Be prepared: Statewide tornado drill expected across Florida this Wednesday
TAMPA, Fla. - Heads up, Floridians: there will be a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, Feb. 9.
It will happen at 10 a.m. EST.
It's part of Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week, which runs from Feb. 7 to Feb. 11. The week is observed each year by the National Weather Service. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a proclamation observing the week with the goal of increasing Floridians' knowledge and helping people to prepare and protect their families, homes and businesses from natural hazards that impact the state.
"Emergency managers and meteorologists ask community members to consider practicing their tornado action plan. If it is not feasible to participate during the exercise, please consider discussing tornado response in your place of work and home," officials said.
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Officials say that participation in the drill is voluntary and decided county by county.
If your county participates, you should consider yourselves under a Tornado Watch. This means that you should monitor the weather and be prepared to go to a safe place in the event of a warning. A Tornado Warning will then be issued at 10 a.m. EST, meaning you should take immediate protective action.
Public and commercial broadcasters, school districts, private schools, preschools, and daycare centers are encouraged to participate in the drill.
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The Florida Division of Emergency Management provided the following timeline for those participating:
February 9: The Day of the Drill
- After 8:00 a.m. ESTConsider a Tornado Watch to be in effect• Announce watch to staff and/or students• Designate authority (coordinator)• Evacuate tornado vulnerable areas
- 10:00 a.m. ESTTornado Warning• Receive test message• Upon determination of immediate threat, give "take shelter" or "duck and cover" command (depending on space available at location)
- 10:30 a.m. ESTTermination of Watch and Warning• Give instructions to return to normal activities (You will not receive notification. Terminate the drill as you see fit.)
- After the DrillWrap-up• Following the drill, assess and revise plan as needed.
FOX 35 Orlando contributed to this report.