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Emergency Preparedness: Campus Urges Safety Through Mock Tornado Drill

March 5, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt, Steve Shields

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A mock tornado drill was held on March 5 as part of the Southeast Texas Severe Weather Awareness Week. Agencies in 23 counties will participated in this drill, including SHSU, Walker County and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The drill is designed to give the citizens of southeast Texas a chance to determine if they can receive a warning and what to do when a warning is received or a tornado is occurring. All citizens in the southeast Texas area were asked to participate.

The drill is mandated by the State of Texas and is sponsored by the National Weather Service.

To prepare the university for an actual severe weather/tornadic event, the SHSU Department of Environmental, Health, Safety and Risk Management has categorized building characteristics as "Good," "Better," "Best," and "Avoid."

In addition, conditions to monitor have been provided in the case that should you not be able to see a funnel cloud/tornado approaching.

Seeking Shelter

tornadoSam Houston State comprises buildings constructed in diverse styles and with multiple materials which provide varying degrees of safe shelter. To minimize your odds of injury and because you may not be in your resident building during an event, we strongly encourage you to review the following and locate the “safest” place to shelter in each building you patronize.

• The interior of a building.
• A low lying ditch or ravine (lay as flat as possible with hands covering your neck).

• The lowest floor available in a building.
• An interior bathroom, closet, or other room with few or no windows.
• Interior hallway that does not have glass doors or large windows.
• Under heavy furniture such as a desk with 3-sides of protection.

• Shelter is best found in basements or interior hallways in the lowest part of a building.
• Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.

• Gymnasiums and large/open-span rooms.
• Rooms with skylights, large and/or numerous windows.
• Areas with skylights.
• Hallways anchored at each end with automatic doors or large glass windows.
• Open fields.
• Taking refuge under trees or in a vehicle.
• Attempting to outrun a tornado while driving. Seek shelter immediately.
• Any situation where flying debris is imminent.

Watching the Sky

When severe weather is approaching, you may not be able to see funnel clouds, the following conditions may indicate tornadic activity.

• Dark, often greenish sky.
• Hail.
• A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating).
• Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
• Wind becomes calm and still.
• Frequent lightning.

Also Remember

A “Tornado Watch” means that hazardous weather is possible and those under the watch should monitor conditions/news media for possible warnings.

A “Tornado Warning” means hazardous weather is occurring, imminent or likely and poses a threat to life or property. Those under the warning should consider taking shelter or be prepared to take shelter immediately. Be alert to changing weather conditions and monitor news media.

In an actual event, the university would closely monitor weather notification services, deploy all means of emergency communications at their disposal, and provide instructions to aid in your response; including evacuation. The BEST way for you to prepare for an emergency is to know the safest shelter options for the situation you are in.

Contact the Office of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management at 936.294.2342 or 936.294.1921 to schedule a meeting to further enhance your ability to respond to an emergency situation.




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Associate Director: Julia May
Manager: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834

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