JLab to Test All Emergency Notification Tools at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17: Tornado Siren, Public Address Over Cisco Phones and Site-Wide Alert System

JLab to Test All Emergency Notification Tools at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17: Tornado Siren, Public Address Over Cisco Phones and Site-Wide Alert System

A test will be conducted of Jefferson Lab’s emergency notification systems at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17.

This operational test of the lab’s severe weather/emergency communications systems will take place at the same time as the statewide Tornado Drill, planned by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Jefferson Lab’s Tornado Siren, Site-Wide Alert system (email, page and Cisco phone text message), and the Public Address tool (verbal announcement over Cisco phone speakers) will be tested concurrently beginning at 9:45 a.m. The NOAA radios placed around the lab should also sound during this test.

Don't respond to the siren or any of the test notification messages; this will be a test of the lab’s emergency notification systems and not a personnel response exercise.

The entire test period shouldn't last more than four minutes.

Individuals with useful feedback or observations regarding any aspect of this test are asked to email their input to Jefferson Lab’s Emergency Manager, Tina Menefee, at EmergMgr@jlab.org by 5 p.m. Friday, March 20.

Additional Information:

Please be aware that phone calls in progress on JLab Cisco phones at 9:45 a.m. will be automatically put on “hold” when the Public Address system is activated. The test announcement should last approximately 45 seconds. As soon as the announcement has ended, you may access and resume any interrupted calls.

Depending on weather conditions at the time of the test, the Tornado Siren may be heard by anyone outdoors within a 1.5-mile radius of the lab.

Anyone in the Central Materials Storage Area (where the siren is located) while the test is taking place must have with them and wear two layers of hearing protection. A sign posted at the CMSA gate reminds individuals of this requirement.

If this were a real event or a response exercise, individuals would be expected to quickly and safely move to their nearest Take Cover area. If you don’t know where those areas are, take this opportunity to review the Emergency Plan posted on a wall near your office and other work areas. Check the map legend, and look for the Severe Wind Take Cover areas (tornado icon).

If a tornado is nearly upon you, go to the nearest Take Cover area. If you have advance notification, take cover in the Take Cover area that provides the best protection – provided you can get to it safely.

Tornadoes can occur any time of the year and at any time. In general, when responding to a tornado warning:

  • Go immediately to a "take cover" area – usually the lowest level of your home, office building or school.
  • Move to a windowless interior room, closet or hallway.
  • Take a "drop, cover and hold" position. This means crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down and covering your head with your hands. (If you have and can quickly don a sports helmet or hard hat, do so to reduce the possibility of head injuries.)
  • If outdoors, in a vehicle or in a nonpermanent structure, quickly get inside the nearest permanent structure.

For more information about the statewide Tornado Drill and tornado preparedness and response, visit: http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/tornadoes

More information about VDEM and emergency preparedness is available at: http://www.vaemergency.gov/

"Testing the lab’s emergency notification systems is necessary to ensure they are functioning," Menefee notes. "It is also a good way to remind members of the lab community what they look and sound like. This test should make each of us pause for a moment and consider where we would 'take cover' if this test were a real warning."

"Speed of notification and knowing where to 'take cover' are critical to saving lives during tornadoes," Menefee continues. For more information about Jefferson Lab's Tornado Response Procedure, visit Chapter 3510, Appendix T-3 in the ES&H Manual at: http://wwwold.jlab.org/ehs/ehsmanual/3510T3.htm

The Red Cross has a downloadable application that provides a variety of tornado response and safety information: http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/tornado-app

Understand the Terms Describing Tornadic Activity

Tornado: A violently rotating column of air, underneath a cloud formation, and often (but not always) visible as a funnel cloud that is in contact with the ground and the cloud base. A tornado may produce rotational winds ranging from speeds below that of hurricane to more than 300 mph.

In Virginia, tornadoes may develop in conjunction with hurricanes but can develop anytime, anywhere, suddenly and without warning when the weather is in a state of fluctuation.

Tornado Watch: a tornado is possible in your area. You should monitor weather-alert radios and local radio and TV stations for information.

Tornado Warning: a tornado has been sighted in the area or has been indicated by National Weather Service Doppler radar. When a warning is issued, take cover immediately.

This information is from VDEM's Tornado Overview webpage at: http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/tornadoes