By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)March 10, 2016
Fort Leonard Wood is set to join the rest of Missouri for the statewide-tornado drill, starting at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The annual tornado drill is part of Severe Weather Week, which includes preparedness day on Monday, flash-flood safety on Wednesday and severe thunderstorm day on March 17, said Troy Carney, installation emergency manager, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood.
Fort Leonard Wood will participate by sounding the emergency sirens on post, indicating a tornado drill. The expectation is that all personnel and Families on post will respond as if it were an actual emergency, Carney said.
"It's a reactionary thing," he added. "The sirens go off, you do what you are supposed to do."
Carney said the installation would not be done with the drill after the all clear is given. There will still be an accountability requirement for all units and directorates.
"We like to work on accountability, because of the military aspect," Carney said. "We want to know everybody is OK as soon as possible."
Fort Leonard Wood has an interest in ensuring personnel are aware of the potential for tornadoes, after an EF-3 tornado hit Dec. 31, 2010, doing an estimated $90 million in damage to homes and training areas. As a direct response to that tornado, Carney said, Fort Leonard Wood installed storm shelters at ranges and training areas to ensure the safety of Soldiers in training.
There is no consequence management piece as part of this drill, Carney said, because the installation holds a full-scale response exercise every year.
"This drill is not about how the installation would respond, but everyone being aware and prepared," Carney said. "(This drill) gives everyone on the installation a chance to test their preparedness plans."
A preparedness plan should include instructions on what to do in different types of emergencies and have plans for accountability for all Family members, Carney recommends.
In addition to a plan, Families are encouraged to also have a kit that includes anything that would be necessary to survive for at least 72 hours. Items such as food, water, extra batteries, flashlights and pet-care essentials should be included in the kit.
Having the plan and the survival kit are just the first part, Carney said. It is important to know what to do and communicate to the Family what they need to do.
It is important for Families and personnel to be prepared to survive for as long as possible in the case of an emergency situation, Carney said. It will not only help themselves, but emergency response personnel, as well.
"The more people we can get who are able to take care of themselves and know what to do during any type of emergency situation, the better," he said.