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

TCC survives storms, tornadoes

A NE Campus student shields her hair from the rain as she runs across campus during the storm April 3. The tornadoes missed all five TCC campuses.
A NE Campus student shields her hair from the rain as she runs across campus during the storm April 3. The tornadoes missed all five TCC campuses.

By Bethany Peterson/editor-in-chief

A NE Campus student shields her hair from the rain as she runs across campus during the storm April 3. The tornadoes missed all five TCC campuses.

While the tornadoes and storms April 3 did not damage any TCC campuses, it did reveal a glitch in the digital clock/message signs in classrooms and hallways.

While most signs displayed “Severe Weather, Be Alert” and police urged people to stay inside, about 15 signs displayed “Fire Alarm, Evacuate the Building.”

“Unknown to us, when we received and installed the signs, there were a couple that were preprogrammed from the retailer,” said Robie Robinson, emergency management director. “On this, the first time we have activated all of them for a real event, they were giving an incorrect message.”

The signs can be corrected remotely, but the department manually checked the clocks after the storm to ensure the preprogrammed clocks had all been corrected, he said.

“We have people working on them, going through and verifying there are no more programming issues,” Robinson said.

Other than the programming issues, the digital sign clocks worked well, Robinson said.

“They performed as expected, and I think it is something we will be able to go on and utilize it,” he said.

The district did not activate the text alert system April 3.

“So far, the policy for using that system is for things like campus closings, not for immediate notice like weather alerts,” Robinson said.

He said students not on campus might be in another county, and weather alerts from Tarrant County would not be relevant.

The college was tracking the storm, police chief Shaun Williams said.

“We had advance warning from dispatch,” Williams said, “very much enough time to take precautions.”

The district used this information to make decisions on warnings and procedures.

“We have a network of people to make sure that we have an accurate picture of the circumstances,” Robinson said.

On SE Campus, police followed protocol, keeping students in “safer zones” away from glass windows, Williams said. On other campuses, police made rounds to ensure students stayed inside near shelters.

“Throughout the year, we do drills for different situations, drills for evacuation and drills for lockdown,” Williams said.

And the preparation paid off.

“To my knowledge, we checked all the campuses, and there was no damage or injury to report on that night,” Williams said.

The police and emergency services are open to suggestions or complaints about how the storm was handled. Students can contact or stop by a campus police office.


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