case of a severe weather event - floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms and winter storms.
The tornado drill conducted by Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service takes place in the morning hours of next Wednesday. The drill will begin with a watch and then escalate to a warning. In the event of inclement weather Wednesday, the drill will be postponed to Friday to avoid confusion.
"These drills are necessary for us to see what's working for us and what we need to work on," said Pam Tucker, the director of Columbia County Emergency Services Division, who will coordinate the drill locally. "It's just like anything else. If you don't give it regular maintenance it's going to go bad."
All county departments, schools, businesses, medical facilities, churches and industries are requested to participate by practicing tornado safety plans when the Weather Service initiates the drill.
Tucker said it is also important that the general public participate in the drill as well to learn where they can be safe in the event of severe weather.
"Everyone should locate a safe room in their home," Tucker said. "A basement would be ideal, but it should be on the ground floor toward the middle of the home. There should also be no windows.
"Most people who die or are injured during a tornado is because of flying debris. People need a place in their home to protect themselves and their families against that."
The Emergency Services office in the Evans Government Complex has a model safe room that the public can tour by request. Tucker said than anyone wanting to know where the safe room in their home is can call Emergency Services at 868-3303 for assistance.
As part of the week's events GEMA will conduct tours of the State Mobile Command Vehicle on Tuesday from 9:30 to 11 a.m. to the Evan's Government Center. The vehicle is dispatched from GEMA to communities following disasters to assist as a central command center for coordination between counties and the state.
There will also be a drawing at 11 a.m. Tuesday to give away ten NOAA alert radios, which are used during a severe weather event to relay information on the emergency.
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