Residents question current drill procedures

Lauren Gorla

Even with the upcoming tornado season, Georgia Southern University’s residential complexes do not run a drill exclusively for tornadoes.

“When we do our fire drills, we go through the normal process of the fire drill, and then when we let students back in the building we keep them on the first floor for about five minutes, and we go through the difference of what a tornado watch is and what a tornado warning is,” Sara Bailey, Resident Life area coordinator, said.

The main reason why there is no organized, separate tornado drill in the residence halls is because students at this age should know what to do if a tornado ever hit, Tierza Watts, director of residence education, said.

The short meeting after a fire drill occurs in the interior corridors like Kennedy, Watson, Centennial Place and Eagle Village. In exterior corridors like Freedom’s Landing, Southern Courtyard, Southern Pines and University Villas, residents receive an email that discusses what to do during a tornado, Bailey said.

“Students need to take responsibility themselves that if they hear something they need to take action and tell other people too,” Watts said.

GSU also has no way to notify students that a tornado drill would be occurring, Watts said.

“How would you alert people that we’re doing a tornado drill?  We wouldn’t want to pull the fire alarm because then people would exit because it’s a fire alarm so I don’t even know how we would initiate that,” Watts said.

If a tornado were to ever hit any of the residence halls, emergency response teams with the help of University Police would be ensuring each students’ safety and assist in getting them help, Watts said.

If a tornado were to hit campus, the residents on the first floor have to open their doors to other students who live on the upper floors, Alexa Lowry, Centennial Place building one community leader, said.

Students living in residence halls have an idea of what to do during a tornado.

“I would just stay in my room and go to the bathroom with my mattress, some food and a case of water,” Rachel Tharp, senior Spanish and anthropology double-major, said.

Some students expressed a desire to learn more information from the university regarding what to do during a tornado.

There should be at least one tornado drill during the year, Buchanan said.

Jessica Skender, freshman early childhood education major, said, “I’ve never been talked to about it here.  I feel like we should at least talk about it.”