ASU prepared if tornado strikes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ASU prepared if tornado strikes

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February 7, 2008

Albany -- For the third time in less than a decade, Union University in western Tennessee suffered a direct hit from a tornado Tuesday night. And while it caused millions of dollars in damages, thankfully, no one was killed.

"We've been kind of drilling in our minds a what if, before doing it after one of these events occurs." said Albany State University Police Chief Roberson Brown, Jr.

He says that for the past 3 years, ASU has built upon its severe weather emergency plan to protect its students, faculty,and staff in the event of a tornado.

"Our policy is whenever we get a tornado watch, we implement the plan of preparing our students to get ready to go to their shelter. And when the warning comes, that kind of cuts into time. I don't have now 15 minutes, I may can only get all of that done in 10 minutes. So time becomes of the essence when dealing with tornadoes because they give very little or no warning," says Brown.

Each facility on the ASU campus has it's own evacuation and shelter plan - and in the event that severe weather strikes - on campus resident life coordinators like Bonisha Townsend swiftly gather students into a safe area.

She says, "We get the students out. We get them downstairs. We check every room, and we're able to do that pretty quickly. We have bull horns. Also, some buildings have mass communication systems, AP systems, and we use the Connect Ed. So we use various methods to get to the students and to get them to where they need to be."

And with that life saving policy in place, if a tornado does hit this campus, students and faculty will be prepared.

ASU initiated the Connect Ed system one month ago.

It sends emergency text messages and e-mails to students.

Chief Brown says they're looking for money for a siren system on campus.

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