The Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD), in collaboration with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS), participated this week in the Severe Weather Awareness Week. From Feb. 1 through Feb. 6, the GTPD’s Office of Emergency Preparedness offered demonstrations and classes aimed to prepare students and faculty for the potential and possibility of severe weather in the Atlanta area.
This year’s Severe Weather Awareness Week follows a number of extreme weather incidents to have hit the city within the last two years. These include the tornado that hit in March 2008 and the flooding that occurred in Georgia and metropolitan area last fall. Topics covered over the week were family preparedness, thunderstorm safety, tornado safety, lightening safety and flooding.
The first goal of the Office of Emergency Preparedness was to inform the campus community of precautionary procedures that will be taken by the Institute in the case of severe weather.
The second and more heavily stressed goal was to teach proper response and preparation initiative to students, faculty and staff.
“The best thing to do to protect yourself is to have a plan of action before a threatening tornado or other weather event develops,” said Andy Altizer, the director of Emergency Preparedness.
Not only did the events instruct those on campus, but the week also included testing of the of the Georgia Tech Emergency Notification System (GTENS) and Siren Warning System (SWS). These tests have not only been able to check systems but also highlight different resources for students stuck in a storm.
“Know what to do and where to go if there is a tornado warning,” Altizer said. “Don’t depend on us to have enough time to alert you to sudden weather changes. If there is a chance of severe weather, pay attention and be prepared to take action.”
Some advice given to all students on campus during a severe weather warning is to stay inside. The organizers of the week stress for students to be able to recognize severe weather as it progresses. This spring will bring showers and thunderstorms which under the right conditions can become tornadoes. Lightning is also considered a heavy threat on a green space campus.
Altizer recommends keeping in mind the 30/30 safety rule: go inside if you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder after seeing lightning, and stay inside for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
Emergency Preparedness also recommends signing up for the following: ; ; and .
They also recommend that students, faculty and staff have an emergency kit readily available.
Being prepared for possible outages and limited transport is all part of the non-complacency that Emergency Preparedness stresses most heavily.