Kent State joins statewide tornado drill

Kent State and its surrounding community joined in the statewide chorus of tornado sirens Wednesday at 9:50 a.m. when the State of Ohio held a statewide tornado drill.

0322_NC_PKG_Tornado from KentWired.com on Vimeo.

The drill — held in honor of severe weather awareness week — went off without a hitch, said Tricia Knoles, a community resource officer at Kent State Police Department.

“The drill this morning was a success,” Knoles said. “The purpose of drills is to find out where we can improve and … what technology is working properly.”

The drill had both the tornado siren alert and the speaker system alert going off, speakers on both the outside and inside of university buildings, as well as the mass notification system.

Even though the City of Kent participated in statewide warnings before, it’s the first time the city used the mass notification system during a drill.

Despite all of the commotion, Knoles said her office didn’t hear from anyone who thought the drill was real.

“We alerted the community enough in advance so (they could) realize it was a drill,” she said. “It was a statewide drill that was all over the news … We alerted people via an email that went out yesterday, as well as a banner that ran across our website.”

MJ Eckhouse, a junior political science major, said he didn’t hear the sirens because he had headphones on while walking to class, but is still thankful the test happened.

“I’m glad they’re doing the tornado drill because tornadoes are increasingly more of a risk due to climate change,” Eckhouse said.

Brianna Deckert, a senior visual communication design major, said the sirens had no impact on her day.

“I was in the art building for my type press high class, but nobody took it very seriously at all,” Deckert said. “We just kept working through it and my professor didn’t even acknowledge that it was going on.”

The drill marks the second time the tornado sirens have gone off in the month of March. In the early morning hours of March 1, Kent had a tornado warning, which was something that led many Kent State students feeling unprepared when faced with a weather emergency.

“I think people might have been a little more alert that we were doing a drill,” Knoles said in regard to the March 1 warning. “(People also) used this as a way to educate themselves to where their tornado shelters are in the buildings they’re residing or attending in.”

The university tests their tornado sirens on the first and third Wednesday of every month.

Henry Palattella is an administration reporter, contact him at [email protected]

Abigail Winternitz is the College of Nursing and Public Health reporter, contact her at [email protected]