Sirens will sound in Crawford County late Wednesday morning as part of the annual severe weather exercise.

Each year, local, county, state, and federal agencies participate in the county-wide exercise to enable all local agencies and the county to respond to significant weather issues from severe thunderstorms, floods and tornadoes.

At 11 a.m., the annual tornado warning drill will sound for all schools, hospitals, facilities with critical needs and the general public.

A tornado warning tone is a continuous tone from an emergency siren for one minute followed by a one minute pause. This is then followed by another continuous tone for one minute.

According to Allen Clark, coordinator of the county’s emergency management agency, it’s best to practice and test plans and equipment in advance rather than during an actual weather emergency.

“Once a year, the entire county has the opportunity to practice what they would do in the event of a major emergency by activating and testing their emergency plans,” Clark said. “All emergencies and disasters are local and this exercise tests local emergency response with the county supporting these efforts.”

Only by testing plans, training and equipment can officials know what works well and what areas need improvement before a real emergency occurs, Clark said.

The Crawford County Public Safety Department will have volunteers and department employees to operate in the county’s emergency operations center along with representatives from the American Red Cross and Penelec, Clark said.

Clark said public safety officials can’t stress enough that families must be prepared to survive for at least a week without outside help in the event of an emergency.

“Some disasters have affected entire communities and public safety will respond quickly to provide emergency assistance,” Clark said.

“But if you’re not hurt and don’t need emergency help, you should have a plan and a kit to survive at least a week without power or outside help,” Clark said. “If everyone did that, then the stress on the emergency services system could be concentrated on injured and damaged buildings.”

For more information on the preparation, go online to ready.gov.