Businesses participate in tornado drill - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Businesses participate in tornado drill

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Now that spring is finally here, severe storms are sure to be on their way.

The Commonwealth held its annual statewide tornado drill Tuesday in Virginia.

Even though this was just a test, employees at Citizens Bank and Trust locked the doors, closed the vault, turned off computers and secured all important information. 

Just before the 9:45 a.m. alert, employees filled a room in the middle of their office. They got down on the floor and covered their heads as if a real tornado was nearby. Employees filled the most central part of the building away from windows, all recommendations from the Virginia Department of Emergency Services. It only lasted a few minutes, but Operations Manager Christopher Lorraine says it's worth it.

"It's very important," said Lorraine. "Customer and employee safety comes first for the bank. We want to make sure everyone is aware of what's happening at the time. Tornados can come at any moment and strike at any time.

That happened in Matthews County when a tornado ripped through the area last month. Last year, people in New Kent County also saw the destruction a twister can leave behind. Lorraine was also in a tornado. He understands the need to prepare before ahead of time.

"It touches home for me and it's very important," said Lorraine. "Our sympathies go out for those who've experiences those tornados in the past, especially in the Midwest. It's a very scary thought."

Roughly 100 employees at 11 bank locations with the company participated, along with more than one million Virginians who signed up statewide. Lorraine says this is a drill every businesses should plan.

"Absolutely, it's a very important thought," Lorraine added. "Tornados are very sporadic, so we just do not know when an emergency will occur."

For more information on tornado preparation, click here.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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