Campus preps for disaster

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sixteen students were injured in a tornado that made its way through Clements Hall Wednesday.

Students were reported with injuries ranging from broken ankles to head and eye injuries to abdomen wounds and spinal injuries.

Troy University Dean of Student Services Herb Reeves said nine students were transported to Troy Regional Medical Center for care, and seven others were taken to the campus health center for minor injuries. Thankfully, he said there were no fatalities.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

This was the scene that unfolded as the university held its second campus-wide emergency drill Wednesday morning.

While the scenario and injuries weren’t real, Reeves said it is one that’s not far from reality.

“The reason we chose a tornado, is we’re prone to have tornadoes in this area,” Reeves said.

And, faculty, students and staff did not take the situation lightly.

Around 10:15 a.m. all those on the university’s SOS text messaging system were notified an f-3 deadly tornado was approaching Troy.

Reeves said the text messaging and e-mail system were something the school had in place two years ago, when a similar drill was conducted. During that drill, the scene portrayed an explosion in the Math and Science Complex.

This time, though, the school also used its IT Department to capture any computers online and send emergency notifications.

As the mock tornado made its way to Troy’s campus, students and faculty were evacuated to the lowest level of each building. Once an “all clear” message was sent, building monitors called the Troy Police Department to let them know there were no injuries in their buildings.

That is, except in one campus dorm, where the tornado collapsed a portion of Clements Hall.

Within minutes emergency officials from the campus police, Troy Fire Department, Troy Police Department, Care Ambulance and Haynes Ambulance were on the scene, bringing students out of the building and transporting them to Troy Regional Medical Center for care.

Reeves said the drill was a good indicator of how the university would handle any type of emergency situation. “Based on feedback, to this point, I think everything went really well,” Reeves said. “Some feedback is we didn’t have a good count of the number of people, so we’ll have to work on that.”