By Doug Beardsley, Care Providers of Minnesota
Are you prepared for severe weather? Has your skilled nursing facility (SNF) planned a tabletop of community-wide drill for compliance with the new (November 2017) emergency preparedness requirements? Is your housing with services (HWS) community in compliance with new (January 2016) emergency and disaster planning requirements, including the requirement to conduct a fire drill or other emergency drills at least every six months?
Each year, the Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HSEM), in collaboration with the National Weather Service and 16 State and local agencies and organizations, sponsors Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota. The week is designed to refresh, remind, and educate everyone about the seasonal threats from severe weather and how to avoid them.
Severe Weather Awareness Week is the perfect time to verify that your setting is prepared for severe weather while also remaining in regulatory compliance!
Statewide tornado drills
An important event during Severe Weather Awareness Week is the annual statewide tornado drill. There are two drills scheduled for Thursday, April 20, 2017, at 1:45 PM and 6:55 PM (counties may choose to opt out of the drills if actual severe weather is possible in the area).
Outdoor warning sirens and NOAA Weather Radios will sound in a simulated tornado warning. The first drill is intended for institutions and businesses. The evening drill is intended for second shift workers and families.
How to participate
If you are interested in some ideas on how your facility or community can participate in Severe Weather Awareness Week, check out the Homeland Security & Emergency Management website.
Educators, leaders, or in-service directors may want to use this Severe Weather Awareness Week PowerPoint Presentation to help deliver this information.
Why Severe Weather Awareness Week?
According to the National Weather Service, Minnesota experiences an average of 40 tornadoes per year. In 2012, 37 twisters touched down. A record was set in 2010 with 104 tornadoes across the state. Minnesota has already experienced a tornado in 2017.
Understanding this threat and knowing what to do when a tornado is approaching can save lives. Take advantage of Severe Weather Awareness Week to review your organization’s emergency procedures and prepare for weather-related hazards.
Each day of the week focuses on a different weather safety topic:
- Monday: Alerts and Warnings
- Tuesday: Severe Weather, Lightning, and Hail
- Wednesday: Floods
- Thursday: Tornadoes (with statewide tornado drills)
- Friday: Extreme Heat
Find out more about each of the day’s topics, including factsheets, checklists, data, and other resources on the Severe Weather Awareness Week page.