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Toolkit: 12 Ways to Prepare: Practice Emergency Drills

Thursday, March 28, 2024


Practice makes perfect, and practicing what you'll do in an emergency makes overcoming the inital panic of your fight, flight or freeze response muscle memory. When was the last time you stopped, dropped and rolled?

This 11-post toolkit was released as part of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management's yearlong 12 Ways to Prepare social media campaign in 2024. This campaign aimed to meet residents where they were at with informational action items, encouraging them to be #ReadyOK while equipping them to that end. April's focus was Practice Emergency Drills, which dialed in on four types of drills residents should practice twice a year: Tornado, Earthquake, Fire Drill and Public Attack; with supplemental posts focused on the recognizable qualities of such disasters or additional instruction. 

1. Review

CHECK ✅ In March, we learned how to #SaveForEmergencies, and April brings a timely way to prepare: #PracticeEmergencyDrills! Perfect for #stormszn 😎⛈️

We’ll be sharing tips throughout this month, but you can always find the info at and 

#ResolveToBeReady #12WaysToBePrepared #PracticeEmergencyDrills #ReadyOK #OklahomaWay

2. Intro

(4/12) When disaster comes knocking, practice makes perfect. Make sure your family knows what to do during a tornado, fire, earthquake or public attack. Keep note of the stairways and exits in every building you visit, especially hotels and motels, and teach your family to do the same. 

We’ll be sharing drill tips all throughout this month, but you can always find them and more at

#YouCan #ResolveToBeReady #12WaysToPrepare #ReadyOK 

3. Tornado Drill

Don’t panic! Know what to do when a tornado is coming 🌪️🚨

📻 Tune In: Follow the NOAA Weather Radio and your local news or official social media accounts for updated emergency information. Follow the instructions of state, local and tribal officials. 

🏠⬇️ Get In, Get Down: Go to a safe shelter immediately, such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or a small interior room on the lowest level of a sturdy building. Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls

🙆🏽‍♂️ Cover Up: Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death. Use your arms to protect your head and neck and put materials such as furniture and blankets around or on top of you. 

*If you can’t stay at home, make plans to go to a public shelter. Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle (SUV emoji,puff emoji)  If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible. 🚫DO NOT🚫 go under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.

#YouCan #PracticeEmergencyDrills #12WaystoPrepare #ReadyOK #stormszn #TornadoSafety #TornadoSigns #TornadoDrill

4. Tornado Signs

Can you recognize the signs of a tornado? Our partners at the National Weather Service list the following signs characteristic of the funneled furies:

🤢 Dark, often greenish clouds/sky

⬇️ Wall Cloud - an isolated lowering of the base of the thunderstorm

🪃 Debris cloud

🧊 Large hail

🌪️ Funnel Cloud

🚂 Roaring Noise

#YouCan #PracticeEmergencyDrills #12WaystoPrepare #ReadyOK #stormszn #TornadoSafety #TornadoSigns

5. Earthquake Drill

You never know when the next earthquake will be–or how big it will be 🤔 Toss in an earthquake drill to your family’s next bi-annual emergency drill practice session. Do they know what to do when the ground starts to shake? 

⬇️ Drop: Wherever you are, drop down to your hands and knees and hold onto something sturdy. If you’re using a wheelchair or walker with a seat, make sure your wheels are locked and remain seated until the shaking stops.

🙆🏼‍♀️ Cover: Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows). Crawl only if you can reach better cover without going through an area with more debris. Stay on your knees or bent over to protect vital organs.

👊 Hold On: If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it moves. If seated and unable to drop to the floor, bend forward, cover your head with your arms and hold on to your neck with both hands.

#YouCan #PracticeEmergencyDrills #12WaystoPrepare #ReadyOK #EarthquakeDrill

6. Fire Qualities

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You’ve been running routine fire drills since grade school, but a real fire isn’t a stroll down the hallway ✏️ has the reality check to keep you on your toes: 

⏱️ Fire is FAST! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.

🌡️ Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.

◼️ Fire is DARK! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.

☠️ Fire is DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gasses kill more people than flames do 🔥💨 Fire produces poisonous gasses that make you disoriented and drowsy. 

Practice your fire safety plan with your family today! 

