SUFFOLK-- Hillpoint Elementary School took part in a statewide tornado drill Tuesday morning, nearly five years after a tornado touched down and devastated the Suffolk communities of Burnetts Mill, Hillpoint Farms and Driver.
Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed in the 2008 tornado, which caused an estimated $20 million in damage.
For Tuesday's drill, the National Weather Service sent out a test tornado warning that triggered a tone alert and broadcast message on NOAA Weather Radio. People were advised to move to basements, interior rooms, bathrooms, closets or hallways on the lowest level of a building to protect themselves.
At the chool, Principal Ron Leigh helped the students take cover.
“Having had a tornado happen in this community several years ago, it's really important to the parents and to the community that we practice safety, so the parents are comfortable their children are safe,” said Leigh.
The students practiced walking down the stairs calmly, sitting and covering their heads to protect themselves from flying debris.
The school’s academic coach, Catherine Pichon, said it’s important that kids know what to do when disaster strikes.
“If that wind blows and that glass, the glass we don’t want the glass killing our babies. We love them so much here and we want to make sure the parents feel safe having their students here,” said Pichon.