S.D. Residents Prep for Severe Weather with Drill

April 19, 2005

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds has declared April 25-29 Severe Weather Preparedness Week in South Dakota so that all citizens are aware of safety precautions they can take during the severe weather they often encounter in the state.

This year’s statewide tornado drill will be held Wednesday, April 27.

Test watch: 10 a.m. (CT)
Test Warning: 10:15 a.m. (CT)
Cancellation: 10:30 a.m. (CT)

“Many South Dakota elementary schools participate in this statewide tornado drill,” said Public Safety Secretary Tom Dravland. “Having a scheduled drill helps kids learn the proper steps to take if a natural disaster should happen in their communities. It also helps them understand that they should never ignore a tornado warning.”

In addition to understanding the importance of practicing tornado drills, the Department of Public Safety wants the public to know the importance of having a proper weather radio.

“During this year’s Severe Weather Preparedness Week, we want citizens to know the value of having a weather radio in their homes and schools to warn them of any type of hazard in their communities,” Dravland said.

Under a January 1975 White House policy statement, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA Weather Radio was designated the sole government-operated radio system to provide direct warning into private homes for both natural disasters and nuclear attack.

The NOAA and the National Weather Service recently expanded the use of the weather radio to include warnings for all hazards, such as hazardous materials releases and wildfires. The NOAA Weather Radio also provides continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information directly from the National Weather Service offices. These broadcasts are tailored for the radio owner’s specific area.

“It is now possible to program certain weather radios to sound an alert for only the counties you desire in a specific area,” Dravland said.

Gov. Rounds’ proclamation and the South Dakota Severe Weather Preparedness handbook are available at http://oem.sd.gov/home.htm. The handbook contains details about:

* Weather radios;
* Preparing an emergency supply kit;
* Weather hazards such as floods, thunder/lightning, tornados, and excessive heat;
* Preparing an emergency school plan;
* State, county, and tribal emergency management contact information.

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