#YouCan #PracticeEmergencyDrills #12WaystoPrepare #ReadyOK #FireDrill

7. Fire Drill

Make a fire safety plan with your family and practice your fire drill: 

⬇️ DROP:

🧎‍♂️ Drop down to the floor and crawl low, under any smoke to your exit. Heavy smoke and poisonous gasses collect first along the ceiling.

♿️ If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure you can get through the doorways. 

👨🏽‍🚒 Teach children not to hide from firefighters.

🏃🏿‍♀️ GET OUT:

🪟 Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly and that security bars can be properly opened.

😑 Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed. Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, or if there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out. If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.

🚨 STAY OUT & CALL 911:

If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 9-1-1 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located. If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away.

*If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out. Call 9-1-1 or your fire department. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.

#YouCan #PracticeEmergencyDrills #12WaystoPrepare #ReadyOK #FireDrill

8. Stop-Drop-Cinna Roll

STOP, DROP … Cinnamon Roll? 🔥😋

Whip up a lasting memory with your kiddos by making some Made In Oklahoma Coalition cinnamon rolls ( and practicing your fire safety drill while they bake. Do your youngins know what to do if their clothes catch fire? 

Stop, Drop and Roll ⬇️

🛑 Stop immediately 

🙈 Drop to the ground and cover your face with your hands. 

🌀 Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out. 

*If you or someone else cannot stop, drop and roll, smother the flames with a blanket or towel. Use cool water to treat the burn immediately for three to five minutes and cover with a clean, dry cloth. Get medical help right away by calling 911. 

#YouCan #PracticeEmergencyDrills #12WaystoPrepare #ReadyOK #StopDropRoll

9. Public Attack Drill

Public attacks may come in the form of individuals using firearms, vehicles, homemade bombs, knives, fires, drones or other weapons to cause mass casualties, like an active shooter. Unfortunately, these attacks have become all too common. Prepare now with tips from so you and your loved ones can take ACTION to protect yourselves and help others. Your priorities in a public attack are: 

🏃🏼 Run 🏃🏼 

Seek safety. Getting away from the attacker is the top priority. Leave your belongings behind and get away. Call 9-1-1 when you are safe and describe the attacker, location and weapons.

🫥 Cover and Hide 🫥 

Cover and hide if you can’t evacuate. Find a place to hide out of view of the attacker and put a solid barrier between yourself and the threat if possible. Lock and block doors, close blinds and turn off lights. Keep silent.

😤 Defend, Disrupt, Fight 😤

Fight only as a last resort. When you can’t run or cover, attempt to disrupt the attack or disable the attacker. Be aggressive and commit to your actions. Recruit others to ambush the attacker with makeshift weapons such as chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, books, etc. Be prepared to cause severe or lethal injury to the attacker.

* If you are able, help the wounded get to safety and provide immediate care. Call 9-1-1 when it is safe for you to do so. When police arrive, remain calm and follow instructions. 🙌🏽 Keep hands visible and empty; follow their instructions. Evacuate in the direction they tell you to go. 

#YouCan #PracticeEmergencyDrills #12WaystoPrepare #ReadyOK #PublicAttack #SeeSomethingSaySomething

10. Stay Alert

Unfortunately, mass attacks have become all too common. Do you know how to be #ReadyOK?  

Stay Alert 👀🚨 Always have an exit plan. Identify exits and areas to hide wherever you go, and teach your family to do the same. 

Stay Prepared ⛑️ Learn basic first aid and lifesaving skills to help yourself or the wounded until help arrives. 

And remember, #RunHideFight. ✊#SeeSomethingSaySomething

#YouCan #PracticeEmergencyDrills #12WaystoPrepare #ReadyOK #PublicAttack

11. Practice Twice a Year

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Great job, Oklahomies! 👏 We’ve spent April learning about and practicing important emergency drills. It’s ideal to practice these responses bi-annually, so be prepared to run them again with your family in 6 months! 

We hope you won’t have to use these skills until then 🫡

Find the full rundown at  

#YouCan #PracticeEmergencyDrills #12WaystoPrepare #ReadyOK #TornadoDrill #EarthquakeDrill #FireDrill #PublicAttack #SeeSomethingSaySomething

Last Modified on May 22, 2024
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