ALBANY, GA (WALB) - January's violent storms didn't hit when classes were in session at Albany State University, but the school is making sure students, faculty and staff are prepared for any future weather emergencies.
The campus police department routinely updates its severe weather plan and notification system used to warn students of tornado warnings. Students are enrolled in to the school's Blackboard Connect5 system which is used to send a text message, email and a phone call to all students and staff during a tornado warning. The police department also sounds its tornado siren to alert the campus.
ASU Police Chief John Fields said the storms were eye opening for students and served as a reminder that severe weather can strike at any time and can always strike again. The school plans to hold a tornado drill in March to make sure students know the proper procedure during a tornado warning.
"With the past two storms, before then, you know, a lot of people were complacent. The sirens would go off and people were still walking outside. So we want to get everyone in the mindset that this can happen and take it seriously," Chief Fields said.
Fields said the school has designated shelters, but encourages students to find any safe spot that is indoors and away from windows during a tornado warning.
"You want to get to the safest place as quickly as possible. Cause when you get the warning, the tornado warning, that means that a tornado has been sighted so you want to get to the safest location expeditiously," he said.
Fields said he encourages students to think ahead and consider their safety first.
"You got to always think about what if that does happen? And I'm at school, I'm coming to school, do I still drive? We don't want you to put yourself in harm's way. Call your professor, email your professor, don't drive to school, common sense things," Fields said.
National Weather Service officials will visit the campus later this week to see if the campus can earn a storm ready certification.