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Fairfax County Board Participates in VA Tornado Drill

In 2011, 51 tornadoes hit Virginia.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors participated in Virginia’s statewide tornado drill Tuesday morning during its regularly scheduled meeting.

The drill, which occurred at 9:45 a.m., corresponds with Fairfax County’s three-day tornado emergency response exercise, which began Monday and will continue through Wednesday.

The county announced the drills after a pack of tornadoes killed more than 30 people in southern Indiana and four other states in early March.

“Use this opportunity to determine where the safest location is at your home or work,” said Sharon Bulova, chairman of the board, in a statement. “You should shelter immediately in the nearest substantial building and go to your building’s basement. If there is no basement, move to a small, windowless interior room such as a closet, bathroom or interior hall on the lowest level of the building.

“If you’re in a high-rise building, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest possible floor. If you’re outside and shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area.”

Bulova stressed that tornadoes are indeed a possibility, reminding residents that .

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In 2011, 51 tornadoes hit Virginia, the second-highest number on record, according to the county's emergency information blog.

Supervisor Catherine Hudgins of the Hunter Mill District requested an emphasis on the sound a tornado makes when it touches down, as she remembered hearing the tornado in Reston.

“It sounds like a freight train,” Bulova said.

Staff from multiple county departments gathered Monday to practice a response to a fake tornado outbreak. The simulated twisters touched down near Centreville, Chantilly and Fair Lakes.

For more information about Fairfax County’s tornado emergency response exercises, visit the Fairfax County Emergency Information blog. 

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