The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Calm alert message may help

Calm alert message may help

The tornadoes that touched down in the Metroplex two weeks ago served as a wake-up call for many. It helped expose flaws in the campuses’ alert system and left many not knowing what to do. Hopefully, administrators and students can use what was learned to prepare for future storms.

During the storms, TCC police officers walked from building to building informing students and faculty of the situation and advising them to stay away from windows and to take shelter. Luckily, no one was hurt, and none of the campuses sustained damage.

Everyone generally steered clear of danger, and officers districtwide are largely to thank for that.

Despite best efforts by police, some electronic message boards in hallways and classrooms displayed the incorrect message “Fire Alarm, Evacuate the Building,” leaving some confused.

Even though emergency alert modes aren’t used every day, the message boards should be tested routinely just like smoke detectors to ensure they work properly during emergencies.

A CampusCruiser alert might have been an easy, more effective way of communicating the situation to students and staff.

Even though campuses remained open, a calm message to stay indoors or to be on alert could have been effective. It also could have alerted students off campus to wait until the storms passed before heading to campus.

Some students even mentioned that some teachers left campus during the middle of class, leaving their students unsure about what to do. Even though most students are adults, those teachers were still responsible for them and should not have left them in the dark.

For many, it was their first real brush with a tornado, and it proved to be a frightening experience that could have been made less so had everyone been given clear instructions on what to do.

Not everyone was fortunate enough to escape the tornadoes unscathed. Some people lost everything, and this served as a reminder of just how lucky we are to have the things that we have.

The burden of emergency planning should not fall solely on educators, administrators or police. Students and employees should know what to do during a tornado. They should know where to go on their campuses in an emergency, and if they don’t know, they should know where to look to find that information.

Whether this situation repeats itself in a few weeks or a few years, students and staff should be prepared.

For that reason alone, this was a good learning experience.

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