Ohio issues statewide tornado drill

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Students crowd the Stopher/Johnson Hall basement on March 1, 2017, during the tornado warning. 

Sarah Heber

The State of Ohio is holding a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday in honor of spring severe weather awareness week. Sirens across all counties will go off at 9:50 a.m., according to the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness. 

Kent had a tornado warning at the beginning of March, which left many students feeling unprepared. The statewide drill is a time for students and faculty to think about what to do in the event of severe weather.

“Since we just had a tornado warning, we thought with Ohio’s statewide drill occurring, that (Kent State) would participate,” said Tricia Knoles, a community resource officer at Kent State Police Department.

Although Kent State participated in this drill in previous years, this year will have a new element for all eight campuses.

“The difference this year is that we have now expanded our mass emergency notification system. We’ll have the sirens go off (and) we’ll also have the test message.” Knoles said. “Then the mass notification system goes through every phone system on every campus so they will have that message come through the speaker of their phone also.”

The mass emergency notification system is being tested this year for the first time and testing technology before an emergency is necessary, Knoles said.

“It’s always important to test our technology to make sure that it’s in good working order in case we do have severe weather or a tornado,” Knoles said.

While students and faculty are not required to partake in practicing tornado safety, Knoles said if any office on campus decides they want to participate, then they are more than welcome to.

“We’re not expecting people to actually go down to their tornado shelters,” Knoles said. “It’s important to remind people of what to do and where to go if there was a severe weather warning.”

Sarah Heber is the safety reporter, contact her at [email protected]