Thursday, April 7, 2022 is Minnesota Tornado Drill Day during Severe Weather Awareness Week.  Two tornado drills are taking place today.

Faribault and Rice County are taking part in both drills.  Not all counties participate in both in Minnesota so if you live elsewhere check with local authorities.

During these drills outdoor warning sirens will be set off along with NOAA Weather Radios in Minnesota and Wisconsin issuing a simulated tornado warning.

These drills give everyone the opportunity to review their emergency plans and procedures and practice emergency drills at work or at home.

Counties and cities in Minnesota own, operate and maintain all local warning sirens and set their own policies on how and when they are activated.

In all cases there is no such thing as an all-clear siren.

The first drill will take place at 1:45 p.m. when jurisdictions across Minnesota will sound their outdoor warning sirens.  Schools, businesses and other facilities are encouraged to conduct a tornado drill at this time to practice their emergency tornado sheltering plans.

NOAA Weather Radios will activate with the weekly test code. KDHL 920 AM, 97.9 FM and POWER 96 Radio, 95.9 FM, will have messages during those drill times also.

A second drill occurs at 6:45 p.m. with the same outdoor warning sirens being sounded in hopes second-shift workers , individuals and families take the opportunity to practice their own emergency plans at home.

NOAA Weather Radios and Townsquare Media stations KDHL and POWER 96 will also have brief messages informing you of some safety tips in the event of a real tornado.

Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. All National Weather Service (NWS) offices that serve Minnesota will issue a simulated tornado using the Public Information Statement product.  NOAA Weather Radios will activate a weekly test code.

1:45 p.m. The NWS will issue a simulated tornado warning for Minnesota using the Public Information Statement product.  Most cities and counties will activate their outdoor warning sirens.

2:00 p.m. The NWS will issue an "End of Test" message using the Public Information Statement product.

6:45 p.m. NWS offices will issue another simulated tornado warning.

7:00 p.m. The NWS will issu an "End of Test" message using the Public Information Statement product.

Wireless emergency alerts on cell phones should not sound for these drills according to Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

In general software at TV stations also receives the test code indicating a test, and may not send a message.

If real severe weather is a threat on drill day then the NWS can postpone the simulated events and move them to Friday.

What should you do in a tornado warning situation?   Here are some Tornado Safety Tips from the National Weather Service.

Here are some more highlighted tips from NWS and Minnesota HSEM.

If you are in a vehicle and the tornado is visible, far away, and traffic is light, you may be able to drive away from it's path by moving at right angles to the tornado.  Otherwise park the vehicle as quickly as possible and get to safety out of the traffic lanes.

Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can accelerate the wind while offering little protection against flying debris.

If you are in the open outdoors if possible seek shelter in a sturdy building.  If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms.  Get as far away from trees and vehicles as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

In a shopping mall, large store or stadium listen for instructions from building security.  Watch for others.  Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area away from windows.  Move away from any glass.

In a church or theater if possible move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway away from windows.  Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms.  If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms and hands.

Here is a Minnesota HSEM Tornado Safety Fact Sheet you may want to print and go over with loved ones.

Keep hammering home the tornado safety tips.

KEEP READING: What to do after a tornado strikes