Fort Belvoir, Va. (March 13, 2014) - Fort Belvoir participated in the annual Virginia Statewide Tornado Drill Tuesday morning as part of a joint effort between the state's Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.

At garrison headquarters, all staffers were required to walk to the basement of the building and sit down in the hallway during the drill. After that, they walked into another room to listen to a Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security briefing on tornado preparedness.

"This is not for my benefit," said Paul Alquisa, DPTMS contingency planner, of the drill during the briefing. "This is for everyone's benefit. This should be practiced at home."

When a tornado warning happens at work, people should go to the lowest level of multiple story buildings and stay away from windows, according to Alquisa. People should crouch down and cover their heads while they wait for a tornado to pass. He demonstrated the proper position during the briefing.

Alquisa passed out tornado preparedness tips from both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Ready Army, the service's campaign for hazards at the briefing.

Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Col. Gregory D. Gadson said during the briefing that weather can be unpredictable in the Washington D.C. area so everyone should be prepared for emergencies.

"It is important that we do this," he said of the drill. "It is a caution to take these things seriously."

The tornado season runs from late March to May, according to Alquisa.

Members of the Fort Belvoir community should develop an emergency plan with Family members. They should also have an emergency kit filled with necessities, including 72 hours worth of non-perishable food, water and medicine for each person in the household.

For more information on preparedness, visit the Ready Army website at