A voluntary statewide Tornado drill will take place this afternoon and includes a test of emergency notification sirens.

Severe Weather Awareness Week runs through Saturday. Officials are encouraging residents to learn about severe weather warnings, put together an emergency preparedness kit, make an emergency plan and compile emergency contacts but also take a moment to practice tornado/severe weather procedures and discuss emergency sheltering plans or conduct practice drills.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rich Pollman with the National Weather Service Detroit/Pontiac Office in White Lake Township tells WHMI a tornado drill is planned at 1pm this afternoon with residents, businesses and organizations encouraged to take part. Pollman says people should review safety plans, know where to go and conduct practice drills. He says that’s what Severe Weather Awareness Week and the drill are all about - practicing now before you have to and being prepared just in case a storm or tornado hits. Pollman says statistics clearly show that education efforts and the work that everyone is doing from the government, the media and things people are doing within their own homes is helping. He noted that severe weather related fatalities and injuries are down across the country when looking at 10, 30 and 50 year averages, thus he feels education without a doubt is helping. Pollman says they know the population of the U.S. that has become susceptible to hazardous weather events continues to increase but there are less deaths and injuries occurring. He says the take-away is that there are a lot of people who are paying attention to preparedness tips, educating themselves, practicing safety rules and making sure to put them in action when a storm is present.

Information about today's statewide tornado drill and other safety preparedness can be found through the link. (JM)