Tornado Preparedness Day and Drill : March 17, 2009


Published: March 11, 2009

As part of the Thomas Nelson Community College’s effort to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff, the College is participating in the annual statewide mandatory tornado drill scheduled for 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2009. We ask everyone to participate in this state mandated activity. Tornadoes can happen anytime, anywhere, with little or no warning. Knowing what to do when seconds count can save lives.

Before the Drill

  • Campus Police has scheduled a meeting on March 5, 2008, from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in Room Diggs 156 with the Building Assistants/Floor Wardens to brief them on the drill and to determine what form of notification will take place in the building.
  • Before the drill, Building Assistants/Floor Wardens should make sure students, faculty, and staff are aware of the tornado drill, that they understand what will take place during the drill, and that they know the safest places to be during a tornado.
  • In the event of a tornado emergency, everyone is requested to move away from windows and relocate towards the core (center area) of their assigned floor. Enclosed spaces without windows, restrooms, interior hallways, and conference rooms, are good temporary safe places. Any room with a window or an exterior wall should be avoided.
  • We encourage students, faculty and staff to use www.readyvirginia.gov to get additional information about tornado preparedness.

During the Drill

  • Campus Police will announce the start of the drill by using a megaphone and having the Building Assistants/Floor Wardens alert students, faculty, and staff.
  • Everyone should act as though a tornado warning has been issued for the immediate area or a tornado has been sighted near the building. They should move as quickly as possible to the nearest safe location.
  • In a real tornado emergency, once people reach safe areas they would crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, and cover their heads with their hands. Building Assistants/Floor Wardens should ensure that people know this.
  • Once all everyone have assembled in the nearest safe place, the Building Assistants/Floor Wardens can announce that the tornado has passed and the drill is over. Employees can then return to their offices. There will not be a dismissal announcement over the public address system.

After the Drill

  • The Building Assistants/Floor Wardens should document any necessary changes in the evacuation procedure and report them to the Campus Police.
    • Do more safe areas need to be identified?
    • Are some safe areas cluttered and in need of cleaning out to be more accessible?
    • Do employees know the fastest routes to safe areas?
    • Is a better method for letting employees know of an approaching tornado needed?

Tornado Watch

  • At 9:45AM a mock Tornado Watch is issued by the College through the following
  1. Megaphone
  2. Web Alert
  3. Telephone System
  • Designate authority (Building Assistants/Floor Wardens). This will be the individual who is responsible for coordinating any activities associated with your Disaster Response Plan. The Building Assistants should announce Tornado Watch to Campus members, students, staff and /or co-workers and direct them to the designated safe area.

Tornado Warning

  • The College will issue a mock Tornado Warning at 9:45AM and you are within the general path of the tornado. Remember a Tornado Warning is issued when a tornado or the formation of a tornado has been detected.
  • The Building Assistants/Floor Wardens will determine the threat. Large, dangerous springtime tornadoes in Virginia almost always move from the west to the east. However, smaller tornadoes that form in the midsummer months along the sea breeze can move in almost any direction. The same is true for tornadoes that form as a tropical storm or hurricane approaches the state.
  • Upon determination of immediate threat, the Building Assistants will give the “take shelter” or “duck and cover” command.

Termination Of Watch And Warning

  • The Building Assistants/Floor Wardens will give instructions to return to normal activities.



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