LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has declared this week as Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, and emergency management officials asked residents to participate in a voluntary statewide tornado drill at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Eaton County Emergency Manager Ryan Wilkinson said that one way to stay safe during a tornado is to prepare so that when the alarm sounds you will know what to do. 

”The importance is readiness obviously, knowing where you will go from a readiness standpoint, and not only where you will go, but what you will do when you get there; covering your head, covering your body, using objects to protect yourself,” Wilkinson said. 

During a tornado crisis, Wilkinson urges people to move to an interior room and to the lowest floor of any sort of substantial building. He said to avoid windows, and if driving, seek shelter in a substantial structure to avoid flying debris.

According to Wilkinson, one of the most important things is understanding alerts, warnings and notifications, all the mechanisms to receive warnings in your area. 

According to Wilkinson, social media is also a big tool for spreading information.

“Twitter, Facebook, and also the National Weather Service will issue wireless emergency alerts which go directly to your phone, which is that loud beeping noise that you receive telling you that there is a problem in your area and here is what you need to do right now,” Wilkinson said. 

Wilkinson said a tornado crisis imposes danger to people and property, and staying informed is one way Michiganders can stay safe and be prepared for severe weather.

Wednesday’s statewide tornado drill is voluntary. Not every county is participating.