By Katie Herrera
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Tornados can rip through towns, causing mass destruction in a matter of seconds. Alabama averages 75 tornados a year.
"It really only takes one tornado in your neighborhood to cause a big problem," said NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist John De Block.
So on Wednesday, the National Weather Service is asking you to think ahead.
As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, NOAA Weather Radios will go off at 9 a.m. Wednesday with a special test. Officials hope you will follow up with your own "Tornado Safety Drill."
Step one is actually having a battery-operated radio.
"A lot of people think those old radios are clunky and they've gotten rid of them. Everybody now has iPods and MP3 players. But that battery-operated radio is a great resource to have when the power goes out," explained De Block.
Step two is finding your safe place.
"You want to go to an interior room in your home, hopefully with no windows in it, as low and as interior as you can get," said De Block.
And step three is making sure you have everything you need to survive the storm.
It's important to bring things for protection. For example, a mattress makes a great shield. The NWS also recommends having food, water and medicine to last 72 hours.
"It can only be a matter of seconds sometimes. If you just hesitate to have to think what you're doing, that can be the difference between life and death," explained De Block.