March 30, 1998 (517) 335-6397

New Law Requires Tornado Drills in Michigan Schools

In addition to mandatory fire drills, schools in Michigan must now also hold at least two tornado drills each year, Governor John Engler announced today.

The Governor signed P.A. 45 of 1998 on Friday, amending the Fire Prevention Code to require the chief administrative officer and teachers of all state-supported schools, colleges and universities, and the owners of dormitories to conduct at least two tornado safety drills each year.

"A tornado can be just as deadly as a fire, if not more so," Engler said. "By practicing tornado drills, our students will have safety on their side if the imaginary scenario ever becomes reality."

Previously, state law mandated that schools hold at least 10 fire drills per year, but it did not require tornado drills. Under the new law, the number of required fire drills is reduced to eight to accommodate the two tornado drills.

State Representative Gerald Law (R-Plymouth) sponsored the legislation to ensure that students in the state know exactly what to do if a tornado warning sounds.

"There is no question that the tornado threat in Michigan is real. Since a clear majority of our tornadoes strike between noon and 6 p.m., the possibility of a tornado striking during school hours is frightening," Law said.

"I think it's appropriate the Governor chose to sign my bill now, during Severe Weather Awareness Week. It's important for everyone to learn to be prepared during tornado threatening situations."