Local students take cover as part of statewide tornado drill

Statewide Tornado Drill Virginia

Statewide Tornado Drill in Virginia. 2019

Even with winter weather on our minds, we can’t forget it’s almost severe weather season.

It can hit early, like two years ago in Waverly, or just last year on March 31st in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.  That’s why the state holds annual tornado drills.

Preparing for the unexpected: that’s what students across Virginia did today as part of the annual statewide tornado drill.  10 On Your Side visited B.C. Charles Elementary School for their drill.

“We go out in the hallway and we get on our knees and we put our head on our knees,” said 5th grade student Konner Moody.  “This position protects our head from any debris that could be coming.”

They kneel quietly and cover their heads.  “It’s not comfortable at all,” said 5th grader Christopher Gregory.  “Because you have to bend down like this, or you can sit criss-cross applesauce and cover up your head.”

They may not be comfortable, but the students know it could save their lives.

“If there is an actual tornado that hits the school, we, if we didn’t do it before, we wouldn’t know how to handle it and that could be seriously dangerous,” said 5th grader Grace Holland.

That is why they have a plan — and practice it.

Assistant Principal Kelly Gwinn said, “It becomes a habit. They know and when they hear that alarm, they know exactly what to do.”

A few years ago, their training came in handy because of a tornado warning in the area.

“We had parents and kids all in the hallways, sitting, facing the walls,” said Gwinn.  “A couple of the middle school buses had to stop by here because they were on their way home and had to take cover, so we had a realistic tornado drill.”

5th grader Grace Holland remembers it clearly, now thankful for the annual drill.  “It was really scary cause I’ve never been in a tornado before.  So I didn’t, well I knew what to do, and I did it, but it was still really hard to do.”

It’s not just schools that do the drills, anyone can.  In a workplace, officials recommend you make sure employees know the fastest routes to safety and double-check your alert system.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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