Campus News

Tornado Drill Thursday Gets Us Ready for Spring Weather

photo of tornado

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 28, 2018) The month of March brings us closer to the promise of spring and warmer weather, but it also brings with it something more ominous — tornadoes. The University of Kentucky Police Department’s Division of Crisis Management and Preparedness wants to remind members of the community that the key to surviving nature’s most violent atmospheric storms is preparation. To that end, a tornado drill will be conducted on the morning of Thursday, March 1, 2018.

“Every year we conduct a tornado drill in the hope of raising awareness of what to do in the event of a tornado,” said Captain Tom Matlock, director of Crisis Management and Preparedness. “We ask our campus community not to ignore the drill, but to use it to become acquainted with preparedness measures. Safety should never be an afterthought."

Approximately 1,200 tornadoes strike the United States per year. Since 1950, there have been more than 950 tornadoes in the Commonwealth. Only a few days ago, multiple EF1 and EF2 tornadoes struck parts of Tennessee and Kentucky, leveling homes and claiming the lives of several people.

The mission of the Division of Crisis Management and Preparedness is to provide a disaster-resistant university community. To minimize the impact of tornadoes, all students, faculty and staff should utilize the following tips.

Before a tornado strikes:

  1. Be weather aware: download a weather app such as WeatherBug.
  2. Know the difference between a tornado watch and tornado warning.
    1. A tornado WATCH is when weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes. Prepare for severe weather and stay tuned to tornado warnings.
    2. A tornado WARNING is when a tornado has been reported and action must be taken immediately to find safe shelter.
  3. Sign up for UK Alert and ensure you are receiving notifications.
  4. Download the LiveSafe app. Everything you need to know about what to do in case of a tornado or severe thunderstorm is under UK Resources, Emergency Procedures.
  5. Know the safest place to shelter in your home and most often-occupied buildings.
  6. Watch for tornado danger signs which consist of dark, greenish clouds, cloud of debris, large hail, funnel cloud and/or roaring noise.

During a tornado warning:

  1. Go to a safe place: find the lowest point possible of a sturdy building, away from exterior windows and doors and put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Severe weather shelters or basements are ideal.
    1. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home or vehicle, go to the lowest floor of a nearby sturdy shelter immediately.
    2. If you are unable to safely exit a vehicle, buckle your seatbelt and put your head below the windows, covering your head with your hands.
  2. Protect yourself from falling debris, especially your head and neck — use your arms, books, pillows, towels, helmets or a mattress.

Dont's during and after a tornado:

  1. Do not open windows.
  2. Do not get under an overpass or bridge.
  3. Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines.
  4. Do not use candles, use battery-powered lanterns instead.
  5. Do not use generators, pressure washers, drills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a building or near an open window, door or vent for risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  6. Do not come into contact with electrical equipment or cords. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  7. Do not come into contact with plumbing of any kind as it can conduct electricity.
  8. Do not contact anything with metal, such as tractors, farm equipment, golf carts or bicycles.

“Our hope is that this year, tornado season comes and goes without incident,” UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said. “In case it doesn’t, our community will be better prepared through sharing the responsibility of safety through participating in the tornado drill.”

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue