Chesterfield County students take part in statewide tornado drill

Posted at 1:07 PM, Mar 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-20 13:17:39-04

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR) – If you heard sirens and alarms sounding early Tuesday morning, you don’t have to worry because it was only a test.  A statewide tornado drill was held to remind Virginians about the importance of putting a severe weather plan in place, and in Chesterfield County some students were doing just that.  The students at Matoaca Elementary School were learning an important lesson outside the classroom.

"They are learning what to do, where to go and how to help others as well," said Principal Debbie Wessel.

The Chesterfield County students had to duck and cover during the statewide tornado drill.

"We want the children to have it as second nature so they'll know exactly what to do and feel very comfortable being able to lead themselves to safety,” said Wessel.

It’s the push to stay safe, that has schools across the Commonwealth performing several tornado drills throughout the year.  The drills are especially important in the spring—one season that Virginia has historically seen an increase in tornadic activity.

"They will know what to do,” said Wessel.  “Whether they are here or at home they will know and may be able to instruct some people in their family who may not know what to do to help them stay safe in case some of these emergencies came up."

It’s never too early to prepare, but it can be too late.  Weather experts report last year Virginia had the second highest number of tornadoes to ever hit the Commonwealth with 51 recorded twisters.

For more information on tornado preparations, click here.