Severe Weather Awareness Week

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Governor Nikki Haley has proclaimed that South Carolina Severe Weather Awareness Week for 2015 will be observed March 8-14. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division, the National Weather Service, and the South Carolina Broadcasters Association jointly sponsor the week to remind people that severe storms, tornadoes and flash floods are significant hazards in South Carolina and people need to take proper safety precautions. SCEMD and the National Weather Service are promoting awareness of procedures that help keep you safe during tornadoes.

Highlights of the week will include the state full-scale disaster exercise, March 9-10, and the annual state-wide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 11, at 9 a.m. with a backup date of Thursday, March 12.

The Statewide Disaster Exercise, March 9-10 will test the state’s abilities to support response operations based on simulated emergency scenarios such as the landfall of a hurricane, a collapsed building, widespread fires and mass casualties.

This exercise is in conjunction with Vigilant Guard 2015, an eight-day exercise being held March 5-12, during which the National Guard, along with local, state and federal partners will be deployed to exercise venues in Georgetown, with other sites including Anderson, Moncks Corner, Spartanburg, Florence, West Columbia and Williamsburg. This statewide disaster preparedness exercise will involve more than 5,000 first responders, members of the National Guard and emergency managers and is taking place at numerous locations across South Carolina.

The state Emergency Operations Center will be fully activated by almost 200 disaster response personnel from multiple state agencies and non-profit organizations. Members of the media are invited to the SEOC for the duration of its activation.

South Carolina Tornado Safety Drill, Wednesday, March 11, 9:00 a.m.

The State Superintendent of Education encourages schools state-wide to participate in the drill. South Carolina has received a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission to use the Tornado Warning product on NOAA tone-alert weather radio when the drill is conducted. During the drill, the National Weather Service will use a real-event code, TOR. The “TOR” code will activate tone-alert weather radios that are set to receive tornado warnings, and those radios will broadcast the exercise message.

Public schools, state and local emergency managers, the S.C. Broadcasters Association, and others will participate in this annual event. The purpose of the drill is to test communication systems, safety procedures, mitigation processes, etc. For further information on Severe Weather Awareness Week, contact your county emergency management director, the State Emergency Management Division or your nearest National Weather Service office.