Whether you call it a twister, gale, or cyclone, it’s important to know what to do during a tornado alert. Since you are living away from home, it is especially important to know what to do in the KSU dorms. Keep reading for 10 tips to prepare for a tornado alert in the dorms. Knowing these tips will help you stay as safe, calm, and happy as possible throughout the process. Good luck, and happy storm survival!
1. Know when tornado season is.
It might sound like common sense, but knowing when tornado season happens is important information. For instance, since I have lived in Kansas my whole life and attend Kansas State University I know we have two tornado seasons: one that starts in May and goes to July, and another that starts in November. However, the most active tornado months are April, May, and June. It’s also a good idea to know the signs, some of which include wild rain storms and eerie green tinted, silent skies.
2. Have your stuff ready to go.
There’s nothing worse than being told to go to your dorm’s basement immediately and having all of your stuff strewn miscellaneously around the room. Laptop on the desk, charger plugged into an outlet, water bottle missing in action, all of it is terrible! If the weather is looking questionable, have your stuff all within easy access and have an empty bag ready to take everything in.
3. Make pet transportation a priority.
Along with making sure your laptop and other items are ready for transport, make sure your pet is just as ready to go as your material objects. So prepare Tucker the hedgehog and Loki the chinchilla for travel when the weather looks wonky. Don’t let them become Toto, people!
4. Lock your door.
While it may seem silly in an emergency situation like this, lock your door. There will be people migrating to your dorm’s basement from every direction, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. Know which route/staircase to take.
Usually for an emergency situation like a tornado alert, there is a specific route to take to get to the basement. For example at my last KSU dorm, I was required to take the back staircase for two reasons: 1) it was the most direct route to the basement, and 2) the Resident Assistants (RAs) needed exclusive access to the main stairwell so they could go around and make sure everyone had gone to the basement. Make sure to talk to your RAs if you have any specific tornado related questions.
6. Get downstairs ASAP.
While this one is mostly for safety purposes, there is also a selfish reason you should be one of the first to arrive in the basement: so you can choose a good spot to sit. No one knows how long you’ll be down there, so it’s important to stake out a spot where you will be comfortable. I recommend first taking inventory of all the outlets in the basement, and then choosing the closest one to the basement furniture. The faster you get down there, the happier you’ll be during the wait to go back upstairs.
7. Congregate with a group of friends to stave off boredom.
Let’s be honest-you’re not going to do homework when the excitement and tension from a possible tornado is swirling all around you in the form of chatty college kids. The basement will be loud, filled to the brim with your dorm’s student population. Make sure you bring your own group of friends so a) you don’t look lonely, b) you don’t feel lonely, and c) you have the opportunity to make unique college memories.
8. Park your car in a better spot.
I cannot express to you how important it is to make sure your car is parked in a good spot when a tornado is pending. Hail, rain, flooding, and a plethora of other car damaging factors play out when a tornado may be coming. Try to get a spot in a local parking garage. If you can’t manage to find a better spot, then don’t worry too much. Now all this being said, park your car BEFORE a tornado alert happens. If the weather is looking sketch, go and park your car somewhere else just in case. By no means should you run and park your car after your dorm is under a tornado alert. Your car is much more durable than your carbon based self.
9. Trust your RAs.
Resident Assistants (RAs) are there for your benefit. They have been trained to take care of you and your needs in many different situations, so listen to them during a tornado alert.
10. Remain calm.
Most important on this list: REMAIN CALM. It’s an alert, guys and gals. You are being sent to the basement as a precaution, not because a tornado is swirling right outside your dorm. Just think about it this way: you wouldn’t be in the basement if a tornado had already struck, you’d be flung across the great state of Kansas somewhere. But in all seriousness, don’t stress out during a tornado alert; think of it is a time to connect to your Wizard of Oz routes and spend time with your own versions of the Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow.