Pontiac, MI - Oakland County will provide preparedness resources and emergency checklists for residents and businesses during Severe Weather Awareness Week (SWAW), which takes place March 20-26.
SWAW will include a special mid-week tornado drill. To access severe weather resources and checklists, click on oakgov.com/emergency-management or call 248-858-5300 during business hours for those who do not have access to the Internet.
Residents may also sign up for OakAlert, the county's emergency notification system, which allows users to self-register for text and email notifications of emergencies, disasters or hazardous situations, threats to life or property, evacuations, public health and safety incidents.
"We hope Severe Weather Awareness Week and the tornado drill begin a broader conversation about emergency preparedness," said County Executive Dave Coulter. "Ensuring that all communities in the county are prepared strengthens our resiliency."
Oakland County will participate in the statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 23 at 1 p.m. and activate the 275 outdoor warning sirens throughout the county. The sirens will sound a steady three-minute tone that, if real, would indicate a tornado has been sighted or observed on radar, and/or a severe thunderstorm with 70 mph winds or greater is in the area.
The Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security encourages residents and business owners to participate in the drill by marking an interior room or basement as their designated tornado shelter. Businesses can place signs in an easily-visible place for patrons to shelter. People at home should practice going to their predetermined shelter location in their home.
Oakland County faced significant weather events in 2021 from tornados, flooding and severe thunderstorms, so the memories of those challenges make preparation even more important. Planning ahead for emergencies saves lives and helps to recover more quickly.
"Do not wait until severe weather actually occurs, plan ahead," said Thom Hardesty, director of Oakland County Emergency Management and Homeland Security. "Having a plan and knowing what to do ahead of time may save a life."
Oakland County Emergency Management and Homeland Security develops comprehensive preparedness initiatives so the county is better prepared for any hazard, including, natural, man made, cyber, national security, biological or hybrids; coordinating logistical support during emergency operations; comprehensive homeland security initiatives; and first responder training.