Colleges take steps to keep students safe during severe weather

LAWRENCE, Kan. - On April 27, 2011 an EF4 tornado ripped through The University of Alabama killing six students and injuring hundreds more.  

As we gear up for severe weather season one can only wonder, what if a tornado of that magnitude were to rip through one of our local universities. 

Andrew Foster, whose primary job is to keep students at The University of Kansas safe, says that figuring out where students are going to be on campus at one particular time can be tricky but it’s communicating on several platforms that keep students in the loop during emergency situations. 

Each semester students are enrolled in campus alert text that sends a message during an emergency event, in addition to this KU also uses a voice alert system as well as email to send out important information during the storm. 

Designated campus shelters are marked with signs to make it easy for students and visitors to find in the event of severe weather, the information is also marked on their alerts website.

If disaster strikes parents can stay connected to their child by texting them instead of calling. Calling during a disaster can block phone lines and prevent rescuers from reaching those who need to be rescued.

Parents can also check the Red Cross lifeline program. This program allows students to check in and register with the Red Cross and to send an “OK” alert to their family.

The best advice Foster gives to parents is to go over severe weather safety with your child before a severe weather event and to help them build a safety kit that includes a flashlight, batteries and a weather radio.  

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