When tornadoes strike no need to yell yikes

Courtesy photo.
Illustration by CLAIRE EKAS

By Sentora Rodriguez, Ranger Reporter:

Spring is upon us. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that living in the Texas Panhandle in the spring means tornadoes and thunderstorms.

If you happened to be on one of Amarillo College’s campuses during a tornado warning, would you know what to do? Ariel Wilson, a general studies major, said that her biggest fear is a tornado.

“If I were outside when a tornado hit, I don’t know what I would do. Die? I don’t know,” Wilson said. “I would follow the other people. Whatever everyone is doing, I will do.”

AC Police Cpl. Scott Acker said if you are outside when the tornado sirens go off, immediately get into a building to the lowest level possible.

“If you do not have time to get into a building, find a low-lying area like a ditch,” Acker said. “Do not get in your car and try to outrun the tornado.”

Finding shelter while you are in class is just as easy. Every building on every floor has a floor plan of best available places to go in case of a tornado. The rooms are highlighted in yellow for easy visibility. Erica Muro, a respiratory care major, said she has never even noticed the maps around campus.

“I have never been caught in a tornado or had to take shelter, but if I was in class I would just get under my desk,” Muro said.

“You need to be aware of your environment,” Acker said. “You should walk around and look for these rooms so you know where you need to go in case of an emergency.”

If you do need to take shelter in a building, Chris Martin, KAMR meteorologist, said to put as many walls between you and the possible tornado.

“Hallways and bathrooms that are centrally located are best,” Martin said. “Bring whatever you can to try to cover up and protect yourself as much as possible from debris.”

While it is rare that Amarillo is directly hit by a tornado, Martin said it is certainly possible for it to happen.

“A tornado is not something you want to let your guard down about,” Martin said. “Always make sure you have a plan.”

Tara Meraz, math, science and engineering instructor, has put a plan in place for her students in case a tornado hits during her class in the engineering building.

“If we can get to the Ware Student Commons, they have a basement,” Meraz said. “Here in the engineering building we are told to take you guys into the hallway and you sit down with your head between your knees.”

AC has an alert system that notifies all students, faculty and staff of any type of emergencies by text, email or phone call. Students, faculty and staff are automatically enrolled. You can always check your enrollment or make changes to how you will receive alerts by logging onto your AC Connect and searching for AC Alert in the search bar.

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